Scotland, NATO and nuclear weapons

LPhot Stevie Burke

By stewartb

There will be many decisions for the democratically elected government of Scotland to make after independence. These will certainly involve big and controversial decisions on international relations and defence policies. And positions do change as we’ve seen over Sweden/ Finland and NATO.

I spotted this ‘straw in the wind’ recently: ‘Could Spain be the first NATO State to sign the Nuclear Ban Treaty? ‘ (

‘.. in exchange for their support on the 2019 budget, political party Podemos obtained a commitment from the Spanish government to sign the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). The government has not yet announced how and when they will implement this decision.

‘Spain’s signature would represent a significant breakthrough for the TPNW among NATO states. Spain would be indicating that it supports a future for the Alliance without nuclear weapons. As several studies have acknowledged, there are no legal impediments for NATO states to join the TPNW. But there is significant political pressure within the Alliance to steer clear of the treaty.’

Recall that the TPNW was adopted at the United Nations in 2017. After reaching the threshold of 50 ratifications or accessions, it entered into force on 22 January 2021, becoming a permanent part of international law.

The many countries that have now signed the Treaty (as of April 2022) are listed here: In the UN jargon, there are now 86 Signatory States and 60 State Parties.

Interestingly, one of the countries to ratify the Treaty is New Zealand. Notwithstanding this position, New Zealand remains a member of the ‘Five Eyes’.

According to the BBC News website on 4 May 2021, ‘the Five Eyes alliance is an intelligence-sharing arrangement between five English-speaking democracies: the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. … It is often DESCRIBED AS THE WORLD’S MOST SUCCESSFUL INTELLIGENCE ALLIANCE.’ (my emphasis)

Another country to ratify the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is Ireland. Notwithstanding this, the UK is willing to maintain an ‘interesting’ defence alliance with Ireland.

See: ‘Why do British jets ‘protect’ Irish airspace?’ – at

‘The agreement reportedly permits the British military to conduct operations over Ireland in order to intercept aircraft in the Flight Information Region shared by both nations. Make no mistake however, this agreement is mutually beneficial. The UK needs to be able to intercept aircraft even as far south west as Ireland.’

‘The Russian air force knows that it can approach or even enter Irish airspace with far less immediate and serious consequences than if it did the same to other north Atlantic countries such as Iceland where there is a Nato air policing mission – or NORWAY, WHICH HAS A WELL-RESOURCED AIR FORCE capable of quickly intercepting suspected incursions.”

On 19 December, 2015 the UK government announced the signing of an MoU with the government of Ireland: this ‘represents a major step forward in the process of formalising the already broad and strong relationship the UK and Ireland have, RECOGNISING THE 2 COUNTRIES’ SHARED INTERESTS, VALUES AND RESPONSIBILITIES. The MoU will provide both the UK and Ireland with a means for developing and furthering their ALREADY EXCELLENT DEFENCE AND SECURITY RELATIONS and will help to enhance cooperation in exercises, training as well as peacekeeping and crisis management operations.’

All this despite Ireland not being a member of NATO and also signed up to the TPNW! Points to an independent Scotland being perfectly able to reach a position close to meeting our own needs and wants in cooperation with all these pragmatic third party countries seeking the same – is it not?


6 thoughts on “Scotland, NATO and nuclear weapons

  1. Excellent! The Scottish position on NATO is of course a decision for after independence.

    As Dr Craig Dalzell of Common Weal said today on Twitter –
    “The transport of foreign-owned nuclear weapons through or stationing of them within a territory even on a temporary basis is prohibited by Article 1(e) of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
    Does the SNP still intend for an independent Scotland to sign TPNW?”

    So it was disappointing to say the least that, in an interview with Glenn Campbell, SNP defence spokesman Stewart McDonald said Scotland would allow the temporary presence of nuclear submarines.

    I’m an SNP member, but I’m getting fed up with the SNP making it up on the hoof!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Forgot to add a comment on this, again from Twitter –
    “Along with all SNP parliamentarians Mr McDonald has signed the parliamentary Pledge in support of the TPNW. Has he even read it?”


  3. Clearly the BBC’s Glenn Campbell got the same memo from Tory HQ as Juan Kerr, ‘invent some shit over nuclear weapons and NATO and FFS don’t mention Sturgeon’.
    As to Craig’s observations, I read the thread and it actually did arrive at a more realistic perspective, it will take years to relocate berthing and maintenance facilities from Coulport, decanting this US controlled nuclear “deterrent” instantly is not a practical proposition and never was, nor is the consequent nuclear “run”.

    Devonport is the most likely replacement, but having seen the writing in the wall since 2013 the project will undoubtedly be ready to roll, and to my understanding Johnson had no hand in it so should work seamlessly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There may be places where the submarines could berth, and sail into deep waters, and other places where a storage depot with loading bay could be situated, but they wont be in proximity to each other.

      It is also highly unlikely that any part of England/Wales will “welcome” the Trident system. People just wont allow it, as we saw with Greenham Common.

      If London doesn’t mind a “Big Riddy”, then the boats could sail, tomorrow, to either France or America, with the missiles following on (though whether the USA would allow them into France is another matter) later.

      MacWhirter and all the rest of the crew of London drones, gives the game away when he says Scotland wont be allowed a “referendum any time soon”.
      This denial of democracy is the only trick they have now, at a time where they endlessly state that Ukraine must have its sovereignty recognised.
      Total hypocrisy from the Brit Nat politicians and the colonial media scribblers as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. gavinochiltree

        The problem for Westminster is quite simple in 2 ways
        1.They when it cuts to the chase know full well
        That it is the Scottish people who are Sovereign and not Westminster
        Having this put to the test
        Terrifies them
        2.Once we vote Indy, Then they know we hold the trump card in the negotiations, they play hardball and they lose their nukes,far less finding a new Base, it is the monies
        Reqd to build such from scratch that a Bankrupt rUK will find impossible to generate or Borrow
        No creditable lender would ever hand over such vast sums for which they only view as none other than a ludicrous vanity project
        All this helps explain their frantic efforts to prevent Indy Ref 2
        The cost of a new permanent base and warhead storage facility for them are horrendous
        Along with a acceptance of the local areas where they
        Would place it
        In conclusion they have too give up Trident and slide rapidly into a complete irrelevance in Geo Political and economic matters with all the attendant consequences

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Time to burst some myths
    On UK nuclear deterrent
    1.Despite what the MOD says, they are not Independent, They are leased from the USA
    And both governments go to great length to hide the fact that the US has the launch codes
    2.USA as of 2035 completely integrating all their nuclear weapons and as part of that program Lockheed Martin will no longer maintain any Trident missiles which UK lease from them
    All this calls into serious Question the shelf life of the promised Trident replacement for the UK
    3.Hypersonic missiles along with the massive lead Russia and Particularly China has over the West in these technologies,is forcing the US desperately attempting
    To play catch up, hence the serious calling into question the future of Trident long term
    4.UK tricked in the 1950,s the US into believing UK had successfully detonated a nuclear bomb by actually
    Only detonating a massive amount of High explosive
    5.Russia has developed a completely new method of eliminating Western Nuclear submarine bases such as Faslane,by deployment of a mother nuclear stealth sub, for which no Western hunter killer nuclear sub has a vital sonar signature reqd to identify and nullify the threat posed, carries drone subs for releasing close to onshore nuclear facilities , these drone subs are basically large nuclear underwater bombs which detonate to produce a tsunami of highly radioactive water to render the likes of Faslane and its environs highly radioactive and inoperable
    Thereby defeating all early
    Warning system’s
    6.Currently UK has 4 no. Ballistic Trident subs
    But 1 out of action and has been so for yrs in drydock
    With a almost unsolvable cracked reactor,A 2nd sub has developed similar cracks, thereby effectively reducing the guarantee of always having one at least
    On patrol and able to launch Trident
    In conclusion and given the rapid decline of UK economics,resources and capabilities it is sheer madness to carry on with Trident renewal currently well underway
    Tis the economics and defence policies of the Mad house to carry on
    And for what it is the worth, the coastline of Scotland are strategically of the highest order when it comes down to who wins control of the North Atlantic and its vital trade routes, that alone guarantees membership of
    Nato, it is impossible for the US to prevent Russian Nuclear subs sailing towards US Eastern seaboard without the use of Scotland,s coastline
    Furthermore in the not too distant future China will have a large Navel base in
    Western Africa and if and when so then by means of a pincer movements by Russia from the N and China from the S can take complete control of the whole Atlantic and Pose a threat to America that never in its history has ever had to consider far less actually confront
    These are the major factors now troubling the leading minds within NATO and how to counteract
    As Bob Dylan would put it
    ” The Times they are a changing “

    Liked by 2 people

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