A banner drop was actioned from the gasometer in Helensburgh this week in response to the article ran in the Helensburgh Advertiser on June 21st welcoming the recent announcement of a £1.1 billion contract awarded to Rolls Royce for reactor work on Britain's nuclear submarine fleet. This announcement comes hot on the heels of news that a £350 million contract has been awarded to BAE Systems, Babcock Marine and Rolls-Royce in connection to the design stages of a Trident replacement. The disturbingly over simplified argument that jobs in the local area necessarily take priority over our international treaty and humanitarian obligations and indeed quite literal public safety issues, is an old tune, disappointingly also purported by our MSP Jackie Bailie.
The 3,000 jobs that will allegedly be created at the base if Trident replacement is given the go ahead will cost the taxpayer approximately £100billion in the long run, meaning that each job created will cost the equivalent of over £330,000. This is incorrectly assuming that they will be new jobs and not transfers from the relocating of Ministry of Defence facilities from elsewhere, such as Devonport, to Faslane. According to Rolls-Royce, their £1billion contract will create 300 new jobs, meaning each job will be worth 30million pounds. Moreover, using the conservative government estimates on the cost of replacing Trident, Scotland's annual contribution of £153 million will actually put around 3,000 public sector jobs at risk if the plans are approved.
Aside from the “red herring” jobs argument, the very decision to award these contracts to arms companies ahead of a democratic decision in parliament, tabled for 2016, displays an overt disregard for the very principles of democracy itself. Something Ms. Bailie, as a member of parliament, ought to be alarmed by regardless of her personal feelings on employment and militarisation in the area. It is time the local people and press of Helensburgh engaged in meaningful debate on the real issues around nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons are immoral, illegal and maintain a world order of power that is unjust and unfounded. Their very existence as part of an acceptable defence strategy represents a lack of morality and a violence at the very heart of our society. The stationing of these weapons, with the capacity to irreparably damage life on this planet, 30 miles from a major city speaks volumes about the MOD's disregard for life. Indeed too the British government's disregard for the the people of Scotland.
Faslane Peace Camp