Independent Scotland forcing nuclear weapons bases to close would be odd way to start Nato membership – John McLellan

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon travelling to the United States to talk up Scottish business opportunities has not increased the temperature under my collar, and if her trip does produce more American investment then so much the better.

Wednesday, 18th May 2022, 4:45 pm
Nicola Sturgeon meets US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in Washington, DC. (Picture: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Nicola Sturgeon meets US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in Washington, DC. (Picture: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

It should be uncontroversial for the First Minister, whoever it is, to be selling Scotland’s many advantages and now there is clearly no majority appetite for an independence referendum any time soon, perhaps the SNP leadership accepts the job should be to make current arrangements work more effectively.

But some things don’t change, and despite delivering a speech to Washington’s prestigious Brookings Institution which emphasised the SNP’s commitment to Nato, there was no rolling back on Ms Sturgeon’s commitment to disrupt the alliance’s nuclear shield, of which the Faslane Trident submarine base on the Clyde is a key component, should Scotland ever become independent.

Read More

Read More
Nicola Sturgeon defends US trip after 'indy tour' criticism

Sign up to our daily newsletter

It is true that Finland and Sweden are non-nuclear states now seeking protection under the nuclear umbrella, but their membership of Nato will not begin by telling its commanders where they can base the deterrent.

Sticking to long-held principle is one thing, but forcing the closure of nuclear submarine facilities would be a unique way to start membership of a nuclear alliance, especially as only a fifth of Scottish voters in a recent poll supported Trident’s removal.

But perhaps evicting Trident, like independence itself, is something the First Minister has come to realise she will never deliver. Speaking at Brookings, however, will have done her own future no harm.