SCOTTISH Labour yesterday struck a blow at the war plans of British imperialism when its Perth conference decided to call for the Trident nuclear missile system to be scrapped by a massive 70%-30% vote, and for the tens of billions that will be saved to be spent on developing new industries and technologies to provide work for all.
The battle must now be pursued inside the UK Labour party as a whole. This currently backs replacing the country’s nuclear submarines, which are based at Faslane on the Clyde, while its leader Corbyn supports ending the Trident programme. At Perth the trade unions were split on the issue.
Unison, and Unite committed themselves in the vote to getting rid of the Trident nuclear arsenal. Pat Rafferty, from Unite, which represents Faslane workers, said Trident cannot protect the UK from ISIS or cyberwarfare. He said Britain should take the lead in nuclear non-proliferation. He said the argument for non-renewal must go ‘hand in hand’ with a jobs diversification plan and the billions saved from Trident could help workers and be used against a ‘crisis’ in industry and the public sector.
Stephen Low, of Unison and Glasgow Southside Constituency Labour Party said: ‘Its purpose is to detonate a nuclear warhead above a city, killing everyone in its radius.’ GMB Scotland, was on the other side of the barricades opposing the motion, stating that workers jobs depended on the nuclear rearming of British imperialism.
Gary Smith said: ‘The position of the GMB may not prevail today, but let me tell you, tomorrow GMB shop stewards in the yards and factories across Britain will walk tall knowing that their union unequivocally, unashamedly stood full strength behind their own members and voted against a motion which represents Alice in Wonderland politics and pie in the sky jobs.’
The GMB is chaining the working class to the war chariots of British imperialism. The future of the working class does not lie in the defence of the British ruling class and the Anglo-US policy of ‘mutually assured destruction’. The Trident programme and its renewal are a central part of the plans of UK imperialism for war against Russia and China, and for a permanent nuclear extinction threat hanging over the working people of the world.
Today, in a period of huge capitalist crisis, British imperialism is consciously preparing for war, and it must be disarmed! Trident is only a part of this preparation. Another part of it emerged yesterday with the news that construction work has begun on a new Royal Navy base at Mina Salman Port in the Persian Gulf state of Bahrain, from which the UK alongside the US Fifth Fleet will be able to menace Iran and the entire Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea regions.
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond took part in the groundbreaking ceremony at Mina Salman Port yesterday. He said: ‘The presence of the Royal Navy in Bahrain is guaranteed into the future, ensuring Britain’s sustained presence east of Suez. The new facility will enable Britain to work with our allies to reinforce stability in the Persian Gulf and beyond.’
The naval base is mainly funded by the ruling Al Khalifah family, which doesn’t tolerate democracy, and will accommodate Britain’s new giant Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers and Type 45 destroyers. Britain is returning to East Of Suez, armed to the teeth. For the working class in the UK to have a future – that is decent homes, and jobs, new industries, free state education at all levels and a flourishing Welfare State and NHS – British imperialism will have to be disarmed, and overthrown with a socialist revolution.
The Scottish Labour Party decision on Trident is just a start in this direction. The next step must be bringing down the Tory government and replacing it with a workers government and a UK workers republic, where planned production will be organised to satisfy people’s needs and not to provide super profits for the few.
We say well done to the Scottish Labour Party and now forward to disarming British imperialism as a whole, with a general strike to bring down the Tories and bring in a workers government. British imperialism must be speedily consigned to exhibits in a Chamber of Horrors Museum!