Alex Salmond denounces Trident as 'an obscenity'

By staff writers
17 Oct 2010

Scotland's First Minister and SNP leader, Alex Salmond has said his party will never retreat from its policy for unilateral nuclear disarmament.

Speaking to the Scottish National Party's conference in Perth, the SNP chief said that he would continue to struggle for shipyard defence jobs for the country, but he said ending nuclear weapons was a firm commitment, and he deplored the "hundred thousand million pounds" (£10 billion) in contrast to the "most ferocious range of cuts in our lifetime" being planned by the Westminster Coalition.

"Trident is an obscenity and we will fight it tooth and nail", he said of the plans to renew or replace the naval missile system which has been described by critics, including CND and the churches, as "not independent and not a deterrent."

The party also renewed its pledge not to privatise water, to freeze the Council Tax, abolish NHS prescription charges, protect health spending, to maintain extra police on the beat, and to keep student tuition fees affordable.

Mr Salmond also announced a new commission on the future of public services in Scotland, chaired by ex-STUC leader Campbell Christie, and an agreement with the Nobel Prize-winner Joseph Stiglitz, former chief economist at the World Bank, to be an adviser on the Scottish economy.

He said that “the SNP working together with the people of Scotland” are best placed to steer Scotland through the tough times, with credibility, experience and success in government, and that "only the SNP offer the way forward to better times, with the economic and financial powers needed to grow the economy as the only alternative to a decade or more of Westminster-imposed cuts."

The SNP leader declared that "we are not slaves to globalisation... or the banking system", and that an alternative path to that of cuts and retrenchment was possible.

“Either Scotland stays in the Westminster straitjacket of low growth, public sector cutbacks and blighted futures – or we take responsibility and change our circumstances for the better,” he concluded. "We have a vision and we have the means to deliver it... I will not be a manager for Westminster-driven cuts."

A referendum on Scottish independence was one about "jobs... fairness and compassion", Salmond said.

[Ekk/3]

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