Saturday, 24 October 2009


I’ve just read a superb article at Iain Macwhirter’s blog, and as I was commenting I thought I’d like to use the material in Munguin’s Republic too, so, if you’ve read it twice.....sorry.

For the life of me I cannot see why people who have voted Labour all their lives continue to support at least the English version of this New Labour Party. Maybe the Scottish branch is a little different, but the control from London is so tight you really wouldn’t notice. Labour policies don't in any way reflect the values on which the Old Labour Party was based.

For example, nuclear power as an energy source is dangerous and impossible to clean up. A series of nuclear power stations in a country like the UK which is so hated across the world by a wide range of terrorists, is an open invitation to do more harm than disrupt the power supply. None-the-less Nuclear power for electricity generation is the policy of the British New Labour Party. (It may, or may not, have something to do with the Prime Minister’s brother being a big cheese in the nuclear business, of course.)

Nuclear weapons are an abomination. Never mind any of the great sins, cardinal or otherwise, that churches talk of. The use of nuclear weaponry is beyond evil. Yet that too is the policy of this Labour Party.

It's almost (but not quite) unbelievable to think that a Labour government of a broke country is prepared to spend £100 Billion which it doesn't have and which would make such a difference to people’s lives, to acquire weapons of mass destruction ,which it will never have the opportunity to use. (Of course, when you consider that the money is not really being spent on weapons but on a chair at the top table at the United Nations for the Prime Minister to park his bottom right next to the Presidents of France, Russia, China and America, then the whole scenario becomes much more believable. The Prime Minster maybe wants to be a big cheese, or even bigger cheese, himself.)

A comment from Mr Mxyzptlk on Mr Macwhirter’s post suggested that we couldn’t univent the wheel, referring to the fact, I assume, that nuclear power exists both at weapon and domestic levels. It can’t be made to disappear. But we don't need to uninvent the wheel. We just need to use our natural resources and get rid of the obsolete weaponry. Bin it and buy the troops some kit they actually need and that may keep them alive. It's very simple.

A Scottish First Minister with no pretentions to sit at the Security Council’s top table would have no need to pay out money so desperately needed for other work in order to ensure that he or she got that seat.

It's Scottish Oil that's paying for these weapons we can't use. Would we not prefer the money spent on decent housing and public transport, troops’ safety, etc, etc, instead?

I would.


  1. Well said. Hope Macwhirter’s is as good, I’ll go and read it now. We in Scotland don’t want to host England’s nuclear deterrent simple as that, never mind help pay for it. Clearly once you get a bite of the cherry of power you don’t want to give it up no matter how ridiculous you look hanging from a tree by your teeth.

  2. Thank you Munguin. I assure you that Mr Macwhirter's article is streets ahead of mine.

    I wouldn't so much mind the deterrent or the domestic power thing if it was necessary. But neither case really seems to make any sense. We have enough wave, wind and hydro to keep us going, there's enough gas in the North Sea for us to live on for the foreseeable future (and some left over to export to England). The weapons are there so that the UK can contiunue to pretent it matters, which anyone with half a brain knows it hasn't for ages (or only as America's man servant and yes boy), and that in fact, since the current man's stewardship of the finances, we matter even less because he has saddled us with unimaginable debt which our children's children will still be paying off.

  3. The sad thing is remembering Labour luminaries like Mr Foot, Mr Benn, even Mr Kinnock standing on CND platforms in the early 80's and denouncing nuclear weaponry as being evil, monstrously expensive, and hugely pointless. They were right then, and nothing has changed in 30 years.

    Scotland is a power-rich country without a doubt. In a glorious new future, harnessing the power sitting in our mountains, flowing up against our beaches, and even blowing in our pretty faces, could make Scotland one of the truly rich nations.

    The billions we spend now and in the future on indiscriminate and evil weaponry has to be the biggest economic fraud around. If we spent twice as much on nuclear weapons, would we be twice as safe? Would ten times the budget makes us sleep ten times more soundly in our beds? I think not. Only by ditching this particular stain (and strain) on our balance sheet can we hope for a safer world. For those who claim that we would be baring our jugulars to the world I say open your eyes to the faulty logic of MAD. This discredited delusion is an excuse, dreamed up as an afterthought to justify old men playing with big toys.

    Scotland is a wee nation, but it can still be a big shout in the world by leaving the nuclear highway to hell and travelling on a new road.

    We can't un-invent nuclear energy. By that premise we also can't un-invent throwing stones at each other. Just as well, cos that's exactly where nuclear weapons will take us.

    1. SNP spent the 70's, 80' 90, opposing WMD and NATO. Yet now they wish to join NATO. An organisation committed to WMD's.
      What has changed ?
      Stating "policy has moved on" is a sell out of principles, what else will they sell out on ?

  4. Wow, Sophia. Brilliant, brilliant post. I can't better it in any way. So I won't try. Thank you.

    Funnily enough I was just thinking that I hadn't heard from you for a while when your post arrived! Spooky!

  5. tris, I'm touched, but then, you could probably tell that already. Thank you.

    I do enjoy a good post, and have to admit I start more than I complete. Oh the burden of standards eh?

    I'm still here, even if ye cannae see me.

  6. LOL @ Sophia:

    Your posts are always well thought out quality ones, but that one was a stunner. Your passion came out in it.

    Touched? he he... well, maybe that's an advantage

  7. The West's reluctance to let go of nuclear weapons was due to the overwhelming superiority of the USSR's conventional forces. I don't know what their excuse is now.

  8. Hoi - Sophia - is that avatar a pic ae yersel or fae wan ae thon pre-raphaelite punters?

    Cute - a wee bit provocative - but cute.

  9. Scunnert:

    You're right of course. Cetainly Scotland doesn't want or need to have them, but somehow we do... Fair?

    Now now, calm yerself. Sophie's a bonnie lass but pure of mind. It's my opinion that she has no idea she's being provocative.....

  10. I wouldnae have it in me tris, you're right. And scunnert, thanks, it is me, in my days as a madame, il y a longtemps.

  11. Is there no end to this woman's intellect?

    Et elle parle francais aussi? Formidable!

  12. Aye, a wee bit of french never hurts. Well occasional twinges aside...

    Back to point tris, it's so true that Britain's nuclear arsenal is all about self-agrandisement. The seat at the top table, I mean who are we kidding? Punching above your weight's all very well, and probably holds the key to post-war Unionism.

    Would England retain a seat on the Security Council as successor state? I think Germany Japan and India would say not. It's not just the bases that are important, it's the picture of Britain, that Britain which held an Empire like no other. Scotland is the last major part of that Empire.

    It was a fantastically rich time in Scotland's history, not to be denied, and brought us huge benefits. Our future has to be informed by that time, but not bound by it. These weapons are a sham, a posture, from a past time. Not Scotland's future.

  13. Sophia:

    Et encore une fois, je suis tout a fait d'accord avec vous madame.

    Your history is your history. There have been great advantages, as you say, in our alliance with the rest of the UK, and I don't think anyone would want the complete "separation" that the unionist parties suggest independence means.

    If you look at the next island along, despite the Troubles, there are many things that operate between the North and South of Ireland. No real border, many "international" activities, and if I'm not mistaken, a joint Olympics team.

    The thing that annoys most me about the weapons is that they will cost £100 billion and they will sit there not even looking pretty, while people in this country can't afford to heat their homes or can't find a National Health dentist.

    Nuclear power may be a necessity for some countries. My beloved France generates a vast amount of its electricity that way, but for us it is NOT necessary. We can easily do it from renewables. It's madness not to.

  14. Danny, 1st Earl of the OzarksOctober 29, 2009 12:39 pm

    Britain and Scotland will have to decide if nuclear power is to be a part of their energy policies regarding electrical power generation. Nuclear weaponry is an entirely different issue of course. Terrorism is certainly an important consideration in the equation. Terrorists who get their hands on reactor fuel cannot make a thermonuclear bomb with it, but they can certainly make a mess with conventional explosives.

    Nuclear energy has real advantages over fossil fuels in electrical power generation. It does not generate greenhouse gasses, and its energy density is hugely advantageous. A given number of kilograms of nuclear fuel generates more than 10,000 times as much electricity as the same mass of coal or oil. As a practical matter, this makes nuclear fuel effectively unlimited in supply. It is also clean in operation. It might even be considered a "green" alternative. Coal is dirty and produces greenhouse gas emissions, and oil is limited in supply and also produces CO2. Considering other alternatives, wind power is safe and non-polluting.....where you have wind....and if you don't mind covering the landscape with the huge ugly wind farms.

    Clearly of course, the problem of disposing of spent nuclear fuel is an important environmental issue. But, at least here in the US, this is more of a NIMBY issue than a technological one, IMHO.

    Nuclear power generation as national policy is quite simply a complicated issue. And it will be decided by politicians. Surely that must give us pause. Nuclear energy now generates close to 80% of France's electrical power, where it has some political popularity due to the corresponding reduction in imported fossil fuels, and massive reductions in CO2 emissions which would otherwise result.

    Wikipedia and the IAEA tells me that in 2005, 15% of the world's electricity was generated by nuclear reactors.....more than half of it in the US, France, and Japan. This 15%, at the margin of the world's total consumption, is a lot of electricity. The US produces the most electricity by nuclear energy of any country in the world, although it is only 19% of the US total. In the European Union, including France of course, about 30% of electricity is produced by nuclear energy.

    Going forward, nuclear power generation will remain a major component of the energy policies of many countries. The United States has no current practical alternative for 1/5 of its total power consumption. And France would have to replace fully 78.5% of its installed electrical generation capacity. This couldn't possibly happen.

    As for Scotland's policy going forward, I wouldn't presume to make a suggestion. Perhaps you have near term, non-nuclear alternatives. As for renewables, do you guys REALLY want those wind farms? Take a look at what the Americans did to the San Gorgonia Pass of the San Jacinto Mountains of California......and that's just one example of what can be done to destroy the landscape.

    Safe, renewable energy resources will play a significant role in the world's energy needs going forward.....maybe as much as nuclear energy provides today....maybe more. The United States Department of Energy tells us that in 20 years.....20 years..... wind energy might....MIGHT..... produce about the same percentage of the total US supply of electrical energy that nuclear reactors provide today. IF:

    1) Annual installation of wind turbines increases by 200%...and
    2) SOME WAY, the costs of integrating such an intermittent supply into the existing power grid can be kept below 1/2 cent per kWh....and
    3) SOME WAY, there will be no limitation on the supply of critical raw materials used to manufacture all those wind turbines.....and
    4) SOME WAY, the problems of siting and cost of building new transmission lines to the places that have the necessary wind can be resolved. Completely new transmission infrastructure and integration technology will have to be successfully developed. It may be renewable. It may be safe. But it sure won't be free.

  15. Um, Wow... Not just a Noble Lord, but a Learned one too... :-)

    I might have known it would be well researched.

    I can see that nuclear is an incredibly powerful source for the generation of domestic power. I would never argue that, for these purposes, it is not of huge advantage. The disadvantages being that disposal is a nightmare, and that the generating stations themselves are at danger from human error, accidents and attack (terrorist or international).

    Scotland is a small country. It is mountainous (we already have considerable hydo-electricity generation and there is potential for more). We are a series of islands (except for a fairly short border in the south with England). We are the world's leader in the research and implimentation of wave power. Scotland is a windy country. (The plants in my garden all seem to grow to the west!!) We also have a pretty small population.

    All of this leads our government to the conclusion that we will be able to develop sufficiant green power to sustain our economy. Of course we are oil and gas rich at the moment, (although that is being stolen from us by the British government), but that would sustain us until such time as the green power was running.

    Of course it is not a realistic proposition for a country like the USA, and your nuclear disposal would be far easier in a land where there are still vast tracts of uninhabited land. (I'm guessing Nebraska, Wyoming, Texas, Alaska, Nevada, Montana.) And now you don't even have Sarah Palin to content with LOL.

    As far as the weapons side goes, simply a wee internationally unimportant country like Scotland can't afford them nor does it need them. A few pitchforks will do us.

  16. Danny, 1st Earl of the OzarksOctober 29, 2009 2:58 pm

    Tris...I definitely agree that the security issues involving the operation of nuclear power stations are paramount, along with the nuclear waste disposal issue.

    Once nuclear waste is stabilized as to its physical form, you have to have a place to put it. As you said, you need a remote, relatively unpopulated area. Nevada was the chosen location in the US. Areas of the Nevada desert are so remote that we used to explode atomic bombs the air. And an underground nuclear waste disposal facility has been prepared at Yucca Mountain, in the area of the old nuclear test site. But the citizens of Nevada fought the idea.

    Heck.....if you can't dump nuclear waste in a God forsaken place like NEVADA, where in the world CAN you dump it?...LOL. (Leaving Las Vegas and Reno aside of course.) Well, you see we had the ultimate NIMBY issue there.

    So in 2009, the Obama administration took the position that the Yucca Mountain facility......being developed since no longer an option. We are told that he is devising "a new strategy toward nuclear waste disposal." What a joke! When in doubt, do nothing.....and kick the can down the road for a few more years or decades.

    I take your point about Scotland's rich natural energy resources. But as for the wind, think carefully about those awful wind farms covering the beautiful landscape of Scotland.

  17. Fair comment Danny. We have quite a few of them. They are not particularly beautiful, but on the other hand neither are the hideous elecrticity pylons that scar the countryside. However the future will be offshore wind farms which will not be visable from land...

    He he... nothing like putting off unpopular decisions until later.......