They Do Have to Go Somewhere

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La base britannique de Faslane qui accueille actuellement les sous-marins nucléaires lanceurs d’engins est un sujet sensible, à cause de la possibilité de l’indépendance écossaise qui sera décidée ou infirmée en septembre de cette année. Si les sous-marins devaient être déplacés, cela représenterait des coûts considérables.

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Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde – commonly known throughout the Navy as Faslane – is the Royal Navy’s main presence in Scotland. It is home to the core of the Submarine Service, including the nation’s nuclear deterrent, and the new generation of hunter-killer submarines. 

But with the threat of Scottish independence, the British government is looking for a way to make the Faslane Scottish base part and parcel of UK territory. But there is no ambiguity  about the base itself because “Scotland will inherit the barracks, air bases and naval bases on its territory”, but in all probability not with Trident (Sub-Surface Ballistic Nuclear armament) which wouldn’t stay in Scotland. First because the Scots don’t want them because their regard the nuclear deterrent as “immoral, incredibly expensive and almost useless in terms of protecting”. 

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Then, because the UK wants to keep it. But where can these weapons be kept? Faslane was a very appropriate base, because it is deep enough to store the Tridents in good conditions.

There could be a solution: the Welsh have declared themselves ready to take the Trident missiles in their Milford Haven harbour. British authorities are still hesitant but it would be quite a good deal for Wales as jobs are at stake.

But the move would take up to a decade to be completed and would cost £20 billion. When it is done, the government will still have to pay –the annual running costs of the current trident submarines- a sum which could pay for 4,572 teachers, 13 or 20 primary schools.

All in all, one can wonder if the UK really needs the nuclear deterrent, especially if the maintenance of submarines costs every year a fortune to the English government. Nevertheless the nuclear weapon has too much importance in the international relations of the United Kingdom. British diplomats may believe that without it Britain would not be regarded as a world power to be reckoned with.

Paul BLANCHARD & Sébastien DUFFAU

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