On Thursday 23rd August, the No To NATO Scotland Coalition held a demonstration outside the Scottish Government Summer Cabinet Meeting in Renfrew Town Hall.
There were twenty five of us there, with a representative present from most of the groups within the Coalition. We assembled and displayed our colourful banners and flags in good time for the arrival of the Scottish Cabinet. Some members of the Coalition managed to have brief conversations on our concerns with a couple of the politicians as they arrived and we did a great deal of chatting to local residents about the current SNP NATO policy u-turn and what this would mean for a potential independent Scotland.
Whilst we didn’t get a glimpse of the First minister and Deputy First Minister prior to the Cabinet Meeting, we were later approached with an offer for two representatives of the Coalition to meet with them to put over the views of the Coalition in person.
Jane Tallents and Leonna O’Neill sat down with Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon for a twenty minute private meeting. We began by raising the concern of a weakening resolve to rid Scotland of Trident. They said that their commitment was as strong as ever and promised us that the delayed parliamentary resolution on Trident will now take place after the October party conference.
They have been advised that an independent Scotland will inherit treaty obligations which will make it automatically part of NATO and they believe that the resolution makes clear that staying in NATO is conditional on Trident removal and they insisted that if that didn’t happen they would withdraw. However it was clear that being part of a nuclear alliance so long as the nuclear weapons are not on Scottish soil is a compromise they are prepared to make.
We raised the Coalitions rejection of NATO’s aggressive expeditionary policies.
They feel that they can dip in and out of any NATO action and only choose to do the ethically acceptable bits – we are left wondering what those are.