Tuesday, 20 April 2010
Hustings hit on Lib Dem Trident policy
Butec base at Kyle - scene of the Trident debate and associated jobs
My good friend Alasdair Stephen, an SNP candidate for Ross, Skye Lochaber, claims to have scored a hit on the Lib Dems and their plans for a Trident replacement.
Alasdair had former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy admit at a hustings meeting in Kyle (remember Kyle, remember hustings meetings) last night that the party policy was not to scrap the nuclear deterrent completely.
“We need some clarity here," says Alastair. "The Liberal Democrats are a pro-nuclear party, and intend to maintain the current Trident fleet. This would cost £2.5 billion per year for the next 20 years - a total of £50bn."
The Lib Dem policy, from their manifesto page 65, is not to go ahead with a like-for-like Trident submarines but to find some kind of alternative under the strategic defence review. That sounds very woolly and not at all like the anti-nuclear stance of the SNP.
The wisdom of Alasdair raising this point in Kyle, where the Butec underwater testing base base supports about 60 jobs associated with torpedo and nuclear submarine testing, is a moot point. But it does show the power of the old hustings meeting to open up politics a bit.
By the way, bit of a bad show that the Labour candidate only sent apologies and that the party wasn't even able to find a substitute from the ranks of their three Highland MSPs at the very least.