Saturday 25 April 2009

Labour - split on nuclear weapons

Not the usual kind of split - Iain Gray, Labour's leader in Scotland, at FMQs this week claimed that cancelling Trident would cost 11,000 Scottish jobs.

His party's new convenor, Claudia Beamish, is opposed to nuclear weapons and has argued that the 11,000 figure was made up by Jackie Baillie.

Geoff Hoon said it was a tenth of that.

David Milliband wants to get rid of nuclear weapons - without any concern for lost jobs, apparently.

All over the place! Mind how you go.


Anonymous said...

Two quick points:

Firstly that your link nowhere quotes Claudia Beamish saying that Jackie Baillie "made up" any figures. Rather, you would appear to have indulged in a little "artistic licence" with that claim.

And secondly, that around 7,000 people work at Faslane, a further 4,000 or so full time equivalent jobs are indirectly supported and a recent review of Britain’s naval bases concluded that, if there was no strategic nuclear deterrent, there would be no need for the Clyde base to remain open.

Calum Cashley said...

A recent review of Britain's naval bases? That wouldn't be Des Browne's would it?

A review that didn't look at nuclear weapons or the effect of removing them, only at the required landside facilities for the planned UK fleet. A review which is no longer available on the MoD site or the RN site - perhaps because Labour ignored it in order to keep all three yards open to protect marginal constituencies. A waste of money you might think except that the yards have been told to slash costs, Devonport is being stripped of its operational functions through, and the fleet is being concentrated around Plymouth - all under the Maritime Change Programme (call it a political distraction).

7,000 people work at Faslane? Nope, it was 5,000 in 2002 - and it's been cut since then. 4,000 supported? Geoff Hoon's answer to question 214416 was:
Mr. Hoon: The number of civilian jobs which directly rely upon the Trident programme is estimated to be 936 in Scotland, with an additional 6,640 in the rest of the United Kingdom. The number of civilian jobs which indirectly rely upon the Trident programme is estimated to be 300 in Scotland and 5,700 for the rest of the UK.

Here's a point, though, the banning of corporal punishment in schools led to a reduction in employment opportunities for people who had made the tawse - should we insist that teachers go back to beating children so that these employment opportunities can be restored? Think of all the soldiers demobbed at the end of the Second World War - should we return to a European bloodbath to provide employment? Should we have agitated for the Accudyne jobs instead of banning landmines?

I believe that children used to be employed in the cleaning of chimneys, manual labour in mills and even underground in mines. Do you think we should send them back? Think of the jobs ...

Anonymous said...

How dare Labour elect someone as Chair who doesnt agree with absolutely everything said by the partty. I mean you'll be telling me next that Alex Salmond has appointed Miek Russell as a Cabinet Minister who doesnt agree with ANYTHING jabba says!

Anonymous said...

Have you quite finished beating your various (admittedly quite amusing) straw men?

Your debating tactic seems to ignore the fact that a small but significant majority of people in Scotland agree that Britain should retain its strategic nuclear deterrent. Indeed, even a slim majority of SNP supporters share that view.

Con 68% / 32%
Lab 53% / 43%
Nat 51% / 47%
Lib 43% / 55%

These are agree/disagree figures for the question “Do you agree or disagree that Britain should continue to have nuclear weapons?” Source: April 2007 ICM/BBC.

But anyway, while I don’t dispute your 5,000 figure for 2002, by the same token I don’t expect you to have any issue with this “over 7,000” figure for 2006.

I can’t find the Scottish Enterprise figures online, but they were also 7,000 (give or take) plus around 4,000 full-time equivalent off-site.

Calum Cashley said...

Who is jabba?

73% of the Scottish population oppose the Trident replacement -

The Defence Select Committee figure includes non-nuclear staff - you are aware that the combined Clyde base isn't nuclear dependent? Not only that, but the number was wrong - around 2,500 staff are involved in nuclear weapons - or you could accept the word of Geoff Hoon answering a PQ that the number is 1,236.

Scottish Enterprise never gave any such figure, that's why you can't find it.