Socialist Worker

Scottish government should raise anti-war demands

by Eileen Boyle
Issue No. 2092

Nicola Sturgeon, deputy first minister of Scotland and Scottish National Party (SNP) MSP, will address the World Against War demonstration in Glasgow this Saturday.

She will welcome thousands of marchers who will take to the streets against the continued occupation of Iraq and the siege of Gaza.

Nicola Fisher, the chair of Glasgow Stop The War Coalition, said she was delighted to have a member of the Scottish government on the platform and applauded the SNP’s stance against the war.

Under devolution, issues such as defence, national security and nuclear energy are considered “reserved” for the remit of Westminster.

However there are many other issues which the Scottish government controls which they could use to distance themselves from the warmongers in the British government.

The Scottish government should demand the immediate withdrawal of all troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Labour intends to send 1,300 more Scottish troops to Afghanistan in May of this year.

Education is not a reserved matter, and the Scottish government could ban military recruitment in schools.

Because of the high casualty rate and the unpopularity of the war, the armed forces are suffering a recruitment crisis.

The military is resorting to taking helicopters into the playground to entice children into joining up.

The EIS Scottish teachers’ union already has a policy of banning military recruiters.

The government could endorse this and extend it to colleges and universities to ensure our young people can enjoy an education without pressure from “careers advisors” bent on warfare and destruction.

In June 2007 the Scottish Parliament voted to reject the £25 billion replacement for the Trident nuclear system, yet nuclear warheads are regularly transported on public roads in Scotland.

Transport is not a reserved issue so the Scottish government could refuse to allow these lethal convoys access to our roads.

There have also been ongoing protests at Faslane naval base on the Clyde, and the bill for policing for the last year alone was £5.1million.

This is money that could be spent on public services and the government could stop Strathclyde Police being used to defend weapons of mass destruction on Scottish soil.


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News
Tue 11 Mar 2008, 18:08 GMT
Issue No. 2092
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