Over 2,500 protesters have hit the streets of Glasgow for a ‘Bairns not Bombs’ demonstration, calling for UK’s Trident nuclear weapons program to be scrapped.
The rally, one of the largest of its kind ever held in Glasgow, was organized by the Scrap Trident group and will be followed by a blockade of Faslane Naval Base where the submarines carrying the nuclear deterrent are docked on April 13. Bairns is a word only used in Scottish English to describe a small child.
Police estimated that some 2,500 people attended the rally, but organizers said the figure was higher and placed it closer to 4,000.
Scotland’s First Minister and head of the Scottish National Party (SNP), Nicola Sturgeon, told the crowd it was morally indefensible to waste £100 billion ($149 billion) on replacing the subs.
“One of the biggest decisions that MPs will take in the next Parliament is whether to waste £100 billion on renewing these morally obscene weapons. Broken down, that’ll be around £3 billion a year, peaking at an eye-watering £4 billion in the 2020s,” she said.
“Just think what could be achieved with this money for the NHS, education or other public services – not just in Scotland but across the UK,” she added.
Patrick Harvie from the Scottish Green Party told the crowd that people in Scotland and across the UK were enraged that as billions of pounds are being cut from supporting the most vulnerable people in society, money was being found for a new generation of weapons of mass destruction.
His message was that voters could help make the difference to stopping Trident’s replacement at the ballot box.
“Your job over the coming weeks is to make sure people hear the alternative voice. You need to take the message out day after day, to friends, family, your colleagues, your neighbors, make sure they bring the issue of Trident to the top of the political agenda when they decide how they will cast their vote. Let’s convince everybody in this country to vote no to Trident,” he told the crowd.
The submarines which carry Trident are based just down the coast from Glasgow, and are much more unpopular in socialist Scotland than south of the border in Tory dominated England.
They are due to reach the end of their operational lives within the next decade, but the UK government is yet to make a final decision on replacing them. This is due in the next parliament.
The Conservatives will replace them, but if Labour enters into a governing alliance with the SNP, then they may not opt to order a replacement, meaning the decision is far from being made, and at the moment it is not clear who will win the election.