Barry Graham: The cowardly position of Unite on Trident renewal

Barry Graham says the Unite union should take a stronger position on Trident as MPs prepare to vote on renewal

SINCE David Cameron has announced a vote on Trident renewal will take place on the 18 July, I want to address the hypocrisy of the position adopted by the Unite Trade Union. 

Since when did the needs of the few outweigh the rights of the many? Unite has adopted a stance that puts the lives of not just its members at risk, but also the lives of all Scots and most Brits.

Now, Unite's current Trident policy, declared in a statement in 2010 and reaffirmed in 2012, appears unambiguous and was not to to replace Trident. Yet, by November 2015, it seems jobs became more important than lives or peace. 

Despite flowery words in the statement about Unite recognising that due to the non-proliferation treaty, the UK is obligated not to replace Trident, that’s not really its stance. 

However, despite what seems like a volte-face on its original stance, it is entirely consistent with its earlier position, it’s just that its earlier statement was completely hypocritical.

This is due to the weasily line at the bottom of the statement which null and voids the rest of it: "We need a policy that would see the jobs and skills of Unite members preserved, and until we receive firm commitments to this end we will continue to support our members and their employment."

So despite flowery words in the statement about Unite recognising that due to the non-proliferation treaty, the UK is obligated not to replace Trident, that’s not really its stance. 

Unite even claims in the original statement that "the moral and internationalist case for peace and disarmament is reinforced by economic necessities. It cannot be right to spend large sums on weapons of mass destruction when essential services are facing cuts."

Thus, Unite is trying to sit on both sides of the fence at once. For the sake of the few, other members are expendable. For the sake of the few, Scotland's population is expendable. For the sake of the few, humanity is expendable.

For the sake of 520 jobs, everyone else can be eviscerated. Let's be kind to Unite, as it does a good job, let us also include those who are employed indirectly: so for the sake of 1,800 jobs, the rest of Scotland’s 5.422 million population is expendable.

Unite is trying to sit on both sides of the fence at once. For the sake of the few, other members are expendable. For the sake of the few, Scotland's population is expendable. For the sake of the few, humanity is expendable.

You are more likely to be knifed if you carry a knife, you are more likely to be shot if you own a gun, surely human nature being what is, you’re more likely to be nuked if your country swaggers about the world stage with nukes. 

Unite even acknowledges this in its statement: "Our possession of them encourages other countries to seek a similar arsenal."

Unite needs to come off the fence before the vote. Unite needs to say to its members that are employed directly or indirectly in the continuation of these WMDs, that we will support and defend your employment rights, we will support you any way we can, but to borrow a sentiment from Mealoaf, when it comes to support for the renewal of Trident, "we won’t do that".

Picture courtesy of DncnH

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