Follow the Leader

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Next week, the Scottish Labour party will choose a new leader: Jim Murphy, Sarah Boyack or Neil Findlay. The three candidates took part in an online hustings for Guardian readers today.

A reader asked this question: “As Scottish Labour policy is against Trident, will you as leader of Scottish Labour advocate the democratic will of Scottish Labour members on this issue, or will you insist on pushing the UK party policy on the Scottish party?”

Their answers were as follows:
Sarah Boyack

“I’ve made my views clear – I don’t support the renewal of Trident. I’m proud of the work of the last Labour government to negotiate a reduction in nuclear warheads across the globe. Spending billions on acquiring a new weapons system would be going in the wrong direction.

We need to play our part by investing in our own UK defence and peacekeeping capabilities, supporting conflict resolution and using economic sanctions where appropriate.”

Neil Findlay

“I’m against the UK having nuclear weapons – I want the Scottish Labour party to be campaigning for the UK to cancel Trident.”

Jim Murphy

“I want a world free of nuclear weapons. There are two entirely legitimate views on what is the best way to achieve that – multilateralism or unilateralism. I’m not a unilateralist and want the UK to be part of negotiations to make the world nuclear-free.

I know that that is tougher at the moment when the likes of North Korea are trying to acquire nuclear weapons. But I don’t believe in unilaterally stopping being a nuclear power. I’m pretty proud of all the work the previous Labour government did to reduce our warhead numbers.”

So there you have it. If you’re a Labour party member who is against renewing Trident in 2016, or a union member who has a vote in the leadership contest, it’s clear, despite the obfuscating political flannel, that a vote for Jim Murphy is a vote for the continuation of nuclear weapons in Scotland.

Labour party members in Scotland who insisted they were just as opposed to nuclear weapons as we were during the indyref campaign now have a chance to do the right thing. The question is – will they?

We’ll be watching the outcome with interest.