It underlines the difficulty that the SNP/ Green/ Plaid group would face if they tried to make abandoning Trident an absolute demand before giving any support to Labour to form a government – it would be a certain way of diminishing, rather than maximising, their influence. The clear statement from the SNP’s leader that, whilst it might not be a red line in terms of some sort of loose arrangement, there are no circumstances in which SNP MPs would vote for a renewal of Trident is probably as good as it gets at this stage.
I’m still of the view that the best hope for scrapping Trident is the second Scottish independence referendum, whenever that comes, bringing with it a forced relocation cost for a state reduced in size. At things stand, under any conceivable election outcome, there is certain to be an overwhelming majority in favour of Trident renewal in the next parliament. Regardless of whether the PM is Cameron or Miliband, any vote on this issue will easily pass through parliament, despite opposition from the SNP, Plaid, and the Green Party.
The Lib Dems, ever keen not to be missed out of anything, seem to have suffered something of a logic bypass on the issue, with their claim that anyone wanting a de-escalation of the UK’s nuclear weaponry should vote for them, since they are proposing only to build three replacement submarines, rather than the Labour/Tory four. In essence, they are trying to persuade those of us who oppose Trident that instead of voting for one of the parties which is absolutely opposed to Trident but which have been forced to recognise the reality that their influence on this issue will be zilch, we should vote for a party which wants to retain Trident despite the fact that its influence on this issue will also be zilch. It’s a very strange argument.