Starting with a single ripple

Well we’re still here, for now. You can never be entirely certain that there will still be a morning to wake up to when the fate of the world is in the hands of two man-children for whom the unthinkable of nuclear warfare is perfectly thinkable. When you do wake up you feel around to make sure that everything is still in one piece and your street hasn’t been turned into a post-apocalyptic wasteland, at least insofar as it’s possible to tell the difference between a post-apocalyptic wasteland and the East End of Glasgow when there’s a Tory government in Westminster. Then you turn on the telly news to check the progress of Trump and Kim’s nuclear dance to see if the children with lethal toys have put a stop to the steps of a billion lives.

Those of us old enough to remember the Cold War have been here before. The protests. The marches. The raging impotently against the world destroying power of those who can make your fate fall through their fingers like the dust that will be all that’s left after they’ve launched the destroyers of worlds. The difference is that back then the madmen who created the MAD doctrine knew what Mutually Assured Destruction meant, that it meant that nukes were weapons that could never be used as they’d destroy the very civilisation that they were supposed to protect. Now we’re in the hands of petulant children for whom nukes are just bigger bangs in a big banging contest. Children who don’t realise that using their toys will make the road in Cormac McCarthy’s novel seem like Sesame Street.

For many of us in this campaign to liberate Scotland from the grip of Westminster, it started with the revulsion that nuclear weapons with enough fire power to evaporate much of the globe were based just a few miles from Scotland’s largest city. It started with the realisation that to the power hungry of Westminster, Scotland is first and foremost a place to park the nuclear viagra of an impotent former superpower. Even more than the oil, even more than draining us of our children and using us as a reservoir of labour, Scotland’s place in the Union is to host the evil of mass death. For many of us, the campaign for Scotland independence is based on ridding Scotland of this evil, because if we accept it then we become complicit in it. Silence equals agreement.

Scotland’s just a small country. We can’t prevent a nuclear war. We can’t stop the USA and North Korea from setting fire to eastern Asia. But we can stop our own country from being a part of the madness. We can say that we don’t want Scotland to be a party to the nuclear dick waving. It’s not even as if the UK’s nuclear deterrent is independent. The USA supplies the warheads. The USA supplies the targetting. They’re simply an adjunct to American nukes which exist purely in order to justify the place that the UK takes on the UN Security Council. That’s a place that’s taken on Scotland’s back. It’s because of those dirty nukes on the Clyde that the UK fights dirty to keep Scotland within its grasp.

The truth is that those who say that they are renewing Trident because they are in favour of multilateral disarmament are, at best, lying to themselves. You don’t rid the world of nuclear weapons by commissioning more. You don’t make the world a safer place by buying bombs that make a bigger bang. You disarm by getting rid of bombs. It’s clear that Scottish opinion means nothing to Westminster, we’ve learned that lesson well, so the only way to rid our country of someone else’s bombs is to take control of our country for ourselves. Independence is the only route to Scottish nuclear disarmament. Westminster will never disarm, its multilateralism is just an excuse for it to pass its own moral obligations on to others. Saying that you will only do a good thing if someone else does it too does not make you a good person. It makes you a hypocrite.

Listen to the cant from some, especially in Labour, and you’d think that Trident was a job creation scheme. Jackie Baillie acts as though the entire purpose of Trident was to keep a medium sized Tesco Express open in the greater Helensburgh area. When you’ve got politicians who seriously try to argue that spending billions on bombs that can blow up the planet is a good thing because it can create a couple of hundred jobs, you’ve already descended into insanity. A weapon of mass destruction is not a job creation scheme. You don’t justify a great evil by claiming it does a small good. Trident is an obscenity no matter how many jobs it creates – and it creates damn few. It’s an expensive obscenity at that. We could create far more jobs by spending the money that Trident costs directly on job creation. We could make Scotland a safer and saner place in the process.

We’re back in the 60s when the world held its breath as giants like Kennedy and Khrushchev went toe to toe over Cuba, only this time the only things that are giant are the egos of small men. We’re back to being a small former Empire clinging on to past greathoods, perched on the edge of a Europe that we’re not a part of. We’re back to holding our breath in the realisation of the fragility of life, of civilisation, of all the progress that was so hard won by our grandparents and parents, and we go to bed in the dark of night not knowing if there will be a tomorrow.

The only way to change the world is to change that small part of it within your own reach and power. We can change ourselves and say that we will not be silent. We can change Scotland, and say that it will not be silent. We can say that Scotland will no longer be a host for the ambitious egos of the powerful and greedy. We can say that Scotland is committed to disarmament, and we can practise what we preach. We can make a small difference, knowing that large differences are made up of thousands of small ones, that a change in the course of a mighty river starts with a single ripple.

A voice singing alone is crying into the night, five million voices make a chorus that ripples through the world. The moral case for Scottish independence has never been stronger.

Audio version of this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984

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36 comments on “Starting with a single ripple

  1. […] Wee Ginger Dug Starting with a single ripple […]

  2. ockletycockletywitch says:

    One of your finest pieces, Mr Kavanagh. I wholeheartedly endorse every word of it.

  3. This is the probably one of the best things you have posted,
    Love you, …..and thanks for being here for all of us.
    Grandpa of 67 & 1/2 xx

  4. Splendid stuff, Paul. I’ve had quite enough of the fragrant Theresa May, and her Easter message was just plain bokeworthy. All pious and holy, buying Trident with one hand, the better to wreak death and destruction, with the other, flogging bombs and weapons to other appalling regimes for them to use kill combatants and civilians alike, indiscriminately… If those are British values, I want none of them.

  5. The G With The Criminal Behaviour says:

    Wholeheartedly agree. Very inspiring. Dark days indeed, but better ahead.

  6. Thank you, Paul. A good message to read in the dark before the dawn. Birds have now begun singing together. As you say, we need to sing together too.

  7. Anne a says:

    Superb piece Paul. One of your most eloquent and one of your best.

  8. angusskye says:

    Scotland is stuck with these abominations at Faslane.
    Scotland has no say in this.
    The US controls them.
    Scotland is impotent.
    The UK pays for them.
    Scotland has no say in this.
    Only Independence offers a solution.

  9. Janet says:

    Very well said. We can spend that money looking after the poor the old and the sick as well as creating an economy that doesn’t depend on weapons manufacture of any kind.

  10. Paul, you are, ahem, possibly old enough to remember the ‘elephant’ jokes that did the rounds of Primary School playgrounds during the late ‘sixties, ok then, early ‘seventies.
    What’s big, and sings Jazz?

    Elephants Gerald.

    What do you get when you add boiling water to a big bag of grey powder, and whisk for two minutes?

    Instant elephant.

    A bus conductor demands to know why a passenger is carrying a shotgun up onto the upper deck of his ‘bus.
    ‘In case we are attacked by elephants.’
    ‘Bus conductor retorts angrily that he has been on the same route for thirty years and the ‘bus has never been attacked by elephants.
    ‘Effective, isn’t it?’ came the smug reply.

    Even as ten year olds, we ‘got’ the absurdity of the argument. It was funny, hilarious, and deliciously insane.

    Yet this is the obscene premise upon which the UK Government bases its argument for not only having nuclear weapons, but spending another £160 billion buying the ‘next generation’ of MAD machines from the US Industrial and Military Complex; as a deterrent.

    The elephants are a constant menace.

    If we didn’t have Big Bombs, Russian, Chinese, and North Korea n elephants would stampede across the UK, destroying village cricket greens, trampling through the Chelsea Flower Show, playing havoc in the paddocks during the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

    Imagine the chaos on Finals Day at Wimbers if an elephant turns up late and barges its way along the row to get to its seat? There would be peanuts and half eaten sticky buns everywhere.
    We need Big Bad Expensive Guns to protect our Freedom and Democracy, don’t you know?
    The Security of ‘the nation’ depends on us maintaining our position of absolute power on the World Stage.

    Yet I ask, whose Freedom, Democracy, and Security do these Machineries of Evil protect?

    The 260,000 Scots children living in poverty?
    The half million Scots citizens living below the poverty level?
    The young mums with three dependent children who was the victim of rape?
    The ‘Just About Managing’ families whose ‘breadwinner’ is in low paid low skill zero hour employment?
    Young widows with children who have had their fragile status as some of our most vulnerable removed from them by state edict?
    Pensioners living in rented accommodation whose pittance of a Retirement pension is ‘topped up’ by means tested Pensions Credits, who now fall foul7l of the Bedroom Tax, and who face the choice between eviction and starvation?
    11,000 18-21 year olds whose rent will no longer be paid because the state has scrapped Housing Benefit for this particularly vulnerable group?
    Disabled unemployed Jobseekers who have seen their Employment Support Allowance of £29.50 per week taken away from them as an austerity ‘saving’?
    PIP claimants who can walk more than 20 yards (sic) will have their Motability cars taken away by Atos or Capita?

    I doubt it.

    If I were as rich as JK Rowling or Alistair Darling, or Lord John Reid, or on £80,000 a year like the unelected Kezia Gudgdale, or Ruth Davidson, or the dozens of list Blue Yellow and Red Tory hangers on at Holyrood on £1200 a week plus exes, I’d certainly want to stop the March of the Elephants.

    If I’m a pensioner using my winter coat as a blanket to save on the heating bill,in order to have enough money to pay the rent, not so much.

    The Unionists are using our LA elections as mini Referendum.

    All of them endorse the State engineered attack on our society.
    They have nothing to offer our most vulnerable citizens other than relentless misery while our wealth is spent on making the rich richer, and on an obscene arsenal to protect the Wealthy, the Few, the Oligarchy.

    Tens of thousands die each year in Scotland because of state engineered poverty.

    The distant sound of rampaging elephants is the least of our worries.
    Ruth Davidson astride Dumbo, on the other hands, sends shivers down my spine.

    • Sheryl Hepworth says:

      Jack Collatin.. Nearly as good as the WGD’s writing! Briliant from both Paul and yourself! I’m heading rapidly towards 70 (this year) and I do not want these monstrosities anywhere near my Grand-kids and Great-grandkids thank you! I want to leave them a world where they can visit any country their wee hearts desire in safety and to be able to see what the world is about! I really hope my 2year old Great-grandson gets to my age in a world of peace and security. As things are I fear for the kids futures!

      • I too reach my 70th this year, Sheryl. We weep not for us, but for our children, and our children’s children.
        I have an alternative ‘Defence’ solution.
        A brigade of mice to face up to the elephants.
        Off to the dentist now, one of my lifetime phobias. A small price to pay for having one’s own teeth in the West of Scotland at our age
        Peace and love to all.

    • Macart says:

      Well said Jack.

    • brian keane says:

      Yes Well said Jack..Though the true cost of the WMD’s would be close to £200 Billion.

    • Saor Alba says:

      Excellent stuff Jack.

  11. Jan Cowan says:

    Nothing more needs to be said – only extensive praise.

  12. Macart says:

    That’s pretty much right up there Paul. Well said.

    We’re better than this. We’ve earned better than this. We deserve better than this.

    Scotland is not a nuclear weapons facility and it’s not one big military base/target. We’re a nation who until recently, never had a voice to speak, or were given the opportunity to choose. There was only ever one reason these appalling weapons were housed within our borders from a UK standpoint. We weren’t London. We were however, treated as an adjunct, a distant but conveniently handy region over which UK gov had some say and a territorial ‘duty of care’.

    Between Washington and London, convenience and expediency were the buzz words of the day back then. No one gave a shit what the people of Scotland thought. We’ve been told what to think for decades after all. So we got the dubious honour of housing the UK’s nuclear arsenal. A weapon system with but one aim, that of mass and indiscriminate destruction… mass murder. This isn’t a military weapon in ANY sense of the word. It’s a population killer. A weapon not intended to subdue or combat an aggressor state’s military, but wipe the populations of cities from the face of the earth.

    How many proxy wars throughout the entire cold war period, and in today’s world, how many acts of terrorism has ownership of nuclear armament prevented? The great powers (define ‘great’) still fought across a world sized chess board regardless, hiding behind other nations to continue their geopolitical aims and expansions, their wars of resource and political ideology.

    How and ever, once the nuclear genie was let out of the bottle a course was indeed set. How we deal with that problem today, some 72 years on from the Trinity test, can and will define our future legacy.

    What KIND of country do you want to live in? What KIND of government would you live with? What KIND of people do you want to be?

    EVERY time I go to a ballot, I ask myself those three questions.

    I haven’t voted for an establishment party in over thirty years.

  13. iainmore2016 says:

    The Yoons are desperate not just to re-arm but to actually start another war.

  14. mogabee says:

    It’s the total madness of it all, the fact we’ve been here before and still we/they don’t listen to history. Cold or hot, wars kill people but fill the pockets of the few.

    How many times have any of you been patronised when speaking of getting the nuclear abomination out of our country? It’s perilously close to my home but someone in the Shires can pat me on the head and tell me “we” need to keep this “deterrent” to keep us safe!

    There is no more point in discussing nuclear weapons with anyone. We just need to vote them away…

  15. I joined Scottish C.N.D in the year of its formation, 1958, and my views on the sheer obscenity of nuclear weapons have never changed.
    For at least 310 years, Scotland, and its people, have been used as guinea pigs in various experiments by Westminster, and its ultimate aim is to exterminate any trace of a Scottish identity.
    The latest round of so-called social policies put in place by the tories, are merely the next salvo in what will be the eventual destruction of the Welfare State, so consistently opposed by them since its inception in 1948. And believe you me, this is only the start. If we are still part of this corrupt union when they exit Europe, the destruction visited on real people will be like nothing ever seen before. Free from the constraints of E.U regulations, the tories will wreak havoc on the lives of working, and non-working people, making them not much better than serfs to the rich and powerful.
    And yet, going around the doors, unbelievably in my opinion, there are still people who can’t, or don’t want to, see the truth laid bare before them.
    I suppose that’s what hundred’s of years of brainwashing does to a population, and it’s still going on today, courtesy of the B.B.C, ably assisted by their M.S.M allies.
    Come the second Scottish Independence Referendum, we simply have to win, otherwise my great-grandchildren, and many others, will be condemned to a life of servitude under a vicious and uncaring Westminster administration, who will visit even more punishment on the Scottish people, for merely daring to try to become an independent nation once again.

  16. TheStrach says:

    Excellent post. Change what we can and hope others come to their senses.

  17. Join the dots says:

    Point of information.

    The notion of independent independent nuclear deterrence is a convenient illusion:

    The previous system (Polaris) probably did have the option for the UK to launch an independent nuclear attack.

    In 1982 during the Falklands War a Polaris submarine was deployed to the South Atlantic (see note1)


    The US attitude up to that point had been strict neutrality between the UK and Argentina.

    There was then a sudden change in policy; American tech (including the airwar winning sidewinder air to air missiles) flowed freely to the UK.

    …what made the US change policy?


    … join the dots

    Eventually the time finally came for Polaris to be replaced by Trident.
    Does anyone think that the US would once again supply a weapon to the U.K. that could be used without their permission? Once bitten, twice shy.

    Trident allows the U.K. the illusion of power. It gives the USA a chance to spread their costs (and enhance jobs in the US) as well as effectively giving them a second seat on the UN Security Council.

    It’s an expensive and very dirty business.

    I used to think that the Cold War stand off of MAD was evil but had an unthinkable but relatively stable logic (two rational enemies each with a gun to the other’s head).

    The threat of nuclear use is not now theoretical. We now have two toddlers in a standoff -neither prepared to loose face.

    Note (1) This deployment was officially denied but it was raised by Labour MPs soon after the war, I think it highly plausible. Even if this piece of theatre did not physically happen, the threat would be real.

    • Robin Barclay says:

      Sorry to be a pedant here but I don’t think that is actually correct. At the time, the RAF had managed to con the Government into believing that they could cover the entire globe by use of the Vulcan or ‘V’ bomber.
      The end of the Falklands War happened because they flew a Vulcan from England to Montevideo (Neutral) re-fuelling several times on the way there and when on the tarmac at the airport left the bomb bay doors open so that Argentinian Spies could take pictures to see that the plane itself carried no payload.
      It was quite a genius move considering the atrociousness of WMDs. The Argentinians then knew that good ole Blighty ‘could’ if it wanted to, hence, deterrent!
      Later though it was found the RAF had sold WM a pig as there was an area within the Indian Ocean that the V-Bomber could not reach between Diego Garcia and Australia which is why the Vanguard Class Subs were then commissioned.

      I apologise if this isn’t correct but I am sure that was the script i got from the secret squirrel when we were taking a class on the subject during my training at HMS Collingwood many years ago.

  18. Macart says:


    GE called June 8th.

    Popcorn sales going through the roof. I’d take a wild guess what ticket the SNP will stand on.

    Insanity can’t be ruled out of course.

    Having said ALL of that though, what must Davidson and co. be feeling about now? They’ve just been made out prize chumps, hypocrites and liars by their own leader. OOFT!

    Months they’ve been banging the ‘no mandate’, ‘no one wants a divisive referendum’ bullshit and now Theresa May post SC clash, post Brexit bill debates, post catagorical assurance of ‘no snap elections’, calls one regardless. Outstanding.

    This isn’t an egg on face moment for Davidson and co., it’s a full on omelette.

    The FM now has a helluva choice to make.

    Stay calm everyone. Patience and cool heads, now more than ever.

  19. Graham says:

    Teresa still needs a 75% majority in the h.o.c. so no absolute guarantee the election will even take place.

    Will the tories (of various hues) hold on to their three seats…?

  20. Therapymum says:

    Brilliant piece WGD! I joined CND in 1966 and haven’t changed my view of nuclear warfare in that time. I remember the upset at school around the Bay of Pigs. We were all terrified because we knew about the bombs that had been dropped only 17 years previously and the detestation to human life, land and society it caused.

    I was reading it when Ms May appeared to announce a GE. It appears she doesn’t want opposition. “Opposition parties providing disunity and division”. Highly democratic view that. And also how hypocritical – denying Scotland a second referendum while essentially re-running the EU referendum as the basis of this election. Please Scotland, get this one right!

  21. Therapymum says:

    Detestation was intended to be devastation! Spellcheck!

  22. Margaret McKendry says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Joining the Independence movement was initially for me to remove Trident from the Clyde. However having joined SNP I have had my eyes opened and of course once you see through the propaganda emanating from Westminster and aided by the mainstream media, there is no going back to being dictated to.

  23. emilytom67 says:

    Splendid article but feel that you are preaching to the converted,I really cannot fathom the mindset of the unionists and their camp followers it is or should be patently obvious to anyone with a modicum of understanding that the USA is the devil incarnate not North Korea not Russia/China/Iran yet we follow them in their madness,they are poisoning the world literall/figuratively yet we Westminster that is sit on our hands,if we do not free ourselves of this collective madness then we are doomed we might well already be in the last chance saloon.

  24. wm11 says:

    Nicola needs to go all out for it now. GE17 must be IndyRef2.

  25. brian keane says:

    A Brilliant Post Paul, We were at the Life After Trident, Helensburgh CND conference.. Which concludes that getting rid of Trident would create more jobs, not less… Also one to watch out for is the DocuDrama ‘ Benchmark 6 ‘ about an accident on a Trident sub, it’s being filmed in the Greenock / Gourock areas –

    And a Most powerful Film where Stanislav Petrov actually plays himself –

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