RESOLUTION. Repulse. Renown. Revenge. Vanguard. Victorious. Vigilant. Vengeance. Polaris. Trident. The first eight are submarines, the last two are missile systems.

Given that any nuclear exchange would transform our population centres into flattened grey rubble, there’s maybe no surprise at the pompous banality of these names. Instruments of mass murder don’t require poetry.

But we’ve lived with all this for half a century now. Earlier this week we marked the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Faslane naval port, home to the UK’s supply of submarine-mounted nuclear weaponry.

The coverage has been anodyne. First Sea Lords have been burbling away about the Peace Camp at Faslane “being part of the furniture, as it were”. For the independence-minded, this anniversary will induce a dull but persistent throb. Four years ago, we weren’t that far away from starting a different kind of conversation with First Sea Lords and their like, about a timetable for the removal of Trident from Scottish waters following a Yes vote.

If you ever want to measure how far the ball was dropped on September 17, 2014, imagine the globally momentous post-independence conversations about the decommissioning and relocation (or maybe even cancellation) of Trident. Or strategising over how to repurpose the high-end engineering skills of the Faslane base and economy.

Then compare that with a burning baby box on a tabloid website.

Yet to be honest, it’s the prospect of all-consuming fire that keeps me from rolling over and giving up, either on independence or on Trident removal.

I have been rereading a superb book (which I endorsed) written by a radical Quaker, Timmon Milne Wallis, and titled The Truth About Trident: Disarming the Nuclear Argument.

It’s good to be reminded of some basics here. Firstly, one should note that Trident is always described as a “deterrent”. The official case is that Britain’s possession of nuclear weapons enables us to keep the realm safe, by letting any potential aggressor know we have the power to launch the ultimate pre-emptive attack (or the ultimate retaliation). Knowing that a UK Prime Minister would “push the button” thus “deters” others from their actions.

Yet Wallis painstakingly lays out the consequences of even a limited nuclear exchange with Trident weaponry. Each submarine (and there’s four) contains 250 times the explosive power that fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The results of any attack (and then retaliation) would be catastrophic – death and destruction way beyond any national boundaries, and with serious long-term climate and health effects.

We simply cannot launch these weapons. They would induce “mutually assured destruction”, as they used to say in the Cold War. But you can only “deter” someone if they believe you could potentially use your force upon them.

A skirmish in the North Sea between conventionally armed ships is deterrence. But a nuclear war, however limited, would unravel the very civilisation and social fabric that was supposed to be protected by them. So as deterrents that can never be used, they are literally pointless.

There are other excellent reminders here about the implications of Trident. Its recommissioning is not a “replacement” of what we have, but an “upgrading” (to combat new threats in anti-submarine warfare and deep sea detection). We are escalating an arms race, not maintaining our “current posture”.

There is a gathering argument that using nuclear weapons is illegal under international law, as (in Wallis’s words) “it would cause disproportionate and indiscriminate harm to civilians, long-term damage to neutral countries, unnecessary and prolonged suffering to combatants, and genetic damage to future generations”.

For what it’s worth, the impedance of Trident renewal, by means of Scottish sovereignty evicting it from Scottish territory, is why I’ll never accept any constitutional status short of nation-state independence. From the First Minister downwards (who joined CND before she joined the SNP), it’s been the electric rail of Scottish independence politics.

Will that always be so? Those who want a Scottish state to enact this most worldly of policies may need their own vigilant patrols, if the independence option opens up again.

There are, of course, easier and even lucrative alternative paths. Scots could eventually settle for some future federal structure, leaving all the tough stuff – and the toughest is governmental decisions over the use of force – to the British state.

Given the pro-nuclear consensus between Conservatives and Labour, even under a Corbyn leadership, we would be paying for and displaying this post-imperial phallus till 2060.

There’s also, no doubt, a mercenary post-independence deal to be cut. In this, we would accept the presence and allow the UK/US administration of Trident facilities in Scotland. In return, we’d receive a nice annual fee (maybe in the billions) to help assuage our national debts and deficit. “Part of the necessary pragmatism involved in real-life politics, Mr Kane”, would go the sotto voce. ‘‘It’s also the fly move.’’ Other than being morally bereft – if you take the critique of nuclear weapons as a “deterrent” seriously – I also don’t think it would be “fly” at all. What quality of conversation would an independent Scotland want to start with the whole world, never mind Westminster, the EU or Nato?

If we decided to play cute with the existing power blocs over Trident, we would be saying “everything must change [with independence] so that everything can stay the same”, in the words of Tancredi Falconeri in Di Lampedusa’s The Leopard.

We can be much more ambitious, and actually more economically  clever, than that. The 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was voted for at the UN by 122 countries to 2 (69 simply didn’t  vote, that number including all nuclear-armed states).

States in South America, Africa and Southeast Asia came together to establish, for the first time, the possibility of a legally binding  treaty on the elimination of  nuclear weapons.

If an independent Scotland  became a signatory to, and ratifier of, this treaty, it would be another signal to this wider world of our peaceful, humanitarian and constructive credentials (which we would add to our already well-known sustainability ambitions).

Read the works of Carlotta Perez to find out how much these kinds of values are at the cusp of the coming new economic paradigm.  Being super-moral and decisive about Trident will actually be fantastic business for us, among the world’s eco-moderns and millennials, over the coming decades.

In eschewing the ultimate  hard power, we amplify  and expand the attractiveness  of our soft power.

These ugly, potentially catastrophic and socially corrosive objects may be celebrating their 50th anniversary in Scottish waters, but independence will always give us the option to cleanse ourselves of the nuclear  stain – and help make the world a safer place.

Timmon Milne Wallis’s The Truth About Trident: Disarming the Nuclear Argument, is published by Luath Press, £12.99