THE catastrophe that has befallen Beirut, and the questions that surround how preventable the disaster was, come as we remember the anniversaries of the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with atomic bombs.

It seems like the right time to bring our thoughts back round to both the UK’s nuclear fleet and arsenal, which sits just 20 or so miles from Glasgow, and the rusting hulks of its predecessor submarines, which sit tied up and abandoned at Rosyth dockyard. (Sinking them in the Atlantic should never be an option).

These sites are not accident-free and over the last 60 years there have been far too many near misses to record here.

Why, oh why do we think we are immune to the possibility of one of these “accidents” turning into our very own modern-day Armageddon-style catastrophe, cursing both our children and our country for generations into their futures.

It is well past time for these murderous weapons of mass destruction to be gone. Everyone knows they carry only a very limited strategic threat, need permissions granted from a foreign power before they can be deployed, and leach biblical amounts of hard-worked-for resources from not just the Royal Navy but all the other armed services. And all this so that some well-past-its-sell-by-date concoction of colonial and world power can be nurtured by right-of-centre politicians of most Westminster parties, in the vain hope they can make the completely false claim to their supporters that they have retained super-power status on this island, or be an expensive bargaining chip in a mythical multi-lateral game of brinkmanship.

Meanwhile, the UK’s two new aircraft carriers, which cost billions of pounds, remain non-operational. We have next-to-no surface fleet and three armed services that struggle financially to maintain numbers – what number of soldiers actually makes up an army

in a Union of 66 million people? – not forgetting affording the quality of equipment and training for those brave souls currently signed up.

Events in Beirut have refocused the mind on the fact that it only takes one accident to start a catastrophe and the misplaced power stored on both sides of Scotland’s central belt is capable of killing at least half of our population and devastating our country for millennia.

What fight would there be to keep us as part of the “all in it together” Union if an accident occurred.

I hope readers will agree that on the 75th anniversary weekend of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it’s time to halt the nuclear submarine replacements, decommission the current fleet and dismantle once and for all the legacy vessels left behind to scar our country.