Argyll & Bute’s MP, Brendan O’Hara, is making hay while the sun highlights Scottish Labour’s divisions over the conference decision to oppose the renewal of the Trident nuclear deterrent.
Addressing the monthly Constituency Association meeting of Argyll & Bute SNP, Mr O’Hara welcomed Labour’s U-turn on Trident renewal and said he looked forward to working with his Labour counterpart in Helensburgh, Jackie Baillie MSP, in the fight to stop the UK government spending £167 billion on new weapons of mass destruction.
Jackie Baillie is not, of course, Mr O’Hara’s ‘counterpart’ in Helensburgh. While he is MP for Argyll & Bute, she is MSP for Dunbartonshire, which includes the Helensburgh and Lomond ward of Argyll and Bute Council.
More importantly, Jackie Baillie is highly unlikely to be working with Helensburgh resident, Brendan O’Hara, on a campaign to halt the Trident renewal programme – because, as Mr O’Hara knows well, she is the major dissident from her party’s decision to voice their majority opposition to the weapons system.
Arguably the most capable of Scottish Labour’s Holyrood component, including its sixth form debate Leader, Kezia Dugdale, and with a spectrum of senior responsibilities on Labour front bench in her CV, Jackie Baillie alone is a formidable opposing voice to the party’s ‘indulgence’ over the Trident issue it cannot influence.
Mr O’ Hara says: ‘Labour’s decision to support our position of cancelling the renewal of the Trident missile system at a cost of £176,000,000,000 is very welcome and despite our long-standing and continuing political differences I look forward to campaigning with Jackie Baillie against this obscene waste of money’.
As MSP for the area that includes HMNB Clyde at Faslane and Coulport and for their hinterland where so many local jobs are either at or in the supply chain for the base, Ms Baillie is naturally campaigning against any threat to the Trident renewal in order to ensure the security of all of those jobs; and to shield the local economy.
Politicians have to have fun and at least this piece of mischief has a lighter touch than the usual tedious whinge.