Monday, March 12, 2007

Trident Rebellion Could Be Biggest Yet

The number of Labour MPs who will defy the party whip and vote against Trident could be more than 100. One PPS has already resigned with several more about to do so. The papers are full of rumours that junior minister Nigel Griffiths will also fall on his sword.

Always nice to see Labour MPs reverting to type and playing fast and loose with the defence of the nation, isn't it? Predictably they are likely to be joined in the No lobby by the LibDems who can't quite make up their minds as to whether Britain should even have its own nuclear deterrent.

They say that in this post cold war era it is not as relevant and therefore could be scrapped. The truth is that we don't know who our enemies are likely to be in ten, twenty or thirty years time. It may indeed be ragtag terror groups like Al Qaeda, but it may also be nation states with nuclear capabilities. The precautionary principle ought at least to come into play here.

64 comments:

Anonymous said...

...or because of the French.

[Yes Prime Minister]

Updating to 10 years' time:

Because the EU have them.

Anonymous said...

The UK no longer needs Trident or any thing like it. It does however need a nuclear option. That option is best served by a nuclear armed cruise system, more flexible and cheaper. TB stated that cruise had been considered and rejected because it was to slow, a valid criticism now, but that won't be the case in 10 or 15 years. It is perfectly feasable that hyper-sonic cruise missiles will be in service by then, capable of 3/4000 mph. By stationing submarines at certain parts of the globe Med/Indian Ocean etc, most targets will be within one hour of launch time. Cruise also has the advantage of being able to use a variety of launch vehicles: this means the RAF would have something for the Typhoon (Eurofighter) to do.

Scott said...

The Griffiths story was reported in the Sunday Herald yesterday. Griffith is one of Gordon's acolytes. Could he be being sacrificed in Gordon's greater game? http://loveandgarbage.livejournal.com/108077.html

no longer anonymous said...

As long as Russia and China remain authoritarian states it is wise for us to update our nuclear capabilities.

nadders said...

There is no need to make this decision now - its only on the agenda for Bliar to have it part of his legacy. Could there be some lucrative consultancy contracts coming from major US defence contractors perhaps?

Even though many of the nu Lab lot will oppose it ideological lines, we should all oppose the DECISION being made now, and politically it will be another nail in nulabs coffin

KELLY said...

Investing £75 Billion now is premature whatever we believe nuke wise. If the proposal is to reduce to three subs anyway then the redundancy date of the first one is completely irrelevant.

Life of all four could be extended anyway.

The first thing one has to do with a decision like this is decide whether it needs to be made now.

Decide or wait. In this case wait is better than decide "yes" at this stage. Deciding "no" for now would however be acceptable.

If you want to take the Hattersley pro-deterrent line you can say (and he does):
"we were right about the deterrent before, it has kept the peace for 60 years ..."
"but it is barking to continue"

The weakness in his first statement is that without the nuke arms race there would be less technology leaking out to less trustworthy nations ...

The Nuclear Defence thing being slipped through is of course more madness.

Chris Paul said...

That wasn't Kelly btw, that was Chris Paul ...

Chris Paul said...

BTW The target for the time being is 139 Labour rebels (Feb 2003)

Johnny Norfolk said...

I think there will a bigger rebellion about Camerons Air travel tax from the members. A Tory party putting up taxes its the party gone mad. They have lost all reality with the real world and inviting Al Gore, they have they gone mad. The polls will slump and we need to ditch Cameron now before its to late. He is no different to new labour.

Theo Spark said...

The issue is not whether to replace Trident which is a strategic nuclear deterrent, but whether we send out for some tactical nukes which will give us some much needed muscle in the present climate.

Jess The Dog said...

I am not anti-nuclear but I believe the weapons are abhorrent and should be phased out gradually as part of a worldwide agreement. We need a nuclear deterrent in the meantime, but the policy of the UK government is misguided.

The idea that Trident is an independent deterrent is wide of the mark. It is a US-supplied system and, if the US decided it was not in its interest to support the system, we would be left with four very large submarines and no working missiles.

The cost of Trident is extortionate, filling up the coffers of US defence contractors at the expense of basic equipment for UK troops. The technology is late-Cold War and, in this age of GPS and the European Galileo system, archaic. I suspect we could develop a UK system, whether air-launched or submarine launched, for a lesser price.

We are playing a very dangerous political game by buying into a US system. Some US military strategists believe in developing nuclear weapons for purposes other than deterrence, in order to save on troop costs, by using low-yield nuclear weapons as very powerful battlefield munitions. This is completely deluded and will fuel the nuclear arms race.

In summary, we need a deterrent but it should not be at the expense of other UK military needs or developed in collaboration with the US. We should also be aiming to remove the nuclear deterrent as part of worldwide disarmament.

Mike Kingscott said...

Can anyone verify who makes, maintains, etc "our" Trident missiles? I would hate the sketch I saw on Bremner, Bird and Fortune (the one where they reveal our nuclear defence is actually all the US's) to be true...

Anonymous said...

Great to see that old chestnut 'the precautionary principle', which has been on ice for the 'climate change' debate, being de-frosted for this rather lame posting...

I'm not that worried about climate change deniers myself... They are probably still smoking 40 cigarettes a day until such time as EVERY SINGLE scientist agrees on EXACTLY how risky smoking is. And so they will all be shuffling off this mortal coil from lung cancer and heart disease so that the rest of us can get on with taking action to cut our carbon footprints...

Anonymous said...

mike kingscott - you are bang on the money, as Tony Benn has confirmed from his time in office, we could not use our 'independent' deterrent without prior US approval..

Barking..

Jess The Dog said...

What about the political fallout? Labour MPs don't want an unaccountable dictator as party leader any more. They want Brown to follow a more traditional course and they suspect he will once Bliar has gone, but are not quite certain. This is a line in the sand - if the vote is carried only with Tory votes, it is yet another bridge between Bliar and Labour being burned - which side do Labour MPs wish to be on?

Remember this? "The Tories would rather spend £10billion on Trident missiles than try to stop the growing nuclear arms race." Who said that, on his 1983 election leaflet? A clue: it was the constituency of Sedgefield. The difference now is that we are talking between £15billion and £20billion!

Jess The Dog said...

Can anyone verify who makes, maintains, etc "our" Trident missiles? I would hate the sketch I saw on Bremner, Bird and Fortune (the one where they reveal our nuclear defence is actually all the US's) to be true...

I believe we supply the warheads (from Aldermaston) and the submarines and the US supply the missiles, Trident II D5. We will be dependent on the US for the missiles, their guidance systems and all associated maintenance. Guidance is fairly crucial!

My own opinion is that the UK could build its own more cheaply. They could be ballistic or could be cruise missiles, both submarine-launched. After all, we supply the submarines and the warheads anyway!

Marquee Mark said...

jess the dog said My own opinion is that the UK could build its own more cheaply.

Perhaps we could source them from Iran. Or North Korea? Cheap as chips...

Anonymous said...

Iain, this post is just 'punch and judy' party politics which I thought you were better than.

If you actually believe what you have written regarding us renewing our hosting of Trident for the USA (even though the current one still works), then your remarkable lack of knowledge on this situation is alarming from someone wanting to become an MP.

Another poor post, maybe I'll stop reading this blog and buy the Daily Mail instead.

Jess The Dog said...

Perhaps we could source them from Iran. Or North Korea? Cheap as chips...

Good idea! We don't need the warheads though, just their means of transportation. The French build and maintain their own system.

I would like to think that our US partners believe it is their patriotic duty to supply us with a key part of our nuclear deterrent at the cheapest possible cost. However, I doubt this is the case! It is more likely that the UK taxpayer is being screwed for every pound possible to keep US defence contractors in SUVs and private healthcare, and to subsidise the research and development fantasies of deranged neocons.

Athos said...

The most important thing about this Trident proposal is that they are planning to bring the money in specificly, rather than pinch it from the already-stretched equipment budget... something they didn't have the guts to do for the Iraq war.

A little increase in the defence budget to go with the increase in the deployment of our forces would be a nice bonus to go alongside it.

Sabretache said...

Well, the politics of the vote is one thing; the merits of the case another entirely.

Is it REALLY so self-evident that £20 billion capital + £30-50 revenue expenditure over its lifetime, is the optimum use of a tight 'defence' budget? I suggest not.

Why not have the honesty to admit that, in reality, it is the price of a ticket to the 'big-boys table' at the various geo-political policy forums?

As for its 'independence' - pull the other one Iain. Do you seriously suppose that the UK could make a credible threat of using it, let alone actually doing so, with out the agreement of the US?

Jess The Dog said...

The most important thing about this Trident proposal is that they are planning to bring the money in specificly, rather than pinch it from the already-stretched equipment budget... something they didn't have the guts to do for the Iraq war.

This won't happen in practice. It didn't for Iraq although a token £1.75billion was pledged as a "war chest" How come the defence budget has been cut by 5% of GDP since 1998?

Jess The Dog said...

How come the defence budget has been cut by 5% of GDP since 1998?

Oops, should have said 0.5% of GDP!

david kendrick said...

The yanks do 'shock and awe'. We don't, and we shouldn't try.

The problem with trident is that it wouldn't be independent---it is and will continue to depend on the US.

It thus represents poor value for the UK tax payer.

But if we didn't spend the money on trident, would it mean that British troops would be properly equipped? Quite---dispiriting, isn't it?

Voyager said...

I don't quite understand. we built Eurofighter which we did not need because of union lobbying to keep BAE jobs at Warton.


We have Trident missiles and warheads because we draw from a US stockpile and pay only 5% development costs as a leasing arrangement thanks to Macmillan.

What we want to do is to build some new boats since the ones Thatcher authorised in the 1980s will come to the end of their lives in 2015 onwards.

We want to issue orders for new boats so the shipyards can gear up and hire a workforce and begin to plan to launch four submarines over the coming decades.

The Labour MPs are quite happy to have BAE workers working building Eurofighter but don't want BAE workers building submarines

This is confusing.

Madasafish said...

ihvydhmm
We have no new aircraft carriers yet and orders still have not been placed.
The Joint Strik Fighter for those carriers? well have we the source code yet from the US or we can't use them.. when we get them.
The Navy is mothballing more ships.
the Army needs new armoured fighting vehicles.
The Army does not equip its soldiers well enough for conventional wars due to money ppressures.
Eurofighter was designed to foil Russian attacks.

And we are planning to buy new Tridents..

Notice any inconsistencies?


We can't fight two minor wars at once without overstretch say the military (Iraq, Afghanistan) but we are planning to build Trident 2.

It's a shambles...strategic thought needed.

Seems like priority setting is needed.

Ed said...

Anyone saw the programme last night on Game Theory will understand the folly of unilateral disarmament.

Anonymous said...

A vengefull submarine able to reply to the unexpected and sudden destruction of the UK is no longer needed. Instead build a small fleet of diesel/electric subs that can sink aircraft carriers and deter the Chinese navy. Oh and spend a bit more on guns, ammunition, armoured vehicles, pay, pensions and messes.

THEN you might be building an armed services for the 21 C.

Anonymous said...

You're obviously bitter Iain that these Labour rebels are standing up for something they believe in, no longer allowed in the Nu-Tories aimed solely at getting Cameron into power despite what the rest of the party want.

Oh, and for someone who likes to think they know what's going on, you should know that it's most likely that the Lib-Dems will be going through the Yes lobby if their attempts to delay the decision to 2014 fail.

Neil Craig said...

"Playing fast & lose with the defence of the nation" can work either way. Rither because we are more likely to be a terrorist target or becuase if other countries note our position & follow it the world is bound to become a more dangerous place. Trident, being US supplied & computer programmed, makes us entirely dependent on the US. This dependence may make us more powerful, at least against everybody but the boss, but does not make us safer. Whether our missiles have ever been intended to make us safer or merely that having it on our hip makes British politicians more impressive in the conference chamber, is an open question.

Iain you demonstrate exactly why the Precautionary Principle is usually a bad excuse for bad policy.

The arguments you use apply equally, or rather more than equally since they have genuine enemies, to Iran & North Korea. I do not think you would support their use of the Precautionary Principle here.

Dr Strangelove said...

Nigel Griffiths has just resigned.

Go on Tony, give it up now, just go...

anna sole said...

Tosser Tone's manifesto when he was first elected said:
Labour believes.......we don't need dangerous and costly Trident and Cruise missiles.
So what made him change his mind?

sturgess said...

The press announces a rebellion a day,Blair has a policy announcement a day,nothing changes.

Young Mason said...

I hope that we do the right thing and support the government - would get very annoyed if this didn't pass.

Newmania said...

Neil Craig what a lot of bilge you are talking
Playing fast & lose with the defence of the nation" can work either way.....etc. the same old thing with the additional suggestion that we should actually do as we are told by terrorists because that will stop them terrorising us .

Our security is dependent on supporting the US unless you think that Europe is going to do something for us which is of course a fantasy.


The Liberal Party goes on and on about how right they were about Iraq but they were right for the wrong reasons . The real reason was a lack of an exit strategy or understanding post SH Iraq ;but they just vaguely think fighting is a bad thing.
They may appear to propser electorally from this but it isn`t showing now . I wonder if people say 'well done' but silently conclude they cannot now or ever be trusted with the defence of the country

In truth they are the inheritor of the long tradition of pacifism in thes country as well as the unilateralists. We will never get a word of sense on this or indeed anything else

Madasafish said...

"The Liberal Party goes on and on about how right they were about Iraq but they were right for the wrong reasons "

Well it was better than being wrong for all the wrong reasons.
IDS made Conservatives look like lemmings.

Jess The Dog said...

I would prefer a proper debate. It is standard New Labour practice to polarise the debate, in this case with the alternatives being the Trident upgrade or unilateral disarmament. There are many opinions within these two extremes.

Nigel Griffiths is looking to the post-Bliar and possibly post-Brown world. Labour have survived as a party in the past - and occasionally in government - on a core left-of centre or left-wing vote. This core vote, which embraced values such as disarmament, is likely to be more sustainable in the medium term than the Bliar New Labour brand, which is fast disappearing down the toilet.

Voyager said...

We can't fight two minor wars at once without overstretch say the military

Because we lack manpower.

We had 167.000 soldiers in 1975
We have 96.000 today
10% of 96000 are foreigners in the British Army

Unless women increase fecundity we will not have the male population to sustain a bigger Army.

We use nuclear weapons because we cannot afford a large Standing Army of 250.000 men and demographics are not in our favour - so maybe we should introduce Conscription so ALL men and women do compulsory military service in the British Army

Colonel Blimp said...

Voyager..

I like your style, very Field Marshall Haig. Raise an army of thousands, rather than wasting money on hi-tech remote weapons, just get lots of blood and guts on the battlefield. Bayonets at the ready chaps...

Or maybe, just maybe that ship has sailed.

Bring back national service, hanging, Navy rum, futile deaths of thousands of troops in trenches, and the let's get some catapaults and boiling oil too.

Voyager said...

I like your style, very Field Marshall Haig. Raise an army of thousands,

Earl Haig had an Army of MILLIONS - he had 20.000 DEAD on 1 July 1916 and 55.000 WOUNDED - in one day....and 800.000 Killed and 2.000.000 wounded in total



Britain is a puny military force today. it is the only permanent member of the Security Council dependent upon ONE delivery system for its weapons - it is second-tier to France even.

It is so puny it cannot even sustain a brigade in Iraq.

Without nuclear weapons Britain is just another Portugal or Italy and will lose its UN Security Council seat to powers like India or Brazil.


The simple truth is that Britain's future is as a mediocre economy with a British Army as gendarmerie or possibly a component of a European Army protected by a French nuclear deterrent

Anonymous said...

The fact that most of the contributors on this Tory blog are opposed to Trident renewal shows how the government has got the politics of this wrong. They are scared of looking "weak" in defence but the electors have woken up to the fact that terrorism is the biggest threat now, not strategic nuclear weapons. And yes, the system is indeed bought in from the US, which makes the "independence" meaningless.

CuriousHamster said...

The truth is that we don't know who our enemies are likely to be in ten, twenty or thirty years time...

I'm curious to know how this fits in with our commitment under the NNPT to "pursue negotiations in good faith on... a Treaty on general and complete disarmament" (Article VI).

If you base this decision on the precautionary principle, it seems unlikely that you could ever commit to complete disarmament. In that case, you would certainly be in breach of the disarmament pillar of the NNPT. How then could you expect to have the moral authority to insist that other countries abide by the non-proliferation pillar?

Is it Tory policy to withdraw from the NNPT or would they, like Tony, just ignore the international obligations they don't fancy adopting?

Steven_L said...

'this means the RAF would have something for the Typhoon (Eurofighter) to do' (anon 9:13)

We'll have F-35's by then too.

Anonymous said...

Why are the Tories voting with the government?

If Labour MP's don't want Trident and want to rebel why should Her Majesty's Opposition help out this ragbag of a governemnt and the liar of a PM?

After 10 years out of power have they not got the message that they are in opposition?

Madasafish said...

"Why are the Tories voting with the government?

If Labour MP's don't want Trident and want to rebel why should Her Majesty's Opposition help out this ragbag of a governemnt and the liar of a PM?"



The current "a little of everything" policy is a guarantee finances are always stretched and inadequate for evrything.

(I have already posted evidence.. but anyone with half a brain # who looks at military matters can see it.
# Except the Conservatives it would appear or are they going to raise taxes to fund more military spending?)

David Lindsay said...

Trident was at least useless only in its own ostensibly defensive terms, whereas any new programme would be useless in any terms whatever, in addition to the fact that nuclear weapons (like radiological, chemical and biological weapons) are morally repugnant simply in themselves.

They offer not the slightest defence against a range of loosely-knit, if at all connected, terrorist organisations pursuing a range of loosely-knit, if at all connected, aims in relation to a range of countries while actually governing no state. Where would any such organisation keep nuclear weapons in the first place?

Furthermore, the possession of nuclear weapons, in addition to offending against Islamic (and much other) theological opinion, serves to convey to terrorists and their supporters that Britain wishes to "play with the big boys", thereby contributing to making Britain a target for the terrorist activity against which such weapons are defensively useless. It is high time for Britain to grow up.

Britain's permanent seat on the UN Security Council could not be taken away without British consent, and so does not depend in any way on her possession of nuclear weapons; on the contrary, the world needs and deserves a non-nuclear permanent member of that Council.

Most European countries do not have nuclear weapons, and nor does Canada, Australia or New Zealand. Are these therefore in greater danger? On the contrary, the London bombings of 7th July 2005 were attacks on a country with nuclear weapons, while the attacks of 11th September 2001 were against a country with by far the largest nuclear arsenal in the world. The only "nuclear power" in the Middle East is Israel; is Israel the most secure state in the Middle East?

It is mind-boggling to hear people go on about Iran, whose President is in any case on the way out, is in any case many years away from acquiring a nuclear weapon, and in any case only wants one (if he does, and see above about Islam) to use against the only Middle Eastern country that already has them. What does any of this have to do with us?

A new nuclear weapons programme could only be commissioned on grounds purely ideological in the most irrational and doctrinaire sense of the word.

Nor would any such programme represent or effect national pride or independence, but rather the wholesale subjugation of Britain's defence capability to a foreign power (however friendly). That power maintains at least no less friendly relations with numerous other countries, of which almost none have nuclear weapons.

Diverting enormous sums of money towards public services, and towards the relief of poverty at home and abroad, precisely by reasserting control over our own defence capability, would represent a most significant step towards One Nation politics, with an equal emphasis on the One and on the Nation.

Voyager said...

in defence but the electors have woken up to the fact that terrorism is the biggest threat now

Bullshit. Terrorism is being hyped up because the Americans got to experience it first hand.

It was far worse in the 1970s when the Bundeskanzleramt in Bonn had sandbags around and armoured cars on the streets, and GSG-9 troops were patrolling Siemens HQ in Wittelsbacherplatz.

When Juergen Ponto, Hanns-Martin Schleyer, Bubach, Alfred Herrhausen, Rohwedder, were murdered by Baader-Meinhof terrorists - or marcus Sieff was shot in his home in London by Ilyich Ramirez Sanchez aka Carlos.


Not to mention the Red Brigades in italy murdering Aldo Moro.

Terrorism today is nothing compared to the 1970s save that the US is doing the scriptwriting and a typical hyperbolic storyline.

People forget the Munich Massacre at The Olympics; hi-jacking of BOAC aircraft to the Lebanon desert, TWA hi-jackings, massacres at Lod, Athens, Rome Airports; the terrorism in Japan.

No because the Americans have experienced a bit of terrorism the world has to believe it is Apocalyse Now whereas when European states were really under threat in the 1970s the Americans paid no attention

Observer said...

As for nuclear boats - France has ordered hers from DCN - Le Redoubtable was ordered by Chirac about 8 weeks ago and the new missiles are being test-fired at present.

Cato, author of www.toryheaven.com said...

New Labour wants to cut our Navy in half, and now it seems scores of their back bench MPs want to deprive us of our nuclear capaicty too. Did these cretins learn nothing from our defeat of the Soviet Union through strength not weakness?
(http://toryheaven.blogspot.com/2007/03/strong-defence-of-realm.html)

David Lindsay said...

Britain "does however need a nuclear option," writes Anonymous 9:13. She certainly does: Russia has an ever-tighter stanglehold on our energy, which could be turned off at any moment if that country's President so determined.

Even more than Arab oil, Russian gas demands that, along with the application of clean coal technology, we develop the real nuclear deterrent: nuclear power, and plenty of it. This would provide high-skill, high-wage, high-status jobs as well as safeguarding national independence: once again, a One Nation policy, with an equal emphasis on the One and on the Nation.

All in all, a rather better use of the money, I feel.

Anonymous said...

This is being rushed through so that Blair can add a notch onto the legacy belt. The lifetime of the subs can be extended. A decision is not really needed till 2010 or so. It's very distasteful that the nation's defence is being conducted to suit one man's ego.

Anonymous said...

I think the tories could make Labour wobble a bit here. Table an amendment, saying a decision is not needed this Parliament (the recent select committee report suggests we are reviewing the decision far too early). This would unite a lot of Tories, LDs and Labour and defeat the Govt!

Chuck Unsworth said...

Iain,

Defence of the nation is one thing, handing over the design, build, operation and control of 'our' nuclear deterrent to America and the Americans is quite another.

There's no evidence that the operational life of Trident cannot be considerably extended. That is exactly what the Americans have already done.

If we are serious about defending the nation there are many other things we can and should be spending our money on. It might even be more sensible to develop our own concepts of weaponry and delivery systems.

Take a very close look at the history of nuclear armaments and the Cold War. Frankly our dependence on others (i.e. the USA) is terrifying.

Voyager said...

Defence of the nation is one thing, handing over the design, build, operation and control of 'our' nuclear deterrent to America and the Americans is quite another.

Do you understand what you write ?

WE build the boats to our specs in our yards.

We design the warheads at Aldermaston.

We pool the missiles in Connecticut and draw from common stockpiles

We are members of NATO and our submarines are on station in coordination with French subs and within NATO command structures.

http://www.dcn.fr/us/offre/sous-marins/triomphant.html

http://www.learnworld.com/ZNW/LWGraf.NuclearDesigns.html

http://www.cdi.org/issues/nukef&f/database/frnukes.html

The French Navy hopes to operate a force of four SSBNs, as with the Royal Navy's Vanguard fleet.

* Le Triomphant : Construction began on 9 June 1989; she was launched on 26 March 1994, and entered active service on 21 March 1997.

* Le Téméraire : Construction began on 18 December 1993; she was launched on 21 January 1998, and entered active service on 23 December 1999.

* Le Vigilant : Construction began in 1997; she was launched in 2003, and entered active service in 2004.

* Le Terrible : Construction began on 24 October 2000 and she is currently under construction. She is expected to enter active service by 2008.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FOST

Voyager said...

There's no evidence that the operational life of Trident cannot be considerably extended. That is exactly what the Americans have already done.

We are talking of building SUBMARINES to put them in - that is all this debate is aboit - SUBMARINES not missiles

Voyager said...

Vanguard

All we are talking about is replacing submarines which will be 27 years old when we need to replace them

Neil Craig said...

Trident is not only a very inflexible option (it can deliver big Bombs onto cities but is not much for smaller or hardened ie military targets) but also a high maintenance one. Thus the argument that we need to keep it going in case something turns up in 20 years lacks credibility.

If we feel we actually need nukes for that we would have more options & it would cost less to start designing some remotely piloted missile or other delivery system to be ready then. A "threat" which appears in 20 years time will have new weapons while we will still be preparing for the last war.

Miles said...

Billions of pounds for a weapon that will never be used.
Great work by the arms dealers.
For details of anti-trident protests in Manchester visit:
action-without-theory

DiscoveredJoys said...

All this debate about whether or not to replace the city killer nuclear arsenal... if we did under what circumstances could we use them?

A devastating terrorist attack on (say) London - how could we identify and justifiably bomb another state's capital containing millions of innocent people?

Russia cuts off our gas supplies - we bomb Moscow (I don't think so)?

The Scottish Parliament breaks the Union - we bomb Edinburgh (don't be daft)?

The USA is taken over by religious fundamentalist nuts? We haven't bombed them yet, and I suspect the missiles couldn't be launched against the USA anyway.

By all means agree in principle to renew our arsenal (to maintain our prestige in the short term) then scale the program back to tactical cruise missiles and reap a second political and financial peace dividend.

Spend this money on nuclear power and alternative power generation, and be insufferably smug about giving up the big boms at the same time.

Emily said...

"Always nice to see Labour MPs reverting to type and playing fast and loose with the defence of the nation, isn't it?"

Oh yes it's very patriotic to pay Americans for new subs we don't need because we can extend the lifetime of the current subs much more cheaply. It's also very good for the defence of the nation to be completely reliant on the US, who will be able to switch off satellite mechanisms required to launch any missile, if God forbid, we ever wanted to use one.

This is a sell-out deal that is not only unpatriotic but again a brazen fleecing of taxpayers' money.

I cannot believe the supine Tories are going to allow this appalling government the chance to wreck the country further. Just shows that they are not yet electable, and I was coming round to the idea. No more....

Voyager said...

Oh yes it's very patriotic to pay Americans for new subs we don't need because we can extend the lifetime of the current subs much more cheaply.

How mentally deficient can someone be as to write such drivel ?

You cannot extend the life of submarines ? How many decades do the pressure plates hold ?

How ancient do you want reactors to be ? The current fleet runs on 1980s reactors and you want to run them for another 40 years in submarines 60 years old ?

That is criminal lunacy.

Why the objection to BAE workers having jobs in Barrow ? They build the submarines which are very different from US boats - they are built at the Electric Boat Yard in CT


The French boats are built by DCN

The Indians are buying their boats from Russia which building new submarines and testing new missiles

Until Britain fully integrates into the EU and submits to French leadership in all matters economic and military it would be stupid to leave the UN Security Council for the General Assembly

Voyager said...

& it would cost less to start designing some remotely piloted missile or other delivery system to be ready then.

No it would not.

It would need either land-based silos or building a new long-range bomber like a B1 or B52. We no longer have Vulcans and lack long-range bombers.

So you want us to rebuild a whole new delivery system ? That would be costly - new long-range bombers, new airbases, probably ask Germany or Poland to host a nuclear bomber squadron or two.

France has both nuclear-bombers and submarines

Maybe we should develop a second system anyway - build new submarines AND long-range bombers

Carl Eve said...

"a rag tag terror group like Al Quaida"

ah, so something like Trident would help us combat rag tag terror groups then Iain?

1) aim Trident at whom and where?

It's not like anyone's been very good at sorting out Al Quaida over the past SIX years - and we've got the nukes still in the bays to prove it.

Trident is a waste. It was a waste then, it's a waste now, it'll be a waste in the future.

I've no problem with a portion of the money being spent on our armed forces, along with the usual schools, hospitals, social care, etc, but to blow billions and billions on a US manufactured, repaired and designed weapon which no British PM would ever fire without they agreement of the US president - it's just mental on a scale not seen since Chemical Ali said the tanks were not at Baghdad airport or Margaret decided Royal Navy icebreakers weren't needed down in the Falklands because the Argies would never be so bold as to invade...

mordonian said...

Is 'Blur' pushing for this because his mate in the White House wants him to I wonder?