Cancelling Trident renewal, an affordable cut?
January 4, 2015 2 Comments
The subject of nuclear weapons has been a tough one for Labour over the years. As a responsible party of government we have had to ensure that the British people are protected, yet our party has many who are ill at ease with the idea of the ultimate deterrent. Many of my friends are supporters or members of CND, some are in Labour CND. A few took part in the Aldermaston marches (in the 1960s).
The idea that having nuclear weapons deters our enemies is, on the face of it, a reasonable one. However, it is damaged somewhat when one considers that most nations do not possess them, even in Europe. A better argument for peace is a united Europe (the peace dividend that is a result of the EU is an underused argument for that institution).
We have been involved in many wars since 1945, and since 1952 when we first acquired our own. Not once have we even been tempted to use nuclear weapons. Nowadays we are told that our enemies are less likely to be rogue and aggressive nations, and more likely to be terrorist organisations – in which case the obvious question would be: who do we bomb?
To be honest I am a little confused. My heart says let’s get rid of the damned things, whilst my head tells me that not only is this going to be unpopular, but it certainly introduces more risk. To add to my confusion I struggle to think of a scenario where I would be prepared to go for the nuclear option – mutually assured destruction is not a desirable conclusion.
One thing is clear, though, and that Trident renewal is damned expensive. This replaces an arsenal that we never used with another that we would not use. In the era of austerity this seems one cut that makes sense. CND say it is an appalling waste, and I agree.
Consider this: cancelling the Trident replacement would save around £100 billion. This could be used in the following ways:
150,000 new homes
Tuition fees for 4 million students
2.5 million affordable homes
Insulation of 15 million homes
2 million jobs
One of the arguments against freely available guns is that eventually someone uses one. There is a reported 16,300 nuclear weapons worldwide, a truly frightening statistic.