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UK’s Tories well aware that the Trident nuclear deterrent is unnecessary, and a waste of money

The Tories know Trident is a waste of money and only they can kill it off, Guardian, Chris Mullin, 15 July 17  Our nuclear deterrent is purely symbolic but Labour would never be forgiven for letting it go. A
few days from now parliament will be asked to make a final decision on whether or not to spend around £40bn renewing Trident. Many of the Labour MPs arguing in favour do so not because they regard nuclear weapons as an essential tool in our armoury, but because they are terrified of being thought “soft” on defence. And they are right to be worried. For years the British addiction to nuclear armaments has proved a devastating weapon in the hands of the Conservatives and their friends in the tabloid media, even if they are not much use against our enemies.

 And yet just about anyone who has ever given the matter any thought knows it’s bonkers. Most Tories know in their heart of hearts that Trident is of little or no relevance to national defence in the 21st century. So, too, do a fair swath of the military. Indeed, our possession of nuclear weapons was never primarily about defending us from the Russians. On the contrary, it made us a target……….
None of this, if course, cuts any ice with our hysterical tabloids or our political masters. Trident might not prove much use against the Russians, but it is a valuable – if rather expensive – stick with which to beat the government’s political opponents. In the past the Labour party has been deeply damaged by the – false – allegation that it would leave the country defenceless and understandably most Labour MPs have no desire to repeat the experience. Paradoxically, the opposite is true. Dispensing with Trident would enable badly needed investment in our conventional forces. Something many senior Tories and members of the military establishment are only too well aware of.

For Labour the only way out of the current dilemma is to allow its MPs a free vote and then forget about it. The stark political reality is that only a Tory government could phase out our nuclear arsenal. The case for doing so is not difficult to argue, if only they could bring themselves to forgo the short-term political advantages of pro-Trident posturing and address the long-term national interest. Were they to do so, it would be a five-minute wonder and then quietly forgotten. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jul/14/tories-trident-waste-money-nuclear-deterrent-symbolic-labour

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July 17, 2017 - Posted by | general

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