It’s generally considered nowadays, that when it comes to nuclear weapons, less is more. However it seems that Britain wants to go back to the dark days of the Cold War with its decision to reinvest in its nuclear arsenal. The controversial program has been given a resounding vote of support by Westminster. The result- 472 votes to 117 in favour, includes backing the plan to replace the existing submarine fleet carrying the missiles with four new submarines.

The cost of this 60s style military posturing? A staggering £31 billion, with a £10bn contingency fund also set aside for who knows what. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn declared that he would oppose the motion but as with all of his calls, it fell on deaf ears within his party.

It’s only  a few weeks ago when it seemed that there was a hint that Scotland might be searching for a compromise with regards to EU membership within the United Kingdom but looking at the rejection vote by Scottish MP’s -58 of Scotland’s 59 MPs voted against Trident renewal with Scottish Tory MP, David Mundell, being the sole supporter, it now looks inevitable that we may see further widening of the gap between Scotland and the rest of the UK. Angus Robertson, the SNP’s Westminster leader was applauded by his supporters and colleagues after his speech, in which he called this decision “immoral, obscene and redundant”. He went on to say: “If Scotland is a nation, and Scotland is a nation, it is not a normal situation for the state to totally disregard the wishes of the people, and this government has a democratic deficit in Scotland, and with today’s vote on Trident it’s going to get worse, not better. It will be for the Scottish people to determine whether we are properly protected in Europe and better represented by a government that we actually elect – at this rate, that day is fast approaching.”

From a neighbouring point of view, any upgrade of Britain’s nuclear weapons cache is something that Irish people are not too happy to see. By virtue of its vicinity, Ireland is just as much a target should the unthinkable happen. And while mutual assured destruction (MAD) is less of a threat than it was during the height of the cold war era, it is nevertheless, a threat; and an unnecessary one at that too. And what of the EU? How does this vote look to the citizens of Europe when they see that Britain is rearming itself? Is the recent reception that greeted the French leaders in Nice an indication that the European public do not feel that they are being properly protected?

The aftermath of Brexit revealed that the NHS was not going to get that extra funding. Has that cash gone into a 21st century folly that has no effect on the real threats to the west? How can you use a nuclear submarine against a few lunatics armed with nothing but a truck?

Ken Sweeney
Committed to idea of supporting aspiring writers and journalists. Serial podcaster.

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    1 Comment

    1. It shows my age, however I was very young then, but in 1962 I went to a CND march in London with my father who was in a war veterans against war group. I still have my original CND badge from probably 1964. That so much was done to point out the folly of nuclear weapons back then but that now it is often no more than rhetoric by a few people is depressing. We are now in the age of cyber warfare. If it ever happens, then that would be round one until the satellites controlling the cyber networks and carrying weapons we possible know nothing about down here are neutralised, to be followed by conventional warfare, then phases of WMDs such as biological weapons, with nuclear as the final option, all I can say is we appear to have come a very long, money drinking way toward self-destruction since the 1960s. The UK rearming itself is not quite accurate, the Scots want nuclear weapons out of their country by a sizeable majority, not just as the MP vote explained by Ken but in terms of public opinion, but Westminster stands firm on keeping ageing weaponry such as Trident there, so from Ireland’s point of view, as ever the potentially hostile nation next door is as ever overshadowing them. Europe, apart from France at least, has the potential to have nukes, in partnerships rather than as individual nations perhaps, but has refrained from doing so. So they are stuck with a neighbour holding them. Now to even propose to spend more money when there are apparently 14 million people stuck in a poverty trap of whom 4.5 million are children, the formerly exemplary NHS is being allowed, even encouraged, to fall apart, social housing and homelessness are two poles of a single disgrace and other services are in an abysmal state yet money is being chucked at something that if ever used would attract the mass destruction of the island of Great Britain and do more or less frontline damage to its neighbours. The UK is beneath all decency in its selfish political beatitudes that do not even give a damn for its own people and would be willing to contribute to destroying much of our world. That what was once considered a country that led on democratic principles is now so beneath contempt shows why it is becoming a pariah state internationally and that is without Brexit.

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