Trident- recent postings 2006-2007
January 9 2007 ~ ~ "a solid consensus for reversing reliance on nuclear weapons globally" It may be remembered that Dr Hans Blix warned in November that the decision to press ahead with a full replacement for Trident would make it more difficult to stop Iran acquiring the bomb. Now we read that four former senior US defence officials, including Henry Kissinger, have called for urgent and concerted action to rid the world of nuclear weapons. In the Wall Street Journal, they call for "a solid consensus for reversing reliance on nuclear weapons globally as a vital contribution to preventing their proliferation into potentially dangerous hands, and ultimately ending them as a threat to the world."
January 9 2007 ~ ~ Trident Peace Protest at Faslane - police remove politicians for "breaching the peace".... Scottish National Party deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon MSP and Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) leader Colin Fox, SNP MSPs. Carolyn Leckie, Rosie Kane and Frances Curran and Green MEP Caroline Lucas, Leanne Wood (Plaid Cymru) and Dutch Socialist MP Krista Van Velzen were arrested when taking part in a blockade of the entrance to the Scottish Trident nuclear submarine base in Faslane. Jill Evans, the deputy president of Plaid Cymru was also detained. She said, ".....The Labour government has to make a decision on the future of Trident. This is the opportunity to honour the commitment made by Britain 35 years ago in the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty to disarm its nuclear weapons. In financial, environmental and security terms, the costs are too high."
Caroline Lucas said,
"The irony is extraordinary," she said. "I have been arrested for breaching the peace when I am peacefully trying to draw attention to the immoral, illegal and counterproductive breach of the peace which is Britain's Trident nuclear weapons system."More information from Google Search
December 9 2006 ~ Trident "sickening opportunism from many who should know better" Guardian article "... A CID officer asked to be let into her cell to shake her hand to show his respect for the Hawk action. ...
....Democracy in the Labour party has all but been destroyed by Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and sickening opportunism from many who should know better. The response of the Lib Dems has been pathetic. Civil disobedience is the only way to give voice to the majority of people who want the UK to champion, not undermine, the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, and who want the billions being sunk in the Clyde to be spent on ending the poverty that feeds violent conflict. .... "
December 4 2006 ~ Trident - promised reduction unlikely to appease Guardian
"....Ministers have rejected claims Britain no longer needs nuclear weapons to deter a potential enemy and have embraced the "insurance policy" argument that it is impossible to predict the shape of threats in 20 years. The promised reduction in Trident, whose warheads will have been halved from 300 since 1997 when Labour came to power, is unlikely to appease critics of nuclear weapons or MPs in all parties who challenge Downing Street's view that Trident must not only be renewed, but that a decision is urgent.
With a public debate and then a Commons vote in February set to follow the white paper, ministers hope they will win the vote comfortably. But they accept they will need Conservative support to push it through..."
November 30 2006 ~ Trident - Government's position decided before the consultation exercise A White Paper is expected before Christmas. MPs will vote after a " three-month consultation exercise" - but Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have already signalled their support for building a "son of Trident" submarine-based system, which could cost up to £30bn. This is at a time when money to fund hospitals, schools, the environment, proper research and development etc etc is desperately short.
Independent ".... MPs are gearing up for a battle over Britain's independent deterrent. Forty-two MPs have signed a Commons motion calling on ministers to publish all the possible options and their costs to ensure an informed debate.
Another motion attacks the Government for deciding its position before the consultation exercise and deplores moves to deny Labour backbenchers a free vote. Two separate motions, tabled by Labour and Tory MPs, call for at least a year-long discussion before MPs vote..."
November 27 2006 ~"Dr Hans Blix, the former UN weapons inspector, will launch a new attack on Tony Blair today, warning that the decision to press ahead with a full replacement for Trident will make it more difficult to stop Iran acquiring the bomb.....Dr Blix's speech will increase the doubts among those who question the value of a more powerful nuclear weapon with multiple warheads designed to penetrate "hardened" targets, when the foreseeable threat is from rogue states or terrorists. Unlike in the 1980s, there are significant military figures with doubts over the renewal of Trident. " Independent
November 27 2006 ~ calls for cabinet posts to be filled by experts rather than political placemen. The Independent quotes the civil liberties lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, who will deliver the Longford Lecture. He backs demands for a British Bill of Rights and ridicules plans to reform the House of Lords as laughable.
"Blair bangs on about efficiency and effectiveness in business, yet does not question a system where the most complex and difficult business of all (that of running the country) is in the hands of amateurs, who change post every time one of them has an affair. These politicians dabble in some desperately important fields.... the dangers of amateurism become greater as government becomes increasingly driven by the headlines....."
November 24 2006 ~ Trident - MPs will have the chance to debate and vote Independent "....backers of Britain's continuing nuclear arsenal point to the large stocks of weapons still held around the world, and point out that nuclear powers such as China could be a source of future instability, while Russia could become destabilised and pose a renewed threat to the West... "
"....critics claim a British nuclear weapon would be of little use as a deterrent......Renewing Britain's nuclear arsenal would undermine efforts to persuade other nations not to develop them .... A decision to replace Trident could breach international non-proliferation treaties to which Britain is a signatory ..."
The article answers interesting questions in a balanced way
November 23 2006 ~ BAE Systems and Trident. Jack Straw says (See Guardian) "This is about the defence of this country and its people and its future over many decades.
"Speaking to the parliamentary defence committee earlier this month, Murray Easton, head of the submarine division at BAE Systems, warned that a delay could have a "catastrophic" impact on the industry.
(Some might feel that a "catastrophic effect" on the arms industry might be preferable to the potential catastrophic effects caused by the weaponry from which its huge profits are derived.)
More on BAE below
September 2006 ~ Short shrift. To those writing to applaud her statement in the Independent, Clare Short sends the full text
"....... Blair's craven support for the extremism of US neo-conservative foreign policy has exacerbated the danger of terrorism and the instability and suffering of the Middle East. He has dishonoured the UK, undermined the UN and international law and helped to make the world a more dangerous place. The erosion of the rule of laws and civil liberties has weakened our democracy and increased Muslim alienation. Gordon Brown's commitment to a replacement of Trident, in one throwaway sentence, without any discussion of the risks of proliferation or discussion of how UK foreign policy might be improved, is an insult to democracy. The approach of New Labour to public sector reform with a plethora of centralised targets, constant re-organisation and now privatisation, has demeaned the precious value of public services. And in addition to the, arrogance and lack of principle of New Labour, there is an incredible incompetence. Policy is announced from No 10 to grab media attention and nothing is properly thought through.
Cabinet government has gone, the House of Commons - with guillotines on all business - is a weak and ineffective check on the executive, and the rise of the third party means that our electoral system is ever more distorted. The vote in 2005 of 9.54 million was the second lowest Labour vote in post-war Britain. Blair won significantly fewer votes than Callaghan or Wilson. With the support of only 22 per cent of the electorate, we see power ever more concentrated in a Number 10 that consults no-one, engages in deceit over matters of profound importance and is not held to account by Cabinet, parliamentary party or the wider party. The Prime Minister's powers of patronage turn too many MPs into obedient ciphers who await the call to Ministerial office or quiet elders who await the House of Lords. .." read in full