A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Brown shows he's sound on Trident

Excellent news - Gordon Brown has put his cards on the table as a supporter of replacing the UK's Trident strategic nuclear deterrent for the long term - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/5103764.stm

This is massively important not just as an issue in its own right - we need a deterrent more than ever in a dangerous and volatile world where some fairly unpleasant regimes have access to both WMD and missile technology - it's also a very important signal that Brown, if he is the next PM, will be solid on defence and security issues and not allow any slippage back to the CND inspired policies that lost Labour elections in the '80s.

Well done Gordon.


Blogger A soft socialist said...

Thankfully the CND don't really exist anymore. My only complaint with trident is that it is too expensive. One thinks that labour comrades in SBL won't be too happy!

8:10 pm, June 21, 2006

Blogger El Tom said...

Oh, you'd be surprised. I think the viability of renewing our nuclear weapons is a cost/benefit issues. On one hand, we could be spending the (huge amount) of money we would spend on social goods instead: it would pay for a free education for all for ten years, or make massive improvements in health, law and order, education etc etc etc.

Also, why are the current generation obsolete? And would this be legal?

On the other hand, I give you North Korea.

Tough act to balance.

11:52 pm, June 21, 2006

Anonymous Andrea said...

"Thankfully the CND don't really exist anymore."

well, sorry to disappoint you, but it still exists!


And a Labour section (chaired by Jeremy Corbyn, I think) also exists:

1:51 pm, June 22, 2006

Blogger A soft socialist said...

Whens the last time you heard for them or they had any influence. They are tainted by their association with Bennism and the 1983 elecion.

10:52 pm, June 22, 2006

Anonymous Andrea said...

Irene, the last time I've heard of them?
In today's Times (I think in the piece about Clare Short's outrage...but I've to check to be sure).
The last that they've influence? before I was born, probably.

11:50 pm, June 22, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

ops, Adele, not Irene...sorry.

11:51 pm, June 22, 2006

Blogger El Tom said...

I can't believe this is still under debate.

In the words of Nye Bevan, 'We need that thing, over here, however much it costs... with a bloody unoin jack on the top'.

well. can't say I commit to the cost part, but the rest still stands.

in fact, we should be making em ourselves.

12:52 am, June 23, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Tom - in answer to your question the current generation isn't obsolete for another 20 years - it comes out of service in 2024 - it takes a very long time to procure, design and build something so complex - you are not just buying missiles and warheads but the submarines to carry them round in too.

9:40 am, June 23, 2006

Blogger A soft socialist said...

You only hear from the CND when they are having one of their trotty outbursts. They don't seem to do much that is constructive and are made up of about a million front organisations.

10:38 am, June 23, 2006

Anonymous Dan said...

The bit I don't understand is who exactly is going to be deterred by a British nuclear deterrent. I can't see any plausible scenario in which it would make the slightest bit of difference to the thinking of any dictator or terrorist or whatever - they'd be more worried in any case about the response from the Americans and/or Israelis (who do have a strong case for maintaining a nuclear deterrent).

Dan xxx

5:52 pm, June 23, 2006

Blogger A soft socialist said...

Nuclear weapons have stopped so many wars since the cold war.

Also if we go back to CND inspired policies then we will be in opposition for a very long time.

11:11 pm, June 23, 2006

Anonymous Dan said...

I can't think of a single instance of a conflict which has been prevented since 1991 by the UK's nuclear deterrent. Which examples were you thinking of?

Spending £25 billion on something which no one sane would ever want to use and which wouldn't credibly deter any threat strikes me as an extremely expensive way of persuading people that Labour is strong on defence, and not a brilliantly clever election strategy.

Take care

Dan xxx

12:39 am, June 24, 2006

Blogger Welsh Spin said...

el tom,

I think you will find that it was Ernie BevIn, not Nye BevAn who said that ...

12:55 pm, June 24, 2006

Blogger El Tom said...

ah, sorry. I can't see why this is a left-right issue.

I think we should be building the bloody things ourselves.

3:52 pm, June 26, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

The problem is that there are other probably insane people that do need dettering and are getting the kit, for instance: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/5099360.stm

2:31 pm, June 27, 2006

Anonymous Dan said...

"The problem is that there are other probably insane people that do need dettering"

Is it really credible that Kim Jong-Il or his successors would be more likely to invade South Korea or try to launch a nuclear weapon at the USA if the UK don't renew Trident? Surely they would be more worried about the American nuclear deterrent? Which possible regime would be deterred specifically by an independent British nuclear deterrent?

Dan xxx

8:01 pm, June 27, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Who knows what regimes will exist in 20 years time when Trident needs replacing. Better to have it in case than to not anticipate a future threat. 20 years before 1939 no one would have predicted the Nazis emerging as a threat.

2:23 pm, June 28, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"you are not just buying missiles and warheads but the submarines to carry them round in too."

So why is Barrow/Walney Island busy building a new generation of subs, if we don't know what we are getting in 20 years time?

And in which direction, Mr Clever Clogs, would you point these bloody things?

And how would you deal with the retaliation?

You have no more moral fibre than the pushers trying to hook young kids onto smack.

5:47 pm, June 28, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Barrow isn't building subs for a Trident replacement. They are building Astute class attack submarines which are for firing torpedoes at ships and I think for conventional cruise missiles and can't carry ICBMs like Trident because they are too small. I was under the impression that the current Trident was not "pointed at" i.e. targeted at any one specific.

4:02 pm, June 29, 2006

Anonymous Tim said...

Hello Luke,

I think the the "no-one knows" argument is a nonsense. I, for example, do not oppose the existence of nuclear deterrents per se in this world, and agree with Dan about (for example) the argument for the American deterrent. But you say:

Better to have it in case than to not anticipate a future threat. 20 years before 1939 no one would have predicted the Nazis emerging as a threat.

Do you honestly believe any of the following:

(i) that the primary military forces responsible for the liberation of Europe, east Asia and the western Pacific were those of the United Kingdom;
(ii) that in the event of the emergence of a comparably threatening country, their primary target will be the United Kingdom rather than, say, the United States of America?

(iii) that in the event of the emergence of a comparably threatening country, the defeat of that regime will be assured by the existence of the British nuclear deterrent, rather than, say, the American nuclear deterrent?

(iv) that the primary security threats to the safety from direct attack of the people of the United Kingdom come from states run by rational governments like the USSR rather than from (a) stateless individuals and organizations, or (b) states so far from the UK that the UK would be most unlikely to be a target for attack (North Korea? I think they might nuke Alaska before they worry about Glasgow) and even if it were a target the delivery equipment would not be available (Pyongyang is a very long way away).

I'm a multilateralist by inclination. There was a strong argument for Britain not getting rid of its nuclear weapons unilaterally during the Cold War, but the threats we face now are from bearded lunatics with briefcases full of U-235 and no state to call home.

Against them, deterrence is meaningless, and there are no states left against whom
our deterrent materially enhances the defence of either ourselves or of the West more broadly. It's time to bin the Bomb.

12:07 am, July 03, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

I can think of one very large, very rational state that already has a large nuclear arsenal and whose strategic interests may conflict with ours by 2024. Why would the US be prepared to use their deterrent to protect us if we can't be bothered to come up with the funds to even make a minimal contribution to the west's nuclear arsenal? If nuclear deterrence doesn't work why are the French so keen to keep their's?

12:12 pm, July 03, 2006

Anonymous Tim said...

If nuclear deterrence doesn't work why are the French so keen to keep their's?

Because they have it for domestic and imperial political reasons and their determination to be a puissance mondiale moyenne, would seem the obvious answer there. What makes you think ours is actually there for military reasons rather than, say, to bolster our claim to stay on the Security Council or because no-one can be bothered to make the argument that it's a waste of money?

10:10 pm, July 03, 2006

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7:03 am, June 28, 2007


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