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And maybe we could accept our duty to share a financial and moral burden with the United States by keeping our nuclear capacity in date and fully operational.

It makes sense to have a small number of nukes. It makes no sense to have enough to obliterate life on the planet. A couple of hundred thermo-nuclear weapons should be enough to deter rogue states, if they can be deterred. It is worth remembering that there is a huge difference between an A bomb and an H bomb. Developing an H bomb is much harder than developing an A bomb and is probably outside the competence of most likely renegade groups.

There are of course many different perspectives on how to deal with nuclear weapons. For the most part these, even the most naive, are well intentioned. However the reality is that we can't eradicate nuclear weapons because we can never eradicate the knowledge of how to produce such arms.

Ultimately the only realistic way to manage the nuclear issue is through strict limits on proliferation and incentives to stop the spread of nuclear weapon technology.

Nuclear weapons are costly and we can quite understand that people would prefer to spend the money on other things. However, a nuclear deterrant does its job and is worth every penny spent on it if it never has to be used. This may seem a crazy logic, but its a logic that works and has prevented world wars since 1945.

There were many occasions in which the West and the Soviet union could have lapsed into war had it not been for the nuclear deterrant. Mutually assured destruction, or MAD, as it is coined, carries with it anything but a mad logic, it is a guarantee of peace, albeit at times a hard fought peace.

Barak Obama, like the CND and peace activists around the world is well intentioned, but so were hawkish politicians like Thatcher and Reagan. We all want peace, its just a question of how best to maintain that peace.

"It is worth remembering that there is a huge difference between an A bomb and an H bomb. Developing an H bomb is much harder than developing an A bomb and is probably outside the competence of most likely renegade groups."

In fact even building an A-bomb is a massive undertaking. We are far more likely to be the victim of a dirty bomb. As there are plenty of sources of nuclear material to be found around the world. In this respect an old medical scanner or other peaceful use of Nuclear material could be turned into a very nasty weapon indeed. Do we currently know the were abouts of every device that has been manufactured and could be used in this way? As for our Nuclear Arsenal a score of H-bombs and maybe 50 smaller tactical devices is more than enough to put all but the most barking mad dictator off. A world free of Atom and Hydrogen Bombs, is certainly desirable but its very unlikely to happen in the next few years. So far the Nuclear deterrent has saved lives and has certainly stopped nations like the old USSR going to war with NATO members. We should continue to have a working and up to date Nuclear Arsenal, and we really do need our own as the US is just too unstable in the long term.We have a moral duty to protect ourselves not sponge off the US.

We simply cannot afford Trident. We can afford 50 to 100 cruise missiles.

Far from representing or effecting national pride or independence, our nuclear weapons programme has only ever represented and effected the wholesale subjugation of Britain's defence capability to a foreign power. That power maintains at least no less friendly relations with numerous other countries, almost none of which have nuclear weapons.

Nuclear weapons (like radiological, chemical and biological weapons) are morally repugnant simply in themselves. They offer not the slightest defence against a range of loosely-knit, if at all connected, terrorist organisations pursuing a range of loosely-knit, if at all connected, aims in relation to a range of countries while actually governing no state. Where would any such organisation keep nuclear weapons in the first place?

Furthermore, the possession of nuclear weapons serves to convey to terrorists and their supporters that Britain wishes to "play with the big boys", thereby contributing to making Britain a target for the terrorist activity against which such weapons are defensively useless. It is high time for Britain to grow up.

Britain's permanent seat on the UN Security Council could not be taken away without British consent, and so does not depend in any way on her possession of nuclear weapons; on the contrary, the world needs and deserves a non-nuclear permanent member of that Council.

Most European countries do not have nuclear weapons, and nor does Canada, Australia or New Zealand. Are these therefore in greater danger? On the contrary, the London bombings of 7th July 2005 were attacks on a country with nuclear weapons, while the attacks of 11th September 2001 were against the country with by far the largest nuclear arsenal in the world. The only "nuclear power" in the Middle East is Israel. Is Israel the most secure state in the Middle East?

It is mind-boggling to hear people go on about Iran, whose President is in any case many years away from acquiring a nuclear weapon, and in any case only wants one (if he does) to use against the only Middle Eastern country that already has them. What does any of this have to do with us?

The Campaign for Democratic Socialism explicitly supported the unilateral renunciation of Britain's nuclear weapons, and the document 'Policy for Peace', on which Gaitskell eventually won his battle at the 1961 Labour Conference, stated: "Britain should cease the attempt to remain an independent nuclear power, since that neither strengthens the alliance, nor is it now a sensible use of our limited resources."

Unilateral nuclear disarmament did not cause the secession of the SDP, since it did not become Labour Party policy until two years and a General Election after that direct intervention in the British electoral process by a President of the European Commission as such, a true betrayal of Gaitskell, Bevan, Bevin, Attlee, the lot.

For that matter, numerous Tories with relevant experience – Anthony Head, Peter Thorneycroft, Nigel Birch, Aubrey Jones – were sceptical about, or downright hostile towards, British nuclear weapons in the Fifties and Sixties. In March 1964, while First Lord of the Admiralty and thus responsible for Polaris, George Jellicoe suggested that Britain might pool her nuclear deterrent with the rest of NATO. Enoch Powell denounced the whole thing as not just anything but independent in practice, but also immoral in principle.

Diverting enormous sums of money towards public services, and towards the relief of poverty at home and abroad, precisely by reasserting control over our own defence capability, would represent a most significant step towards One Nation politics, with an equal emphasis on the One and on the Nation.

It would be, 'ironic in the extreme' if it was the Tory Party that ended the pretence of the UK's independent deterrent by cancelling Trident.

Those two aircraft carriers, could be candidates for the chop as well.

If the choice is between Trident and maintaining a decent standard of living for our disabled then I hope the government (whatever type) has the moral strength to cancel trident. Modern cruise missiles launched from ships are maybe a bit of a cutback but still send the right message to our potential enemies.

I have never heard such idealistic tosh in my life. Even if it were practical, the policy is madness and it isn't even vaguely practical.
Nuclear weapons kept the peace of Europe for 50 yrs during the cold war. They are much cheaper than the alternatively necessary standing army would be. They are much more certain as a deterrent. If we agree to use them only in retaliation then there is not even any moral case against them. We are not bullying, we are refusing to be bullied.
How are we ever going to pull out of the EU, if we give up nuclear weapons? As they said in Yes Minister, the independent deterrent was never against Russia, it is against France and the USA.
This is the politics of the Sunday School. A small, neat, well-meaning mind, disapproving and earnest.

"If the choice is between Trident and maintaining a decent standard of living for our disabled......"

But that isn't the choice.

Incidently, trident costs LESS THAN HALF what the Department of Culture Media and Sport costs.

Our nuclear weapons should be truly British, and the costs need to be strictly controlled. Times are hard.

I don't want American nuclear weapons (including those which are dependant on them for use) in my country.

My understanding is that David Cameron has supported Trident and that support will not change. I agree with him; it would be mad to do away with the ultimate deterrent. Its cost is minimal when compared with the money we are about to throw at the impossible task of trying to control the climate - now that is a project that should be scrapped.

Sir Malcolm:


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