Labour split on defence grows as Maria Eagle criticises Corbyn over Trident
The "row" within the labour party, as the hysterical media report it, or the debate as it actually is (and as sensible people describe it), surrounding the question of nuclear weapons and “deterrence” has been going on for decades. Since the 1945 in fact, when the sights and sounds of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were still fresh in the mind as recent memory or for some, actual experience, the abhorrence and revulsion at the thought that any civilised nation could employ weapons of mass destruction against the civilian population of another country has for many, been too awful to contemplate. The debate has moved on since then, through the CND days of the 1950's, the Aldermaston March and all that, through the 1960' and the Cuban missile crisis and right up to the present day through Gaitskell and his “Fight, fight and fight again” speech, Wilson, Foot, Blair (who would go to war with anybody and would probably be enough of a megalomaniac to “press the button” if someone criticised his aftershave). There are passionate, sincere and deeply held beliefs and opinions on both sides of the argument.
Today however, and for some decades past, there has been the added complication of the United States of America with their neoconservative foreign policy and the myth of the “Special relationship” which successive British governments still believes to be in place, even though Washington has repeatedly indicated that such arrangements exist only in the minds of some British politicians. The so called United Kingdom “Independent Nuclear Deterrent” arises from the terms of the 1963 Polaris Sales Agreement which was modified in 1982 for Trident, supplied from the United States by Lockheed Martin Space Systems. The main economic beneficiaries of this arrangement are and always will be the Americans.
|HMS Victorious. not an "independent" deterrent.|
There are two fundamental flaws with retaining a “nuclear capability” in this country.
Firstly, the concept of MAD (mutually assured destruction) is based on the naïve notion that in the 4minutes (maximum) time warning that would be available, there would be sufficient opportunity to verify that (a) an attack was taking place, (b) who was the aggressor launching such an attack and (b) that it was able to retaliate, and therein lies the second fundamental flaw.
The United Kingdom “Independent Nuclear Deterrent” is neither independent nor does it deter.
Before any retaliatory strike can be carried out by this country using our Trident missiles, it is a known but not widely reported fact, that permission has to be obtained from the President at the time of the United States of America. Only with this permission will the “launch codes” for the warheads be released by the United States Department of Defence, to make our warheads live and able to function. Until such time as these codes are programmed into the missiles, the warheads are nothing more than a few circuits and wires encased in metal and sitting on top of some plutonium or uranium pods. What if the Americans refused to release the codes?
All in all, the United Kingdom's “Independent Nuclear Deterrent” is nothing more than a National Status symbol and an incredibly expensive status symbol at that.
The £billions to be spent on replacing this military white elephant, would be better allocated to building homes or schools or hospitals or a combination of all three. With the amount to be spent on Trident replacements we could certainly afford it.
The debate on nuclear disarmament both within the Labour party and around the country generally will continue as the media stoke the controversy with its mischievous “reporting”. It is a debate which has been around for decades. It is not a new phenomenon, even though the media will encourage the idea that it is a new split within the Labour party.