Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, today presented a report to the House of Commons – The United Kingdom’s Future Nuclear Deterrent 2013 Update to Parliament’.
In this report, Hammond restated the British government’s commitment to continuing with the plan to go through the ‘main gate’ of the contract for the second generation of Trident missiles, when the date falls due. Experts say that it is already too late to go back on commitments already made, the final bill for which will be around £100 billion.
This will see the storage and deployment on patrolling submarines of nuclear weapons at Argyll’s Coulport on Loch Long and Faslane on the Gare Loch, the main UK submarine base.
Angus Robertson MP, leader of the SNP group Westminster and his party’s spokesperson on defence, made the points that are patently to be made on the futility and wastefulness of spending on this project.
He noted the anachronistic ‘strategic’ military thinking – still tied to the Cold War.
This is still calibrated on Russia being the major treat to world peace and paying to be prepared to nuke it flat should the need arise.
Peter Sellars’ fabulous characterisation of the unhinged Dr Strangelove [Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb] would have stretched its credibility too far it if, back in 1964, it had projected that the same mindset still ruled our warlords.
Mr Robertson said: ‘The defence needs of the 21st century do not include Cold War era bombs to be dumped on the Clyde for another 50 years . The other Westminster political parties are fellow travellers in this project – with the junior partners in the coalition failing to halt this utter waste of money, and indeed the Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander happy to sign off a billion here and a billion there for his Tory bosses’ desire for nuclear weapons. We do know that the senior Tory MP and Chairman of the Defence Select Committee , James Arbuthnot , has stated that renewing Trident does not ‘provide the certainty it seemed to in the past: it’s a potential booby trap.’ He should be heeded – but Westminster seems hell bent on full steam ahead for Trident.’
Trident is the most senseless, useless and indefensibly expensive folly imaginable.
We will never use it – and if we did we would be a party to triggering armageddon. This is the Samson syndrome – take it all down with you. Nothing could ever justify such as action – if there was anyone left to judge.
Spending the same amount differently on our defence strategy would see it much better shape, task ready and capable of likely deployments – with Faslane and Coulport the centre of a contemporary direction for submarine operations.