Trident - Who Needs It?


We are entering a potentially dangerous time in our history, with North Korea flexing its muscles and Trump swaying between his "America First second and last" policy and instigating unilateral strikes against the "Bad Guys" while the UK turns our back on its neighbours and our prime Minister seeks to emanate the US president with her Britain First approach.

Whilst our NHS and care systems creak under pressure we plan to spend billions on a weapons system that is outdated, ineffective and often out of action. We are told that the UK would not be safe without Trident, but did we get bombed whilst, in the last 18 months, our system was out of order - with two submarines in for standard refit, one damaged and the other having repairs to its electrical system after it missed its targets in a recent training exercise?

 

The Trident system harks back to the Cold War, a time when I remember public Information films about waiting under a table if a bomb was dropped, and stockpiling tinned potatoes and corned beef.  Those days are long gone, the best way to undermine civilisation now would be a strike on our cyber-systems, blocking access to money, data and computers that manage our lives, our skies, our health and financial operations" - and manipulate elections perhaps?

 

The reality of a Third World War will involve far fewer boots on the ground, and more drones, robots and data scrambling. 

 

So why, then, are we throwing money at a nuclear system that we cannot use without the help of the USA and which perpetuates our imagined place in the old world order? Is it that the "powers that be" just cannot face telling the public that we are just a small island, floating between the super-states?

 

Pushing that red button would mean certain destruction for our enemies but for us too....but what if there was no red button to push?  What if we spent that money on the thousands of men and women in our armed forces to give them better equipment, skill them in cybercrime, diplomacy and the real challenges in our world - the mass movement of people from the equatorial regions when climate change accelerates, the horrors of dictators bombing their own people and the need for improved humanitarian input in creating safe zones and decent refugee camps?

 

Where we have led, others will follow and as younger generations enjoy being part of a global family we can look forward to the day when others like France put down their weapons of mass destruction too. There a correlation between age and a positive view of Trident, and I think this renewal will be the last. 

 

The decision this time around has already been taken, it feels like the train has already left the station, but we must make sure that those who don't remember the Cold War speak up about the waste and folly of Trident, and its immediate successor. If a deterrent is necessary then it should be held collectively by NATO not by leaders beholden to the ballot box, swinging precariously every 4-5 years on the momentary whims of a populist leader. 


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