24 September 2009

I'll take the risk

Apparently Brown's idea to reduce the nuclear fleet from four subs to three is unworkable, as we need four to adequately defend Britain

I think I'll take the risk on something that has never been used, and never should be used

[John Hutton] (former defence secretary) added that Britain would 'rue the day' it became vulnerable to blackmail or aggression.
Do you find it a bit odd that John Hutton (who incidentally is the only named critic) is being cited by the Mail as some sort of expert because he was Defence Secretary, when they regard his successor, Bob Ainsworth, as the devil?

Maybe Hutton was a far better candidate with some sort of defence background? Nope he's a lawyer and career politician who held the job for 8 months....

I don't doubt this is a foolish move, but at least bring me a general!

I understand the arguments for 'the deterrent' - but seriously, what does it achieve? It protects us from aggression and blackmail - I guess Germany, Canada, Japan and Australia are all under someone's thumb?

I appreciate that if we gave it up we'd be weakening our defences, we could be bullied by the Yanks, Russians, or Chinese (not the French) if they so wished - but seriously, are we the last line of defence for Europe? It's giving away a very big weapon that makes it look like we could deal with the big boys on our own, but in reality what does it do?

Like I say, I understand the rationale for it - it's very hard to give up and place this sort of capability solely in the hands of other nations, having to trust the US essentially - it's hard, and my ideal preference would be to get all the powers to disarm, I have little fear of anything North Korea decide to send our way, but let's face it - this is all about saving face - we want to think we're independent

But the question remains - how do Germany, Japan etc. survive on relying on other nations - do they even fear the threat? Maybe because I'm now in Australia I can be a bit more reflective - because they certainly don't regard it as an issue - the issue for Britain is not about having them, it's about giving them up

I would say that while I like having an independent deterrent of our own, primarily because I dislike the idea of the yanks having all the cards, if there need to be countries like Britain and France there to maintain the balance for everyone else in the western world then they shouldn't be funding it on their own

If the other countries don't even care about the balance then I think we should become as grown-up as them and ditch the bomb - it's all about ego, because while it 'could' be useful, it's far more likely to result in the end of the world if we start having to use the bloody things - think about it - there's actually a world situation where Britain needs to defend itself with cataclysmic weapons, where it can survive as a nation in a world where probably no-one else would? I think a lot of the world just accept that if they do get used then we're all toast - it's just bravado to keep them

Of course what I really love is that Brown, by taking the middle route, has completely fudged the issue - all he would do is undermine the military capability to save a paltry £2 billion, pleasing absolutely no one

*I must also admit one of my favourite bits was this

There are also concerns about the impact on jobs. Some 15,000 posts are claimed to be connected to the Trident replacement programme. The submarines are likely to be manufactured by BAE at Barrow-in-Furness, a constituency represented by Mr Hutton, with their nuclear engines made by Rolls Royce in Derby. The submarines are maintained and decommissioned in Devonport Dockyard in Plymouth, and operate from Faslane naval base in Scotland. Aldermaston in Berkshire, where the missiles are made, employs 4,000. The weapons programme also supports jobs at the nuclear reactors that create the bomb-making material, including Sellafield.

In my recollection, the government creating non-profit, public-sector jobs (or using financial stimuli) is bad in the Mail 's eyes

Unless it's to make bombs, of course

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