I’ve been away from this blog for a few years now, not because I’ve had nothing to say. I just didn’t think anyone was reading it! I haven’t come back to it now because all of a sudden everybody is interested in what I think, I just want what I’m about to say over the next 28 days to be a matter of public record. So when it all goes Pete Tong three years from now, I can at least say I told you so!
The elections of 2015 started proper today at 16:00 hrs British Summer Time, the last point at which nominations to be a candidate could be submitted, but this morning Michael Fallon of the Conservative Party told us that Ed Milliband would stab us in the back over “the replacement of Trident submarines” in the same way “he stabbed his brother in the back over the leadership of the Labour Party”. By nine o’clock this morning that statement had set the agenda for the days’ debate,
“Should we renew the Nuclear Deterrent?”
There are two things I would like to take issue with, and I will qualify this by saying, I’m no expert but; first, if the Labour Party had had any inkling back in 2010 that the poles prior to this election would have been so close, they would not have put Ed Milliband up as their sacrificial pig. His brother would be the party leader now.
Second, and more importantly is the matter of replacing the nuclear submarine fleet.
The conservatives have pledged to buy four new submarines to carry forward our nuclear capability, Labour (in true party political fashion) have gone one “better” and said they would only buy three! The SNP have declared war on any nation that holds dear the notion of a nuclear capacity, and the Lib Dems went away to think about it!
All day the airwaves have been full of the choice between food banks caused by austerity, or borrowing a further one hundred billion pounds over the next thirty years to pay for new nuclear weapons.
Let’s get this straight once and for all (and remember I qualified this earlier by saying I am no expert), but nobody is talking about buying a new nuclear weapons system! America won’t let us own our own nuclear weapons system. We are half way through a thirty year, boiler plated lease contract, to rent our nuclear weaponry from the USA. Much the same as Israel, Germany, France and Poland. In fact, we are little more than a forward base for America’s Trident Nuclear Strike Capability. No! What we are talking about is our contractual obligation to provide a stable delivery system of our own choosing. In this case submarines.
The four submarines we have left over from the Polaris weapons system are getting a bit worn out, so much so that we have to scavenge bits off the three in dock to keep the other one at sea. Where the confusion arises is the title “Nuclear Submarines”! They are not submarines that have a special nuclear weapons’ capacity, they are submarines that are powered by nuclear reactors. There is a very big difference. If we spend three billion pounds a year for the next thirty years to provide four new nuclear submarines, it will make not a jot of difference of our “nuclear weapons” capability or our expenditure on that capability.
And, with the filibuster of our main party politicians all day, I was starting to think they were not making the distinction between the two, for fear of being found out. But then at four o’clock Nick Clegg came on the radio and said that if the Lib Dems were in charge, they would do the obvious thing and choose a cheaper platform! “Planes for example”... At which point it became obvious to me that the people who are our political masters, know fuck all!
So Nick, here it is! As an ex-squaddie, with a hint of some life experience, let me explain to you why we don’t run around the Brecon Beacons with live rounds loose in your smock pocket, why we don’t carry explosives and detonators in the same Bergen, why we don’t put the triggers in our grenades before we go out on patrol, or prime our mortar rounds before we get to the target. They are ballistic, their nature is to go off when triggered or unexpectedly.
We don’t put America’s Nuclear Weapons in a submarine to prevent them from being detected, or to attempt surprise or to close on our enemies! We put them in submarines because we don’t trust our friends at Aldermaston, so that when we arm the bloody things to fire and they go off in the tube, we will only kill the crew of a submarine.
Now tell me it’s not worth three billion a year for subs that are sea worthy! My only stipulation would be, that they are built in British ship yards, with British apprentices.
09 Apr 2015 22:09