Week 45: Hero – Scottish Labour Party

by Jackie_South on November 12, 2015

Scot_trident_heroThis week, the Scottish Labour Party wins our regular hero award for voting to oppose the renewal of Trident

Whilst the national Labour Party chose to avoid a debate on the renewal of Trident at Brighton this year, its increasingly independent Scottish entity took the plunge last week, and chose to vote against renewal.

Labour seems stuck in the headlights of its 1980s defeats in refusing to consider any alternative to just meekly supporting committing to spend up to £100 billion on a new Trident system over its probable 20 year lifetime (this cost includes the capital outlay and ongoing operational costs). That is £5 billion a year: more than the Government planned to save through scrapping tax credits. All for a system that will never be used and offers no realistic deterrent.

If you doubt that, consider that well-worn phrase “independent nuclear deterrent”. In what way is it really independent? The weapon system is built by Lockheed Martin  in the USA, and whilst the Vanguard Trident submarines will be built in Barrow-in-Furness, the missiles can only be installed and maintained in the US Navy facility in Kings Bay, Georgia.

And of course the idea that the UK could ever use its nuclear weapons without the USA’s say-so is laughable.

If it isn’t independent, then it isn’t really a deterrent either. The USA has 4,800 nuclear warheads, the UK 225.

Just chew that over for a moment. Can you think of any country, dictator, rogue state, terrorist organisation – James Bond villain even – that would ever say that they weren’t deterred in any way by the USA’s 4,800 nuclear weapons, but once you make it 5,025 then they would have think again?

Of course not. Once you realise that the UK is not an independent actor with its nuclear arsenal, you have to concede that its nuclear weapons are irrelevant in the mathematics of deterrence. And if it is irrelevant, then you also have to concede that it is an utterly shameful waste of money, not least at a time when spending is being cut so grievously on so much that really is essential.

So, this week the Scottish Labour Party decided to do the sensible thing and vote not to continue with this wasteful project. They agree that £5 billion a year could be spent far more wisely.

So, well done. Let’s hope the rest of the UK party chooses to follow suit soon.

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