It’s generally considered nowadays, that when it comes to nuclear weapons, less is more. However it seems that Britain wants to go back to the dark days of the Cold War with its decision to reinvest in its nuclear arsenal. The controversial program has been given a resounding vote of support by Westminster. The result- 472 votes to 117 in favour, includes backing the plan to replace the existing submarine fleet carrying the missiles with four new submarines.
The cost of this 60s style military posturing? A staggering £31 billion, with a £10bn contingency fund also set aside for who knows what. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn declared that he would oppose the motion but as with all of his calls, it fell on deaf ears within his party.
It’s only a few weeks ago when it seemed that there was a hint that Scotland might be searching for a compromise with regards to EU membership within the United Kingdom but looking at the rejection vote by Scottish MP’s -58 of Scotland’s 59 MPs voted against Trident renewal with Scottish Tory MP, David Mundell, being the sole supporter, it now looks inevitable that we may see further widening of the gap between Scotland and the rest of the UK. Angus Robertson, the SNP’s Westminster leader was applauded by his supporters and colleagues after his speech, in which he called this decision “immoral, obscene and redundant”. He went on to say: “If Scotland is a nation, and Scotland is a nation, it is not a normal situation for the state to totally disregard the wishes of the people, and this government has a democratic deficit in Scotland, and with today’s vote on Trident it’s going to get worse, not better. It will be for the Scottish people to determine whether we are properly protected in Europe and better represented by a government that we actually elect – at this rate, that day is fast approaching.”
From a neighbouring point of view, any upgrade of Britain’s nuclear weapons cache is something that Irish people are not too happy to see. By virtue of its vicinity, Ireland is just as much a target should the unthinkable happen. And while mutual assured destruction (MAD) is less of a threat than it was during the height of the cold war era, it is nevertheless, a threat; and an unnecessary one at that too. And what of the EU? How does this vote look to the citizens of Europe when they see that Britain is rearming itself? Is the recent reception that greeted the French leaders in Nice an indication that the European public do not feel that they are being properly protected?
The aftermath of Brexit revealed that the NHS was not going to get that extra funding. Has that cash gone into a 21st century folly that has no effect on the real threats to the west? How can you use a nuclear submarine against a few lunatics armed with nothing but a truck?