What reasoning is there left to keep supporting Trident?


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2:59 pm - April 4th 2012

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contribution by James Bloodworth

In the last three years or so, politics in Britain has been dominated by the debate surrounding budget cuts. More specifically, at what speed cuts should be made, how they should be made, and in some quarters whether cuts should be made at all.

During this time, getting the chancellor to agree to allocate money to any project has, to coin a phrase, been like trying to extract blood from a stone.

The widely-held belief that we are living through an era of austerity is not entirely accurate, however.

Whilst the airwaves resonate with the sound of politicians opining about a tightening of purse strings, one industry is licking its lips at the prospect of a bumper government subsidy.

I am talking, of course, about the nuclear weapons industry, and the Government’s continued commitment to replace Trident.

The initial procurement cost of Trident will be somewhere in the region of £25bn; the total lifetime cost of the weapons system is likely to exceed £100bn. To get an idea of the sheer quantity of money being spent, George Osborne’s first budget planned for cuts of £6bn and public sector workers currently face a three per cent rise in their pension contributions to save the state just under £2bn.

One may also speculate on how such large sums of money might be spent: a modern hospital costs in the region of £90m and a state-of-the-art environmentally friendly school costs between £5m – £10m. To introduce free school meals for every primary school child in the country would cost a further £1bn.

Opposition to Trident increasingly bridges the political divide. At the beginning of March a report from CentreForum – a centrist think-tank which David Cameron has previously praised for its “excellent work” – described the plan to replace Trident as “nonsensical”.

The report’s author Toby Fenwick added that there was “no current or medium-term threat to the UK which justifies the huge costs involved”. The report called for the scrapping of Trident and for the savings to be ploughed back into Britain’s over-stretched conventional armed forces.

Back in 2009, a letter sent to The Times signed by a group of senior military officers said that nuclear weapons had shown themselves to be “completely useless as a deterrent to the threats and scale of violence we currently face or are likely to face, particularly international terrorism”.

Supporters of Trident argue that retaining a nuclear weapons capability is essential if Britain is to retain its global status. But if we wish to speak with any moral authority against nuclear proliferation in places like Iran we must realise that it is no longer possible, if it was ever desirable, to preach non-proliferation while simultaneously building up our own lethal nuclear arsenal.

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Reader comments


1. White Trash

“What reasoning is there left to keep supporting Trident?”

Er. Because it’s like a great powerful cock?

Because it’ll make lots of money for some?

Because it’ll prove that Britain is still ‘a beacon to the world’ and ‘punching above our weight’ and all that old delusional fantasy stuff?

A commitment to cancelling Trident would be a powerful message if only the Labour party had the balls to do it. The very fact that they were committed to do it would have an impact on the prospect of the replacement going ahead.

This *should* be a no brainer for Ed and his team…. endless opportunities to point out all the services and procurement decisions which could be avoided. Even in strict defence terms, it’s low hanging fruit; a fraction of the money wasted on trident would allow a properly funded, well balanced defence review, decent pay and conditions for the forces personnel, the equipment they needed at the right time etc.

Of course, with luck the Scots will vote “yes” in 2014, which will make Trident even more pointless…. where will you base it when Faslane isn’t an option? How long would it take, and how much extra would it cost to move it to England?

3. Chaise Guevara

I think White Trash is right here. A lot of support for Trident seems to come from people who hate the idea that the UK might be seen as less of a big deal, regardless of whether it’s actually good for the country. It IS a bit like a giant nuclear willy.

It is a stupendous cost, but I think the best argument for it is that it’s the ultimate deterrant; there is literally no chance of Britain being invaded if we have a credible nuclear armament. If we want to save costs, we could alternatively persue a less interventionist, ‘self defence’ strategy (like Iran’s) and spend less resources on a War On Terror we can never win.

A lot of support for Trident seems to come from people who hate the idea that the UK might be seen as less of a big deal, regardless of whether it’s actually good for the country. It IS a bit like a giant nuclear willy.

“The price we pay for sitting at the top table” as Churchill put it. Intellectually I more or less agree with nuclear disarmament (and have done for, ooh, ages http://partyreptile.blogspot.co.uk/2006/12/fork-in-road.html). There is still an emotional spasm at the thought I’d be on the same side as Andrew Murray and Tony Benn though.

@ 4

There is literally no chance of Britain being invaded if we have a credible nuclear armament.

There is greater danger we will be invaded by Martians than by another nation state.

Trident is an expensive white elephant in the modern world and, as has been pointed out, is only of value in a dick measuring contest.

And we really shouldn’t be entering those.

7. Leon Wolfeson

The UN Security Council. Fix then, THEN abandon the deterrent. In that order.

Jobs for the boys. The nukes will stay.

sorry, who ‘on the left’ supports Trident, name names please?

10. Step Left

also its perfectly rational for the British State to maintain a nuclear arsenel.

Prestige and the fact that policy makers cannot predict the future of global politics. We cannot know that in 10-20 years what international relations will look like. Current events can radically change and accelerate faster than policy makers can respond to. Therefore, in an uncertain and ever changing world the State cannot afford to view current international relations as the norm or stable, therefore maintaining Trident is a sensible and cautious decision.

11. Step Left

oh crud, I genuinely misread the title, please disregard comment 9.

Buggger! (sobs)

I don’t get this argument that “we need nukes to prevent the UK being invaded” at all.

We still have stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons (or, at the very least, the capability to manufacture them quickly) and they can be at least as devastating to a civilian population as nukes. So if we need a deterrent then we still have them.

So far as being able to maintain our place in world affairs is concerned, spending a part of the saving on the helicopters, carrier fighters, and of course the invaluable infantryman would enable us to be far more effective than some unusable invisible nukes.

If we want to, of course, which I don’t.

14. Shatterface

There is greater danger we will be invaded by Martians than by another nation state.

The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one, according to best estimates.

Nukes are useless against them anyway. Our best defence is the littlest creatures that God in his wisdom has placed upon the earth.

15. douglas clark

You do realise that, if Scotland votes ‘yes’ to independence, you haven’t got a nuclear deterrent worthy of the name. For we don’t want it and you’ve got no place to put it?

That would about match the Aircraft Carriers, that don’t have planes. Or the inability to protect our airspace. Or the fact that a Russian fleet can ‘park up’ in bad weather in the Moray Firth with no presence of the UK’s vaunted protection.

Indeed our steamboat arrived too late.

http://www.scotsman.com/the-scotsman/scotland/russian-ships-in-the-moray-firth-and-not-a-nimrod-in-sight-1-2008621

It is like looking behind the curtain in The Wizard of Oz. The UK couldn’t organise a defence policy if it’s life depended on it.

@6: If that’s so, why have a defence budget at all?

But the Trident makes lots of money for BAe in support contracts and new submarines and since BAe owns the MOD the likelihood of any contracts being cut is nil. Exactly the same reason we spent £500,000,000+ on 28 shiny new Hawk T2s that sit in a hanger because the RAF has no use for them.

Far from representing national pride or independence, our nuclear weapons programme has only ever represented the wholesale subjugation of Britain’s defence capability to a foreign power. That power maintains no less friendly relations with numerous other countries, almost none of which have nuclear weapons. Like radiological, chemical and biological weapons, nuclear weapons are morally repugnant simply in themselves. They offer not the slightest defence against a range of loosely knit, if at all connected, terrorist organisations pursuing a range of loosely knit, if at all connected, aims in relation to a range of countries while actually governing no state, with the possible exception of our supposed ally, Pakistan. Where would any other such organisation keep nuclear weapons in the first place?

Furthermore, the possession of nuclear weapons serves to convey to terrorists and their supporters that Britain wishes to “play with the big boys”, thereby contributing to making Britain a target for the terrorist activity against which such weapons are defensively useless. It is high time for Britain to grow up. Britain’s permanent seat on the UN Security Council could not be taken away without British consent, and so does not depend in any way on her possession of nuclear weapons; on the contrary, the world needs and deserves a non-nuclear permanent member of that Council.

Most European countries do not have nuclear weapons, and nor does Canada, Australia or New Zealand. Are those therefore in greater danger? On the contrary, the London bombings of 7th July 2005 were attacks on a country with nuclear weapons, while the attacks of 11th September 2001 were against the country with by far the largest nuclear arsenal in the world. The only nuclear power in the Middle East is Israel. Is Israel the most secure state in the Middle East? It is mind-boggling to hear people go on about Iran, whose President is in any case many years away from acquiring a nuclear weapon, and in any case only wants one (if he does) to use against the only Middle Eastern country that already has them. What does any of this have to do with us?

Numerous Tories with relevant experience – Anthony Head, Peter Thorneycroft, Nigel Birch, Aubrey Jones – were sceptical about, or downright hostile towards, British nuclear weapons in the 1950s and 1960s. In March 1964, while First Lord of the Admiralty and thus responsible for Polaris, George Jellicoe suggested that Britain might pool her nuclear deterrent with the rest of NATO. Enoch Powell denounced the whole thing as not just anything but independent in practice, but also immoral in principle. The rural populist John G Diefenbaker, who opposed official bilingualism in Canada’s English-speaking provinces, and who campaigned for his flag to remain the Canadian Red Ensign with the Union Flag in its corner, also kept John F Kennedy’s nukes off Canadian soil.

Gaitskell’s Campaign for Democratic Socialism explicitly supported the unilateral renunciation of Britain’s nuclear weapons, and the document Policy for Peace, on which Gaitskell eventually won his battle at the 1961 Labour Conference, stated: “Britain should cease the attempt to remain an independent nuclear power, since that neither strengthens the alliance, nor is it now a sensible use of our limited resources.” Although the SDP was in many ways a betrayal of this heritage, it is nevertheless the case that nuclear weapons were not mentioned in its founding Limehouse Declaration, and that David Owen did have to act at least once in order to prevent a unilateralist from being selected as a parliamentary candidate. In an echo of Head, Thorneycroft, Birch, Jones, Jellicoe and Powell, even that strongly monetarist SDP MP and future Conservative Minister, John Horam, was sceptical about the deployment of American cruise and Pershing II missiles in Europe. Shirley Williams has long been doing sterling work in the field of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament; it is inconceivable that she, or indeed Bill Rodgers, Gaitskell’s right-hand man in the CDS, really wishes to “renew” Trident. It is even difficult to believe that of Owen these days.

There could not be bigger and more unwise spending, or a more ineffective example of the “Big State”, than nuclear weapons in general and Trident in particular. Diverting enormous sums of money towards public services, towards the relief of poverty at home and abroad, and towards paying off our national debt, precisely by reasserting control over our own defence capability, would represent a most significant step towards One Nation politics, with an equal emphasis on the One and on the Nation. It is what Disraeli would have done.

Ed Miliband, over to you. You can read all about it in a book available here.

19. Reduced Salt

@19

I think you mean “advert”. Not used to commenting on blogs, eh?

Also I think Sunny has started to moderate comments, shame (but probably necessary(?))

At last, this is mentioned. Get rid of Trident. It will save billions. Let us be insignificant ‘on the world stage.’

21. douglas clark

Thanks to the admins for letting my last post appear here. I was a bit worried that I was being pre-moderated.

Another reason for not supporting Trident – we simply cannot afford to upgrade Trident if these news reports are true about the scale of further “efficiency savings” being required of the NHS. I’ve been working on the news that the NHS was committed to finding efficiency savings of £20bn out of the annual budget for England of c. £105bn. This can be tracked back to a speech by Sir David Nicholson in December 2009, before the general election in May 2010, which resulted in a change of government.

However, in the last few days I have come upon press reports saying the NHS is committed to efficiency savings of £40bn, not £20bn. Try these examples:

The NHS faces a decade-long savings drive, managers believe.

The warning from the NHS Confederation came on the day official workforce figures showed nursing posts had fallen by 1% in the past year.

It comes despite promises by ministers that the frontline would be protected during the efficiency drive.

The NHS has been told to find £20bn savings by 2015, but the confederation said another £20bn would have to be found in the five years after that too.

David Stout, NHS Confederation deputy chief executive, said: “The working assumption is that the NHS will be required to continue to produce significant savings beyond 2015. The initial £20bn is not the end game.”

He added it would all depend what the funding settlement was post-2015, but with most chief executives expecting something similar to the last one it was fair to assume “another £20bn” would have to be found to cope with rising costs from the ageing population and cost of new technologies
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17458408

NHS chiefs have been warned the service will need to find a further £20bn or more of efficiency savings as soon as the current target is met in 2015. [FT 19 March 2012]

Because other countries, who might not be friendly to Britain, have nuclear weapons.

24. So Much For Subtlety

But if we wish to speak with any moral authority against nuclear proliferation in places like Iran we must realise that it is no longer possible, if it was ever desirable, to preach non-proliferation while simultaneously building up our own lethal nuclear arsenal.

We are not building up our own nuclear armament. Britain has led the way in reducing its weapon stockpiles. We could hardly have fewer warheads than we do now. Second, our problems with Iran have nothing to do with whether we have nuclear weapons or not but whether they have the right to lie their faces off while developing weapons they have promised not to develop.

25. So Much For Subtlety

2. Galen10

A commitment to cancelling Trident would be a powerful message if only the Labour party had the balls to do it.

A powerful message but saying what? That Labour does not want to govern? That the British Left still hates the UK? What?

Even in strict defence terms, it’s low hanging fruit; a fraction of the money wasted on trident would allow a properly funded, well balanced defence review, decent pay and conditions for the forces personnel, the equipment they needed at the right time etc.

No it wouldn’t. First of all, they are lying about the numbers. Trident will probably cost about a billion pounds per year over its service life. Second, nuclear weapons are cheap. That is why the British have always liked them. Equipment of a more conventional nature is not cheap. That is why we have so little of it. To buy enough tanks for a single Armoured Division – about 250 of them – would cost about 1.5 billion assuming we bought something cheap like the Leopard 2. And that is just the tanks. We would need to spend about that much again on APCs, about that much again on artillery and perhaps that much again on soft skin vehicles. Which is not even counting running costs.

Of course, with luck the Scots will vote “yes” in 2014, which will make Trident even more pointless…. where will you base it when Faslane isn’t an option? How long would it take, and how much extra would it cost to move it to England?

You may notice but submarines float. They do so all the time. It might take a day or two to move them to Portsmouth if they go slowly. Some minor amount of construction work to ensure their fuel can be off-loaded safely might take a couple of weeks, but not much. We do not need Scotland.

3. Chaise Guevara

I think White Trash is right here. A lot of support for Trident seems to come from people who hate the idea that the UK might be seen as less of a big deal, regardless of whether it’s actually good for the country. It IS a bit like a giant nuclear willy.

You have that exactly backwards. As there is no rational case against Trident, as you can see here, the opposition to it comes from people who hate the idea that the UK might not be a failed Third World state. They hate the UK and can’t wait to see it be abolished – either as part of a EU Superstate on the soft Left or they pine for the good old days when we should have become a Soviet Socialist Republic if they are on the Hard Left. It is good for the country. It has no down side or unwelcome side effects. So we should have it. Especially as it is so cheap.

6. pagar

There is greater danger we will be invaded by Martians than by another nation state.

Because we have nuclear weapons. Get rid of them and who knows.

12. George W. Potter

I don’t get this argument that “we need nukes to prevent the UK being invaded” at all.

Yes but can we agree the strength of the argument does not depend on it?

We still have stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons (or, at the very least, the capability to manufacture them quickly) and they can be at least as devastating to a civilian population as nukes. So if we need a deterrent then we still have them.

How would you deliver them? And really? You think that indiscriminate mass murder of civilians is a sensible policy? You think this is more moral or humane than merely threatening them with nuclear weapons? Not to mention we have signed a number of treaties promising not to stockpile or manufacture or use said chemical weapons.

13. Alec

So far as being able to maintain our place in world affairs is concerned, spending a part of the saving on the helicopters, carrier fighters, and of course the invaluable infantryman would enable us to be far more effective than some unusable invisible nukes.

So as Germany spends more than us on those things, they must have a seat at the UN Security Council? Oh wait, they don’t.

15. douglas clark

You do realise that, if Scotland votes ‘yes’ to independence, you haven’t got a nuclear deterrent worthy of the name. For we don’t want it and you’ve got no place to put it?

The rest of Britain has no docks? No harbours? News to me. Explain what unique feature of Scotland means we need their harbours while we can’t use the rest of the UK’s.

17. IR Geek

But the Trident makes lots of money for BAe in support contracts and new submarines and since BAe owns the MOD the likelihood of any contracts being cut is nil.

BAE seems to have made roughly no money at all out of Trident as far as I can see. Can you explain why you think this? The missiles are built by Lockheed. Not BAe. The submarines were built by Vickers. Which is now owned by BAe but it wasn’t at the time.

26. douglas clark

SMSF,

You say, rather naively:

ou may notice but submarines float. They do so all the time. It might take a day or two to move them to Portsmouth if they go slowly. Some minor amount of construction work to ensure their fuel can be off-loaded safely might take a couple of weeks, but not much. We do not need Scotland.

All your nuclear weapons are buried in the Coulport peninsula. You need to move them too. Have fun with your NIMBY voters.

Are you just completely thick?

Anyway, we own circa 10% of your dick. Which do you wish to surrender, your missiles, your nukes or your wee boats? For you are between a rock and a hard place. Make no mistake about that.

27. So Much For Subtlety

27. douglas clark

All your nuclear weapons are buried in the Coulport peninsula. You need to move them too. Have fun with your NIMBY voters.

Until recently Britain did not have just one means of delivering its nuclear weapons. It also did so by aeroplane. Before that it did so by artillery piece. And planned to by chicken-warmed nuclear land mine. None of those, to the best of my knowledge, was buried in the Coulport peninsula. The British public has a long history of accepting nuclear weapons in other places. They are, after all, actually manufactured in the South. RAF Waddington was, for instance, the first and last base for the Vulcan bombers. So it presumably had storage facilities for nuclear bombs. Not a port though. ROF Cardiff used to assemble and refurbish nuclear weapons before it was closed in 1997. Cardiff is a port although the Welsh may object to having Trident based there.

Are you just completely thick?

I do admire people who shoot themselves in the foot like that.

Anyway, we own circa 10% of your dick. Which do you wish to surrender, your missiles, your nukes or your wee boats? For you are between a rock and a hard place. Make no mistake about that.

That is nice for you. Not true, but no doubt it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy. We have no need to surrender any of them.

28. douglas clark

SMFS,

Yes, thanks for the history lesson. We used to be able to deliver nuclear warheads via aeroplanes. There was a reason that we moved to ICBMs. Do you know what it was? Does it matter because we can’t do it now.?

It is also the case that the refitting of your deterrent is carried out in Maryland. Not the warheads, but the missiles and boats themselves.

It is argued by the navy that they require to have a base at Faslane because of the ability to drop their submarines into deep water pretty easily. They say that there is no equivalent facility in England. I am not, personally, convinced that Faslane does have that advantage. You could easily base them opposite Westminster and have them there with my thanks.

At the moment, the navy appears to think TINA.

I would be grateful if you take all your stupid bombs with you when you go. And the radioactive scrap metal over at Rosyth, your earlier and unloved legacy.

It is sadly the case that we would ‘own’ circa 10% of your weapon. Assuming you are going to emburden us with a similar level of UK debt. And, it is a fixed asset, at least as far as the base is concerned.

I should not have called you thick, for which I apologise. It is pretty obvious that you see the UK as a continuing state, unaffected by the departure of Scotland to pastures new, It is just incredible myopia. Our military appears to be a bit worried.

Surrender them? Interesting turn of phrase SMFS. Considering they are in Scotland, serviced in Scotland, who is surrendering what to whom?

29. Chaise Guevara

@ 14 Shatterface

“The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one, according to best estimates.”

But still… they come!

I’m going to have that in my head all day now.

30. Chaise Guevara

@ Phil Hunt

“Because other countries, who might not be friendly to Britain, have nuclear weapons.”

So what? Mutually Assured Destruction. And even if MAD doesn’t hold, I doubt fellow nuke-owner France is going to be cool about radition blowing across the Channel.

31. Chaise Guevara

@ douglas clark and the fellow who thinks this site is an advertising service for his stupid book:

Comments on LC have been slow for months now. I think it’s due to technical problems rather than pre-moderation. It also seems to drop out to a 503 error (whatever that may be) at random intervals.

32. Planeshift

“Cardiff is a port although the Welsh may object to having Trident based there. ”

I don’t think Cardiff has the facilities to do so now regardless of public opinion, the docks have declined and been replaced by loads of new shiny things in the bay for the welsh middle classes.

If the choice is between having nukes (not necessarily trident) supported by a small special forces based army, or a large conventional army then the former is the best bet every time on both grounds of cost and functionality. But that isn’t the choice we are offered – the choice is large conventional forces plus trident or large conventional forces plus older less shiny nukes. And the latter is preferable on both cost and functionality.

@ SMFS

The point is not so much the sub base at Faslane, which could be relatively easily substituted with Devonport or somewhere else (although there would of course be a cost and presumably some opposition locally….tho’ it would bring some jobs too so some would probablt support it). The issue is the Coulport base for handling the missiles/warheads. This would take years and a huge investment to reproduce elsewhere…. good luck with that discussion with Big Eck post a yes vote in 2014!

As for you comment about the 10% SMFS, sorry…but you are just plain wrong. Scottish taxpayers have paid for their share of Trident, and for the annual upkeep, therefore in any post independence settlement, that would form part of the negotiations. It’s really not rocket science; the same goes for all the other material and costs. The Scots already have a huge deficit in defence spending, becuase we get nothing like 10% of the defence budget that we contribute.

It has already been demonstrated to anyone with eyes to see that post independence, Scotland could spend less on defence than currently, and yet have more effective and balanced armed forces. Norway, Denmark etc already spend less than the 10% of the UK budget Scotland contributes, but have perfectly adequate armed forces which significantly exceed the capabilities of the force structure in Scotland now, as was proven recently when half the Russian fleet pitched up in the Moray Firth and the Royal Navy had to rush one paltry vessel up from further south.

Much of this issue was discussed previously

http://liberalconspiracy.org/2012/01/31/how-scottish-independence-could-spell-the-end-of-trident/

Your ignorance was apparent then, but you have less excuse now!

34. the a&e charge nurse

Interesting discussion here
http://www.david-morrison.org.uk/nuclear-weapons/trident-real-reason.htm

For example it is argued, “There isn’t the slightest doubt that, had Iraq succeeded in developing nuclear weapons, the US/UK would have been deterred from their aggression against Iraq in March 2003, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, who are dead as a consequence of that aggression, would be alive today.
Neither is there the slightest doubt that, if there was even a suspicion that Iran had a functional nuclear weapon today, the US would be seeking to negotiate with it, as it has done with North Korea despite its nuclear test last autumn, rather than continuing to threaten to use force, contrary to Article 2.4 of the UN Charter”.

William Hague continued his reply to Phil Willis: “However, he must not think that if we announced today our intention not to have a nuclear deterrent in future, other countries – those in Tehran, for example – would say, ‘What a relief! We are now going to abandon our nuclear intentions.’ That is not the way the world works, as he and I know; we simply have to make the realistic decision.”

Sadly we cannot rid the world of nutty leaders, and until we can we will never rid it of nukes.
Given our track record on prosecuting wars to serve our own corporate interests phrases like ‘moral authority’ have become more or less bankrupt.

35. Leon Wolfeson

@12 – Chemical and biological weapons? No, we do not.

The really effective chemical weapons require manufacturing capacities which we gave up decades ago, and bioweapons are both very dangerous to everyone and of highly dubious usage in most situations.

Both are completely illegal under the conventions which the UK has ratified, as well, unlike nuclear weapons. We’ve also agreed not to use mines and incendiary weapons.

Not that I expect that to bother the LibDems, given your casual attitude towards signed promises.

And again, folks, let’s fix the UNSC – which CAN be done this decade, there’s a lot of appetite for it – before formally giving up nukes!

George @16

If that’s so, why have a defence budget at all?

Excellent point, well made.

I’d go for the Swiss model. They are land locked with no standing army and have been invaded how often?

37. Chaise Guevara

@ 37 pagar

Don’t they all have guns, though?

38. Leon Wolfeson

@37 – Uh, what?

Firstly, they depend on being hard as frack to invade because of their terrain and near-complete lack of natural resources. The only reason to invade would be certain trade routes, which are covered with fortresses.

Second, they most certainly have a standing army. They have universal male conscription. (And a 3% higher tax rate for people who are unfit for service!)

Third, there are major costs associated with their defence and building. Buildings have underground shelters, bridges have tank traps, tunnels are mined to collapse.

39. the a&e charge nurse

[37] have you forgotten about the brutal Swiss invasion of Liechtenstein – can you imagine what might have happened if they had nuclear capability?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/mar/02/markoliver

40. Chaise Guevara

@ Leon

“let’s fix the UNSC – which CAN be done this decade, there’s a lot of appetite for it – before formally giving up nukes!”

Any attempt to fix the UNSC could be vetoed by any member of the UNSC. Can you really see all of those countries saying “hell with it, we’ll give up our unfair advantage”?

Fixing the UNSC would require replacing the UN or rebuilding it from the ground up. It’s definitely something that needs to be done, but it’s not likely to be easy or to happen quickly. I also have no idea what it should be a prerequisite for disarmament.

41. Chaise Guevara

*WHY it should be a prerequisite for disarmament

42. Leon Wolfeson

@38 – Yes, they also have a reserve force almost as large as the UK’s and everyone who has served keeps their guns. In fact, they MUST keep their guns.

43. Leon Wolfeson

@41 – In fact, the has been a *commitment* to reforming the UNSC from every veto-wielding member except China, who have indicated they’re “merely” in favour.

The member-states of the UN (around a dozen) who insist on a total consensus are NOT UNSC members and have no veto. A two-thirds vote of the general assembly would be required, however there’s a strong sentiment for reform there too.

Try reading up on this before you embarrass yourself again.

From the British-French statement; “Reform of the UNSC, both its enlargement and the improvement of its working methods, must therefore succeed.”

44. Chaise Guevara

@ Leon

“Try reading up on this before you embarrass yourself again.”

I was gonna point out the difference between a claimed commitment to reform and an actual intent to create reform that’s worth having… but having read the above sentence I think I’ll just move on, pausing only to remark what a stupid and arrogant little cunt you are.

What else should I expect from Mr Barrage of Random Unsupported Accusations?

@ SMFS

You might also like to consider the following (hat tip to sneekyboy in the Gaurdian comments on How Scotland Would Defend itself post independence)

“Cape Wrath is the only ship-to-shore bombardment range in Europe and since the United States Navy was forced to withdraw from a similar range in Puerto Rico in 2003, Cape Wrath can unwittingly claim to be the most important area for naval training in the world, or at least in the Northern Hemisphere.

The range also contains the only place in Europe where aircraft can release live one thousand pound bombs.

Little old Scotland also contains:

All of Britain’s nuclear weapons at Coulport and the strategic nuclear submarine fleet at Faslane

The largest and most frequently used low flying area in Britain in the north west Highlands

The only open air live depleted uranium weapons test range in Britain at Dundrennan

Britain’s nuclear bomb store at Coulport in Scotland. Sixteen massive bunkers have been gouged out of the ridge overlooking Loch Long. This building can store more than 100 nuclear bombs in underground vaults behind airlock doors.

So mutual training pacts and services support between Scotland and rUK would be likely… or they would have to replicate the sites above rather than just Coulport.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/reality-check-with-polly-curtis/2012/mar/01/how-would-an-independent-scotland-defend-itself

They say armies are always prepared to fight the last war, not the next and Trident is a perfect example of that. Just as we now have a massively expensive air superiority fighter and no threat with an airforce, we have a weapon system that only “works” if a putative enemy is similarly armed. Well, that was the justification for it under the MAD doctrine we were assured kept the world safe. Not only is there no threat it can be called a measure of defence against, we can’t launch it without the American’s permission, we can’t launch it because there are never enough submarines working at any one time to deploy it correctly in the first place and the new variant we are buying is so crap the Americans won’t use it themselves.

Tanks will never come pouring through the Fulda Gap, we will never be in a city levelling stand-off with another country because that type of war is as obsolete as the longbow. The current asymetric war against terrorists/insurgents is being increasingly fought with drone weapons controlled thousands of miles away and this war is the last gasp of ideologies that don’t realise there is no point in war in a society where everything is for sale even war itself in the form of security companies. No country needs to invade Britain when it can buy its infrastructure and be paid by the government for the privelige and can then use those companies to dictate the government’s policies. Given the utter callousness of governments, I suspect the odd terrorist outrage is something they can live with as long as only plebs get pureed, its always a good excuse for removing civil liberties and increasing weapons/security spending.

There is a good argument for saying Britain is already at war with China as Chinese state approved hackers constantly attack government and corporate websites. The ability to cripple a country’s electronic communications is the future of war, not big shiny things that go bang. We are living in a time when greed, stupidity, cowardice and cockup by the financial sector and our own government have done more damage to the country than a physical war could, imagine what a controlled, deliberate attempt by hostile powers or even disgruntled kids with laptops could achieve

@ Chairse

@ 37 pagar

Don’t they all have guns, though?

Yes. And a very low crime rate.

@ A&E

have you forgotten about the brutal Swiss invasion of Liechtenstein

Brilliant!!!

“As well as the obligatory Swiss army knives, the troops were armed with assault rifles – however, they had no ammunition”.

@ Schmidt

The ability to cripple a country’s electronic communications is the future of war, not big shiny things that go bang.

Agreed.

I also think that future wars will not be fought between nation states but between state sponsored corporations and individual citizens.

49. Chaise Guevara

@ 51 pagar

“I also think that future wars will not be fought between nation states but between state sponsored corporations and individual citizens.”

And where are the private corporations in all this?

50. Chaise Guevara

@ 56 Leon

“No, it means “person who sucks up exclusively to the Tory line and who trolls hard on it”. You.”

Y’see, Leon, the problem with you lying about me, to me, is that *I know you’re lying*.

“You most certainly DO speak Cunt, with every spewing you make here. You were wrong. You can’t admit it, in typical Tory style. You’ll do anything, no matter what the damage, not admit it in fact…”

Oh, it’s entirely possible I was wrong. I was going to ask you for more information, in fact, because it’s more important to be factually correct than to “win” the discussion. However, I got to your “embarrass yourself” comment, and decided I wasn’t going to discuss the matter with the sort of wanker who responds to a polite interjection with personal abuse. Especially given your penchant for making up bizarre slanders about me and then refusing to provide any justification for them (see above!).

I’ll wait for someone who’s capable of behaving like a human being and discuss it with them instead.

@56 Leon

Chaise is anything but a Tory troll, as many regulars on here will attest; he is in general pretty in tune with what *most* people on here think, and is generally one of the better examples of someone up for a genuine debate.

You on the other hand come across like a petulant twat, as is evidenced by lots of your recent contributions across a number of threads, where you rarely engage in debate where sitting on the sidelines throwing rocks from under your bridge would be easier.

There is of course a long and baleful list of your type of troll on here like So Much For Subtlety, oldandrew (who thankfully appears to have disapparated of late) and others.

52. Leon Wolfeson

@57 – I wouldn’t provide you with more information without you paying for it. Go back to ConHome.

@58 – All you can do is convince me you’re the same as him. He works tirelessly to undermine anyone on the left who looks reasonable, and his writing style is oh-so-coincidentally identical to a well known Tory writer.

53. Leon Wolfeson

@58 – And you confirm it in the other thread, by making it plain you don’t understand why the UKIP and the Tories are linked.

You’re posting, like the viper, purely to disrupt conversation. The FACT is, there’s a lot of appetite for UNSC reform, and with that done the major reasons for keeping a nuclear deterrent are null and void.

(And it’s not worth keeping tacnukes when FAE and thermobaric weapons exist)

@24 Phil Hunt: “Because other countries, who might not be friendly to Britain, have nuclear weapons.”

That’s a dumb response. In western Europe, only Britain and France have nuclear weapons – what of the security of all those other countries which manage to do without nuclear weapons? Besides, Trident is one very costly delivery system. Nuclear weapons can also be airborne.

By web accounts, Britain has the fourth or fifth largest military budget in the world. Maintaining that is a ridiculous proposition with the state of the budget deficit and the further savings of £20bn being required of the NHS after 2015.

The nuclear weapons of America didn’t prevent 9/11 and didn’t stop America losing the Vietnam war. Britain’s nuclear weapons didn’t prevent 7/7. The fact is that nuclear weapons are useless in Fourth Generation wars between asymmetric forces – try this by William Lind (ex US Marine Corps):
http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/lind/the-changing-face-of-war-into-the-fourth-generation.html

@26

Although the missiles themselves are built by Lockheed, owned by the US DOD and leased by the MOD (complicated relationship), the question of upgrading Trident generally relates to a contract for a new type of submarine to carry them which would almost certainly be awarded to BAe. BAe and VT also make a fortune from the extensive maintenance and support contracts that accompany any nuclear weapons systems.

Sorry for late reply.

If employment is the real rationale for upgrading Trident, there are many far more beneficial ways of spending taxpayers’ money to create jobs.

Trident is a waste of public finances which could be better spent in other ways. Only within the last few months has Tata, the Indian owned manufacturing company, overtaken BAe Systems as Britain’s largest manufacturing company. IMO it’s deeply shameful if Britain’s largest manufacturing company is an armaments manufacturer.

57. Chaise Guevara

@ 59 Leon

“I wouldn’t provide you with more information without you paying for it.”

…And there we have it. Leon thinks that relevant information is something to be given out on sufferance, rather than a vital part of a serious conversation.

Perhaps this is why he always refuses to source his batshit claims: why would he justify his own arguments if he wasn’t getting paid, dammit? Either that or he’s too much of an intellectual coward to even understand the idea of admitting he was wrong, which obviously doesn’t gel well with a penchant for random accusations.

I think it’s the intellectual cowardice one.

58. Chaise Guevara

@ 59 Leon

“He works tirelessly to undermine anyone on the left who looks reasonable”

I have a horrible feeling that you think this “reasonable lefties” category includes you. An unfortunate misapprehension!

Leon, since you first did us all a disservice by discovering this site, you’ve accused me of Toryism, hatred of compassion, offering physical threats, and about a hundred other things, all without a single shred of justification. And you have always, ALWAYS, refused to point to what I allegedly said to deserve these attacks.

You are not reasonable, Leon. You are the opposite of reasonable. You’re an irrational little man filled with non-directed rage, which comes out in the form of you screaming abuse at people based on transgressions that only happened in your mind, after which you hide behind the cowardly determination to never justify your own comments. And after all this, you still think you’re the sane man in any given conversation.

Seek help.

“and his writing style is oh-so-coincidentally identical to a well known Tory writer”

Really? Who?

59. Chaise Guevara

@ Galen10

Cheers, mate. And as if it needed to be said, you are not “like the viper” (no idea what that even means, but presumably that’s what passes for a withering put-down in what passes for Leon’s brain).

60. Leon Wolfeson

@64 – No, I’m a trained researcher, and right wing nuts like you can pay like any other commercial client if you want the benefit of my services. Of course your natural response is I should provide your lordship with them and be grateful.

I have, moreover, NEVER threatened your physically. That’s a typical Tory slander, from a typical Tory brain, inventing threats I supposedly made because reality isn’t good enough. You are, moreover, a typical social darwinist, as you show with your argument about mental health. If you’re not a Tory, then that’s because they’re too namby-pamby and left wing for you – BNP or UKIP then?

You can’t hold up your end of the argument, so you throw the toys and the pram and whine, deliberately undermining the entire discussion, accusing others of your own failings. I’m quite willing to deal honestly with honest people, but not with you and your soul partners like SMFS, who at least doesn’t pretend to be anything he’s not.

The coward is you, who keeps on persistently lying about your allegiance while clearly working to undermine it. Viper.

Leon,
I appreciate that you’re time is precious, but please be more gentle with those of us that lack your breadth of knowledge and depth of analysis.

Having provided the correct line on a given issue, it must be infuriating to have your statements challenged; it should be for the questioners to check the background if they feel they need to.

As you rightly say, there are solutions to be found for more pressing issues (not least, social cleansing in London, and the imminent deaths of so many of our poor). Your time shouldn’t be wasted on distractions. However, please be patient with us.

Thanks, Jack

62. Leon Wolfeson

68 – Yea, see, I’m quite willing, as I said, to provide most people with research links when they ask, but there’s a limited set who I’m not.

I also don’t think it’s a waste of time exposing infiltrators.

Thanks Leon, though can you explain what constitutes an “infiltrator”?

64. Leon Wolfeson

@70 – *Jabs a finger in the direction of Chaise*

People like him. Where if you look at what they actually say, they’re peddling an Otherdox Tory line while saying “I’m left wing, I left wing”.

The typical lines of entitlement and accusing others of mental illness are dead giveways, but in this case it’s plain and obvious and has been for some time.

65. Chaise Guevara

@ 67 Leon

“No, I’m a trained researcher, and right wing nuts like you can pay like any other commercial client if you want the benefit of my services.”

You haven’t done a great job of researching my political position.

“Of course your natural response is I should provide your lordship with them and be grateful.”

LOL. You really do think that you’re above citing evidence, even when the evidence requested is simply “what did I say to make you draw that conclusion”.

“I have, moreover, NEVER threatened your physically.”

I know. You need to *read* posts before replying. I said YOU accused ME of threatening you. Which you did. And then refused to explain what the threat was even after about five people asked you.

“That’s a typical Tory slander, from a typical Tory brain, inventing threats I supposedly made because reality isn’t good enough.”

So by your own logic, you’re a Tory! Well done!

“You are, moreover, a typical social darwinist, as you show with your argument about mental health.”

What argument about mental health? I seriously have no idea what you’re referencing, if anything.

“If you’re not a Tory, then that’s because they’re too namby-pamby and left wing for you – BNP or UKIP then?”

Ooh, ZING! Don’t back up your accusations, just repeat an even more extreme version of them! With Leon’s patented lack of evidence!

“You can’t hold up your end of the argument, so you throw the toys and the pram and whine, deliberately undermining the entire discussion, accusing others of your own failings.”

That’s pretty fucking hilarious given a) your angry description of people who falsely accuse other people of making threats, and b) your behaviour on every thread on LC.

“I’m quite willing to deal honestly with honest people, but not with you and your soul partners like SMFS, who at least doesn’t pretend to be anything he’s not.”

You wouldn’t know honesty if you met it in the street. Your raison d’etre is to be the world’s greatest lying little shit.

“The coward is you, who keeps on persistently lying about your allegiance while clearly working to undermine it. Viper.”

Let’s see some evidence of my alleged allegiance, then. Oh, wait, Leon is too important to provide evidence! All hail Leon, Almighty King of the Pathetic Troll Cunts! Hail!

66. Chaise Guevara

@ 71 Leon

“The typical lines of entitlement and accusing others of mental illness are dead giveways”

What lines of entitlement and accusations of – oh, wait, you’re too good to provide evidence, I forgot.

67. Leon Wolfeson

@72 – On the contrary, you’re upset and spitting abuse because I HAVE.

“What argument about mental health?”

Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic, social darwinist.

And I see, BNP then. Thanks for clearing that up.

@60 Leon

“And you confirm it in the other thread, by making it plain you don’t understand why the UKIP and the Tories are linked. …. You’re posting, like the viper, purely to disrupt conversation. The FACT is, there’s a lot of appetite for UNSC reform, and with that done the major reasons for keeping a nuclear deterrent are null and void. …
(And it’s not worth keeping tacnukes when FAE and thermobaric weapons exist)”

Are you on something? Or is it more that you’ve forgotten to take your medication? I never disputed that there wasn’t linkage between the Tories and UKIP, but that wasn’t the point being made in the other thread anyway.

Others can decide who is the one disrupting on the site, and I doubt you’ll find much support for them choosing Chaise or I rather than monomaniacs like yourself. Again, I haven’t disputed anywhere that there is appetite for UNSC reform… indeed I heartily support the aim, but also agree with Chaise that it is vanishingly unlikely to happen. Once again however, your assertion that such reform would make the rationale for keeping nukes null and void is simply opinion, even if it were germane to this thread… which it isn’t.

You have already demonstrated by your posts that you know diddly squat about this issue… or indeed it seems many of the others you are unfortunately gracing this site with.

69. Leon Wolfeson

@75 – No, I’m not a social darwinist like you. In fact, stop sock puppeting.

“blah blah you’re mentally ill”

Entirely typical of a very limited number of far right posters.

@73 – See, I AM a professional researcher.

And it’s trivial, with the right tools, to look at word pattens used by various posters on various sites, not just this one. Plus, of course, what google turns up.

The EXACT same wording elsewhere? Yea, thanks, Viper. It’s glaring obvious in-context. In fact, I can trace the name you use on another site back to the leaked BNP membership list.

I’m not theorising.

Thanks again Leon, but I don’t think I’m getting it (my fault not your’s). I’ve re-read Chaise’s posts, and I can’t see the right wing ideology. He’s too subtle for me I guess, though not for you.

Could you point me to a particular example? This would help me spot infiltrators in future (we can’t be too careful in the current situation).

71. Leon Wolfeson

@77 – The line-by-line rant and references to mental health are always a good indicator.

The rant against the very real commitments to UNSC reform are another.

It was clever of you to smoke him out by insulting him first (“try reading up …etc”).

I still can’t quite see where he follows the Tory line (re-education required on my part), so lucky you’re here and that you give so generously of your time and intellect.

I’ve been suckered by Chaise and his reasonable ways before, but won’t be again.

73. Leon Wolfeson

@79 – No, now you’re just being too obvious.

There’s a list, a little list…

What list?

Not sure what you mean by “obvious”. Was that aimed at me?

76. Leon Wolfeson

@81 – Gah, what’s happened to culture in this country of late.

The option to use nuclear weapons was a rational and cost-effective credible response to the possibility of a Soviet Blitzkrieg attack across the north German plain during the decades when the Warsaw Pact countries of eastern Europe had an overwhelming superiority over NATO in tanks and other armoured vehicles.

Those times have gone with the collapse of the Soviet system and its empire in Europe at the end of the 1980s. Before then Third Generation warfare prevailed but we have moved on from there to Fourth Generation or asymmetric warfare of insurgents attacking superior military powers – such as in Malaysia, the Mau Mau in Kenya, the Vietcong in Vietnam, and most recently, with al-Qaeda. A newly emerging potent threat is from cyberwarfare attacks on national computer networks.

Nuclear weapons are useless for dealing with insurgency and cycber warfare. Who was it who said generals are always gaming on how the better fight the last war? Sadly, it makes better sense to resource this:

Unmanned aircraft are the new cornerstone of modern military operations, and both American and British crews are learning to fly them at a New Mexico Air Force base. There, they must tackle the practical questions of what it means to wage war from afar.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-17516156

@83 Leon

It’s been devalued and traduced by clueless nitwits like you…. even amongst the many dolts who infest the site, you are a prize winner Leon.

79. Leon Wolfeson

@86 – Wah.

You’re wrong on the issue, Chaise. Get over it.

@84 – Well, actually “cyber” warfare is one area they’d still be useful for. An airburst, EMP-tuned nuke really IS the last word in getting rid of the enemy’s electronics.

Conventional EMP weapons are not that powerful. Yet.

As an *actual* Tory, I can confirm both that Chaise is not a Tory, and that Leon is a twat.

Happy to help.

81. Leon Wolfeson

@87 – Yes, thanks for confirming that Chaise is to the right of the Tories and that I’m a left winger.

Useful data!

82. Chaise Guevara

@ 74 Leon

“On the contrary, you’re upset and spitting abuse because I HAVE.”

Have what? Researched my political position? Well, if your definition of “research” is “write down whatever shit pops into my head and declare it to be the truth” then you must be pretty…singular at your job.

“Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic, social darwinist.”

By all means explain why asking for clarification is “pathetic”. I’ll listen while laughing like a hyena.

“And I see, BNP then. Thanks for clearing that up.”

Yes, that’s definitely true. I definitely said I was a BNP supporter, despite that being at odds with everything I’ve ever said in my years spent visiting this site. It couldn’t possibly that you’re talking out of your arse again. Oh dear me, no!

83. Chaise Guevara

@ 76 Leon

“And it’s trivial, with the right tools, to look at word pattens used by various posters on various sites, not just this one. Plus, of course, what google turns up.”

This would be sorta like numerology, would it? Perhaps he refers to himself in first person – as do I! And he’s been known to use the word “serendipitous” – as have I! And his average sentence length is within five or six words of mine! PROOF!

“The EXACT same wording elsewhere? Yea, thanks, Viper. It’s glaring obvious in-context. In fact, I can trace the name you use on another site back to the leaked BNP membership list.”

Not that you’re going to tell me that name or anything. Because then we could check and see you’re making it up. It is possible that you can dredge up old posts of me using a different handle (including my real name) on other sites that I no longer use, and just about conceivable that my writing patterns are idiosyncratic enough for someone to tentatively guess that the two names are used by the same person.

What’s not conceivable, however, is that you’d get any BNP vibe off of my previous screen-names, because it was still me writing. As for tracing me to the BNP membership list… that’s fucking hilarious, perhaps you’ll “out” me as a Freemason next? I love the idea of you “tracing” people around the internet. I’m guessing the process works like this:

1) There is person who calls himself Chaise Guevara.
2) I DON’T LIKE HIM COS HE LIKES FACTS!!!111 grr grr
3) Ergo, he is a member of the BNP. Quid pro quo!

“I’m not theorising.”

That’s not quite the word I’d use, no. What you’re doing is more like blathering.

84. Chaise Guevara

@ Tim and Galen

Cheers! It’s always a relief when people who aren’t idiots turn up on a Leon-infested thread and confirm that Leon is indeed the pillock I think he is.

@ Jack C

What I loved most about that was how it was immediately obvious (though not to Leon) that you were winding him up, simply because you appeared to be taking him seriously, which no serious person would do…

85. Leon Wolfeson

@89 – You have posted precisely the same attacks under a username on another site, the same username also boasts about his BNP membership.

Of course you’ll deny it and keep on posting multiple posts full of crude attacks to deliberately disrupt any possible sensible conversation between left wingers.

And yes, funny how your sock puppets are also scum. Funny like your posts about “darkies”.

Worrying advice:

“Expats seeking a happy life should consider the Nordic countries as Denmark, Norway, Finland and the Netherlands have been found to be the happiest in the world by a United Nations commissioned research report.”
http://www.expatforum.com/general-considerations/go-to-denmark-if-you-want-a-happy-life-says-un-report.html

The really curious thing is that these are high tax burden countries and they don’t possess nuclear weapons and the means of delivering such weapons.

87. Leon Wolfeson

@93 – That has more to do with the fact that you don’t need to worry about starving or freezing if you lose your job there.

88. Chaise Guevara

@ 92 Leon

“You have posted precisely the same attacks under a username on another site, the same username also boasts about his BNP membership.”

If you’re not lying, you’ll be able to name the site and the user, yes?

“Of course you’ll deny it and keep on posting multiple posts full of crude attacks to deliberately disrupt any possible sensible conversation between left wingers.”

What sensible conversations? I foolishly attempted a sensible conversation with you, which you immediately derailed by insulting me. Stupid little hypocrite.

“And yes, funny how your sock puppets are also scum. Funny like your posts about “darkies”.”

Oh, please, show me one of these posts!

89. Chaise Guevara

Seriously, Leon, in the last few days you have accused me of the following:

1) Hating compassion.

2) Being a Tory, UKIP and BNP supporter (quite a feat!)

3) Posting the same arguments and statements, to the point that it’s obviously me, under a right-wing alt on another site.

4) Writing racist things about darkies.

Show evidence for these claims, please, or admit you’re a lying sack of shit. I’m fed up of being libelled by such a disgusting excuse for a human being.

@94: “That has more to do with the fact that you don’t need to worry about starving or freezing if you lose your job there.”

My guess is that most folk in Britain are more concerned about having a warm home with food and a job than whether Britain has nuclear weapons and the means for delivering them upon selected targets.

In various international research studies, Denmark repeatedly comes out as the happiest country while the OECD confirmed that it has the highest tax burden among OECD countries. Eurostat figures also show it to be amongst the most affluent of EU countries. All that demolishes the great myth that nuclear weapons are essential for security and high tax burdens are ruinous.

There was an item about Denmark youth on the BBCR4 PM News programme on Thursday. By accounts it is thriving with a youthful government. The minister for taxation is 26 and only graduated 3 years ago.

There is much to be said for evidence-based policy as best I can tell.

91. Leon Wolfeson

@96 – I haven’t “accused” you of half those things, of course, but since you’ve emoted over my posts rather than read them you’re not aware of that. You’re still wrong on the UNSC.

@97 – That doesn’t get around the issue that reforming the UNSC, which is entirely possible this decade, is something it’s best done before removing our leverage there.

International politics is, unfortunately, non-rational.

92. Chaise Guevara

@ 98 Leon

“I haven’t “accused” you of half those things, of course”

Yes you have. You made the first accusation in another thread and the other three in this thread. You have once again forgetted that anyone reading this can falsify your claims by *reading up the thread*. For full disclosure, I have made the assumption that my fictional “funny posts about darkies” are supposed to be racist.

But ok, let’s adjust. For each accusation, please either provide evidence, or explain why I’m wrong about the accusation being an accusation. All of them, not just the ones you like.

“but since you’ve emoted over my posts rather than read them you’re not aware of that”

That’s very funny! I indeed “emoted” over your posts, it’s hard not to do so when you’re metaphorically being drenched in very stupid bile. I also read them, however. It’s possible to do both. And I was decent enough to reply to them, too, rather than cherrypicking like Leon “no I can’t be wrong no never ARRRRGGH” Wolfeson.

“You’re still wrong on the UNSC.”

Very possibly. But given that I ceded that happily many posts ago, and you (surprise!) haven’t demonstrated that I’m wrong in any case, it’s hardly the point now, is it?

No, the issue here is exactly where you get off on being such a prick. As I’m sure you’re aware, Galen, Tim and Jack would all agree.

93. So Much For Subtlety

62. IR Geek

Although the missiles themselves are built by Lockheed, owned by the US DOD and leased by the MOD (complicated relationship), the question of upgrading Trident generally relates to a contract for a new type of submarine to carry them which would almost certainly be awarded to BAe. BAe and VT also make a fortune from the extensive maintenance and support contracts that accompany any nuclear weapons systems.

Almost certainly is not certainly. But by all means. Let’s ask the French to tender.

Bob B

The option to use nuclear weapons was a rational and cost-effective credible response to the possibility of a Soviet Blitzkrieg attack across the north German plain during the decades when the Warsaw Pact countries of eastern Europe had an overwhelming superiority over NATO in tanks and other armoured vehicles.

Those times have gone with the collapse of the Soviet system and its empire in Europe at the end of the 1980s.

So … you think we need to make the world safe for conventional warfare again? The reason that people are stuck backing guerillas is because of Trident. You prefer Alamein?

A newly emerging potent threat is from cyberwarfare attacks on national computer networks.

As if annoying people is going to make any difference at all.

Nuclear weapons are useless for dealing with insurgency and cycber warfare. Who was it who said generals are always gaming on how the better fight the last war? Sadly, it makes better sense to resource this:

Sorry but no. Nuclear weapons means that anyone who pokes their head up above the level of terrorist is stupid. Get rid of the weapons and we will be dealing with Soviet-style tank columns once more.

SMFS: “So … you think we need to make the world safe for conventional warfare again? The reason that people are stuck backing guerillas is because of Trident. ”

That’s not what I said. Third Generation warfare has been surpassed by Fourth Generation or asymmetric warfare of insurgency movements against superior military powers. America’s nuclear capbility didn’t prevernt 9/11 or stop America from losing the Vietnam War. Britain’s nuclear weapons didn’t prevent 7/7.

Nuclear capability for NATO made sense when it came to deterring the possibility of a Soviet Blitzkrieg attack across the north German plain when the Warsaw Pact countries had overwhelming superiority over NATO in tanks and armoured vehicles. In the 1970s, it was seriously mooted as a NATO defense measure to put a line of impenetrable nuclear land mines across West Germany but the West Germans very understandably ruled that out.

The emerging threats to Britain now come from insurgency movements and cyber warfare attacks on computer networks. Nuclear weapons are worse than useless as a deterrent against those forms of warfare because they generate a false sense of security. It makes better sense to resource remotely controlled drones for air warfare. Significantly, America is according greater priority to defence of the Pacific – hence the creation of a new permanent US military base in north Australia for 2,500 troops.

All that said, I don’t underestimate the political pressure in Britain to build those new Trident submarines because of all the highly paid jobs that will create at taxpayers’ expense.

@105 Bob B

“Predictably, more personal abusefrom Galem10 for his lack of anything substantive to contribute to the debate about support for upgrading the Trident missile system.”

It is to laugh…..! This from a man whose idea of contributing substantively is to cut and paste screeds he’s found on wikipedia or google. as demonstrated above, there is plenty I’ve contributed to the debate about Trident upgrade… even if the hard of thinking like SMFS simply stick their fingers in their ears and come back with the lame equivalent of the “no, it isn’t so there..” response so beloved of people like you, him and the freshly minted new troll Leon.

“I suspect the Scots are ambivalent about this – as about so much else – since Britain’s nuclear subs presently operate out of the Faslane Naval Base on the west coast of Scotland. If Trident is not to be upgraded and Scotland votes for independence, presumably the remaining functions of the base will have to move south.”

A fine demonstration that you know nothing about Scotland. There is next to no support within Scotland for having nuclear weapons of any sort in Scotland, either now or in the future. We know where the subs are based, and yes come independence they will have to move south… you’re adding nothing to the debate as usual, just chewing on a brick and repeating matters discussed above.

The issue is how easy it would be, and (despite SMFS ridiculous and unjustified assertions) the evidence is that replicating the Coulport facilities in particular would represent a significant investment and take a number of years… which a post independence government in Edinburgh are unlikely to give you. Your independent nuclear deterrent would then be operationally useless.

“We need to be charitable and understanding about the Scots. With their chronic tendency towards heavy drinking, they really can’t help it. Btw try this, not from me but from the Scottish government:….”

Proving my point for me again you monomaniacal prat….. why on earth do you feel the need to embarrass yourself with these senseless diatribes about the couple of hobby horses you have? Nobody except you is convinced.

@109 SMFS

You (as usual) provide no substantive evidence for your assertions, blithely saying that the costs are trivial, and that the matters are minor. Come on then… back it up! Have you ever been to any of the sites mentioned? The Coulport facility is pretty extensive… if you think that could be up an running quickly you patently know nothing about the issue you are trolling so uselessly about.

We are of course used to your over-long and poorly argued responses, but there is little point in carrying on the debate if all you can come up with is “the costs are trivial” and the “infrastructure in minor”.

You can’t even be brought to accept an undeniable fact that a deficit exists in the amount Scotland contributes to the current defence budget, and the significantly smaller amount it receives in return, which has been proven beyond all doubt and is easily verifiable given a cursory glance at the figures and easy access to the information on-line given it’s current prominence in the Scottish independence debate.

Come back when you’ve done some actual research instead of spouting unsubstantiated opinion.

@109 SMFS

Try refuting this one from the FT for starters, then come back and tell us how trivial it would be for Faslane and Coulport to be replaced:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/20f28e12-3e0d-11e1-ac9b-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1rFK6Awdw

109. So Much For Subtlety

” But it is the legal reality. If Scotland leave, the remaining parts of Britain are heir to its treaties. Not Scotland. Scotland will have to sign up anew. ”

Vienna Convention on State Succession in respect of Treaties.

Article 34
‘… when a part or parts of a state separate to form one or more states, whether or not the predecessor ?state continues to exist… any Treaty ?in force at the date of the succession ?of states in respect of the entire territory of the predecessor state continues in force in respect of each successor state so formed’. ?

http://www.rusi.org/analysis/commentary/ref:C4DF0A2F39DAA2/
” The most pressing concern for British security interests is the implications of Scottish independence for Britain’s nuclear deterrent. Given that the UK’s entire nuclear arsenal is located in Faslane and Coulport in Western Scotland, the Scottish government’s decisions will play an immense role in Britain’s nuclear policy. The SNP have been emphatic in their opposition to nuclear weapons being based in Scotland and they would seek to remove them after independence. As the SNP manifesto suggests ‘Our opposition to the Trident nuclear missile system and its planned replacement remains firm- there is no place for these weapons in Scotland’. [7]

This creates a number of headaches for British security officials. The break up of nuclear states has happened in the past. Most notably the Ukrainian government handed over its nuclear arsenal to Russia in the aftermath of the collapse of the USSR. However, the stakes are far higher in the case of Scottish independence. Russia was not 100 per cent reliant on the Ukraine for its nuclear protection whereas the UK’s nuclear weaponry is based entirely in Scotland. As Professor William Walker suggests ‘the disarmament of Scotland would be tantamount to disarmament by the United Kingdom if Trident could not be relocated’. [8] While it is highly unlikely that Scotland will destroy the nuclear arsenal rather than handing it back to the UK, it does put the UK in a difficult position with regards to its loss of control over its own nuclear security.

Similarly relocation creates a number of challenges that are not easily resolvable. The site at Faslane is a deep water estuary that provides quick access to the Atlantic Ocean giving it key strategic importance that is very difficult to find in the rest of the UK. Alongside the natural advantages, the Faslane site has developed over time into a detailed network of support for the nuclear submarine system that would be difficult to replicate. As Professor Hew Strachan suggests ‘Whitehall would be deeply alarmed by that prospect [of nuclear relocation] because there is no immediate place to take the deterrent to’. [9]

However a few alternatives sites remain, namely Devonport and Milford Haven, although it would be a logistical nightmare to move to these sites. In Devonport space is at a premium thus it would be extremely difficult to accommodate the submarine fleet and its support network. [10] Alternatively, moving to Milford Haven would be challenging as it would be politically sensitive to move the nuclear site to Wales in the aftermath of Scottish Independence and maintain popular support for this move. The only alternative to this would be to redesign the UK nuclear warheads from submarine fleets towards air attack. However, not only would this be extremely expensive but it may cause the UK a number of difficulties with its obligations to the Non-Proliferation Treaty as this would essentially constitute a new nuclear arsenal rather than a renewal of existing supplies. Thus Scottish independence could have an immeasurable impact on the UK’s ability to provide the ultimate deterrent. ”

You may well be correct that moving the submarine nuclear arsenal would not present much logistical difficulty and expense. However, most people including the MOD consider it would be a huge undertaking even if a suitable location could be found. Probably best to use France. The problem in Britain is the lack of deep water ports. Where there is deep water there is no infrastructure, and where there is infrastructure there is no deep water. That lack of deep water ports was a major factor in the decline of British shipbuilding because they had nowhere to build the huge oil tankers and container ships required in the modern era.

@115 Richard W

Good link! I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for any reasoned analysis from the likes of SMFS and the other trolls though….. they delight in what Tim Pat Coogan the biographer of De Valera referred to as “De Valera facts”… meaning that their chosen interpretation is true, irrespective of what is actually the case.

100. Leon Wolfeson

@112 – We could just leave them there. You can clean em up.

@117 Leon

Sure that could form part of the negotiations on the post independence settlement; costs to be split pro rata on the basis of population would seem fair all things considered…. 90% for rump UK, 10% for Scotland. Simple…. rather like yourself.

I have always considered the argument that Trident gives the UK global status, because we have an independant nuclear capability, to be total rot: – Trident is totally dependant on the USA. How could we justify the cost of updating based on the notion that it somehow confers status when the whole world knows otherwise.

For interest, a bit of relevant history: When Britain’s nuclear deterrent was airborne, the strategic V-bombers carrying the nuclear bombs – notably the Vulcan bombers with a delta wing-shape which were later used in the Falklands War – were based at the Finningley RAF base near Doncaster.

This had and still has an especially extended and strengthened runway capable of handling loaded jumbo jets. In due course, the bombers were phased out, the nuclear weapons were moved away and the base was turned over to air transport, maintenance and training before it was eventually decommissioned. The previous RAF bomber base is now the Doncaster-Sheffield Robin Hood Airport:
http://www.robinhoodairport.com/

I personally know several retired RAF people who worked at RAF Finningley from when it was the base for Britain’s airborne nuclear deterrent so there is no doubt about the function of the base.

The association with Robin Hood is contested by the City of Nottingham, which also claims a connection with this armed robber and his gang. In fact, there is a lot of documented historical evidence that there was not merely one but several outlaws called Robin Hood at various times and in various places. Even so, there seems to be a strong link with an armed robber of that infamous name who originally came from Wakefield in Yorkshire and who mostly lived out in the historic forests at Barnsdale.

Anyone wondering about why all the current anniversary celebrations for the Falklands war 30 years ago? This commemorative BBC doc by Max Hastings is worth watching for a recap on understanding how we got to where we are:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01fkc3v/The_Falklands_Legacy_with_Max_Hastings/

Hastings remarks on how the Falklands War got Blair hooked on wars, which he came to see as a key to maintaining the popularity of Britain’s PMs.

We often celebrate 50-year, 75-year and centennial anniversaries but why a 30-year anniversary when most folk don’t even know the centuries in which the battles of Trafalgar (1805) and Waterloo (1815) happened – two Second Generation battles which really did change the course of world history and turned Britain into the 19th century superpower.

The relevance here is to note that Britain’s possession of nuclear weapons didn’t prevent that old-fashioned Third Generation military invasion of the Falklands by Argentina. Nuclear weapons were useless as a deterrent. The islands were recaptured in good, old-fashioned Third Generation ways.

Reputedly, during a celebratory dinner after the war was over and the Falklands recovered, the late Alan Walters, Mrs T’s personal economic adviser, remarked in a conversation that it would have been less costly in money and lives to have offered each of the Falkland Is residents £1m to resettle somewhere else.

@129 Bob B

I’m sure lots of LC regulars would have a whip round if your settle somewhere else…. about a tenner ought to do it… tho in truth that probably overstates your value by a factor of ten.

@128 Leon

Which international law would that be then eh?

You realise you can’t just make this up as you go along right?

The more you speak, the more ridiculous you make yourself look; how about going away until you’ve learnt something? It would of course be too much to expect you to engage in meaningful debate, or actually respond to any of the evidence presented rubbishing your woo woo opinions.

Nice try tho… trolls are always reduced to either calling people right wing, or getting onto their pet hobby horses like Bob B.

Keep it going Galen10, you really are proving for the benefit of all readers here just how ignorant and worthless your contributions to this debate about upgrading Britain’s nuclear deterrent are.

Have another wee dram or two.

108. douglas clark

It is pretty unclear what people actually think about upgrading Trident. I would have thought that it was pretty much an orthodoxy amongst liberals and socialists to have no truck with it. However, people that speak against nuclear weapons are accused of all sorts of revisionism, and worse.

Leon, SMFS and Bob B ought to be willing to answer a simple question. Are you for or against unilateral nuclear disarmament?

@133: “Bob B ought to be willing to answer a simple question. Are you for or against unilateral nuclear disarmament?”

No, I’m not and regard unilateral nuclear disarmament as a futile gesture which will have liitle international credibility since Britain has the technical knowledge for making nuclear weapons and will continue to posses the materials.

I’m opposed to squandering billions of taxpayers’ money on building a new generation of Trident submarines which will do nothing to address the emerging threats to national security from insurgency and terrorist movements and from cyber warfare. As a simple fact, Britain’s nuclear weapons did not deter the invasion of the Falklands in 1982 – or prevent the 7/7 terrorist bombings in London.

As previously said, possessing nuclear weapons was a credible and cost-effective response to the possibility of a Soviet Blitzkrieg attack across the north German plain when the Warsaw Pact countries had overwhelming superiority over NATO in tanks and other armoured vehicles. But that threat no longer exists. As a guard against contingencies, Britain should revert to the option of airborne delivery systems for nuclear weapons.

Unlike like Blair, Jack Straw and the late Robin Cook etc, I was never a member of CND.

110. Leon Wolfeson

@131 – Wah, wah, I haven’t read it.

No different from the Torygraph regulars.
Keep up with the hare, it’s clear you’re an anti-semite at this point.

111. Steve Williams

“Keep up with the hare, it’s clear you’re an anti-semite at this point.”

What ARE you talking about?

This comment thread is desperate. Approximately 85% of the comments could be deleted* with no loss in quality whatsoever.

*including this one, of course

112. Leon Wolfeson

@136 – Standard method of finding out how big a right-wing troll they are.

113. So Much For Subtlety

111. Bob B

That’s not what I said. Third Generation warfare has been surpassed by Fourth Generation or asymmetric warfare of insurgency movements against superior military powers. America’s nuclear capbility didn’t prevernt 9/11 or stop America from losing the Vietnam War. Britain’s nuclear weapons didn’t prevent 7/7.

To deal with your last point first, no, Britain’s nuclear weapons restricted Britain’s enemies to 7-7. America’s nuclear deterrence reduced their enemies to 9-11. Third Generation warfare has not been surpassed, it has been deterred. By nuclear weapons. Fourth Generation terrorism always fails except against those that lack the will or determination to fight it to the end. Europeans mostly. It always fails in the Third World (with the exception of Ethiopia but that was exceptional) and it has failed so far in Israel. Because those countries cannot go home like Britain could in Kenya or America could in Vietnam. We know the solution to Fourth Generation warfare – death squads. They are cheap, they are simple and they work. For those determined enough to use them.

The emerging threats to Britain now come from insurgency movements and cyber warfare attacks on computer networks.

Because of Trident. We are reduced to facing trivial threats from a bunch of clowns because we have Trident. If we didn’t people would be building tanks.

112. Galen10

The issue is how easy it would be, and (despite SMFS ridiculous and unjustified assertions) the evidence is that replicating the Coulport facilities in particular would represent a significant investment and take a number of years… which a post independence government in Edinburgh are unlikely to give you. Your independent nuclear deterrent would then be operationally useless.

No it isn’t. The fact you refuse to listen does not mean I am not telling you something you need to learn. As I keep pointing out, we used to have nuclear weapons in England. Which means the main cost associated with Coulport – the bunkers – already exist. We used to store the bombs for the V-bombers in them. They even exist in the right places given that British naval vessels used to carry a range of nuclear devices. What is more, the bunkers are nice, but they are not essential. A fence with guards with guns can work in the short term. The deep rock facility at Coulport was necessary because of the threat of a Soviet first strike. Not a present threat, or at least not a likely threat in the time it would take to dig some new ones.

Which leaves the rest of the infrastructure needed – some cranes. Anything else?

As I keep pointing out and you keep ignoring, virtually all the infrastructure for Britain’s nuclear deterrent exists in England. Except for the base for the submarines. They are built in the South, they are maintained in the South.

113. Galen10

You (as usual) provide no substantive evidence for your assertions, blithely saying that the costs are trivial, and that the matters are minor. Come on then… back it up!

You are making the claim. You defend it.

You can’t even be brought to accept an undeniable fact that a deficit exists in the amount Scotland contributes to the current defence budget

Because it is unlikely to be true.

115. Richard W

As Professor William Walker suggests ‘the disarmament of Scotland would be tantamount to disarmament by the United Kingdom if Trident could not be relocated’.

If. They are, as I keep pointing out, on submarines. Which move.

The site at Faslane is a deep water estuary that provides quick access to the Atlantic Ocean giving it key strategic importance that is very difficult to find in the rest of the UK.

And this is the nice thing about Faslane – it is a deep water estuary so that the UK’s submarines could sprint from the port to deep water in minimum time. So that there was less of a risk that the Soviet Union could get them as they broke out from their base. If the submarine has to make a long transit through shallow water, there is a better chance that Soviet hunter-killers or even surface/air assets could find them and destroy them before making it to the safety of deeper water. As people keep pointing out, the Soviet threat does not exist any more. Yes, this sort of feature is nice, but it is not necessary when we are trying to deter Iran. Which has zero ability to track and destroy British submarines off the coast of anywhere. So does that mean we cannot base them anywhere? No it does not.

The only alternative to this would be to redesign the UK nuclear warheads from submarine fleets towards air attack.

Or find somewhere else to base them. Diego Garcia perhaps. The Falklands would probably be delighted to see them. This means a longer transit to their patrol areas, but it is not an insufferable problem.

However, most people including the MOD consider it would be a huge undertaking even if a suitable location could be found.

I am not sure that is what the MOD is saying.

Probably best to use France.

The French continue to base some of their nuclear weapons at Britain. I am not sure giving them our nuclear deterrent is such a good idea.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
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    'What reasoning is there left to keep supporting #Trident?' Great piece by James Bloodworth on @LibCon http://t.co/Sr0VB74t @ObligedtoOffend

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    'What reasoning is there left to keep supporting #Trident?' Great piece by James Bloodworth on @LibCon http://t.co/Sr0VB74t @ObligedtoOffend

  13. Gordon J Millar

    'What reasoning is there left to keep supporting #Trident?' Great piece by James Bloodworth on @LibCon http://t.co/Sr0VB74t @ObligedtoOffend

  14. Gordon J Millar

    'What reasoning is there left to keep supporting #Trident?' Great piece by James Bloodworth on @LibCon http://t.co/Sr0VB74t @ObligedtoOffend

  15. Gordon J Millar

    'What reasoning is there left to keep supporting #Trident?' Great piece by James Bloodworth on @LibCon http://t.co/Sr0VB74t @ObligedtoOffend

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    'What reasoning is there left to keep supporting #Trident?' Great piece by James Bloodworth on @LibCon http://t.co/Sr0VB74t @ObligedtoOffend

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    'What reasoning is there left to keep supporting #Trident?' Great piece by James Bloodworth on @LibCon http://t.co/Sr0VB74t @ObligedtoOffend

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    What reasoning is there left to keep supporting Trident? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/KjjT1a9g via @libcon

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    What reasoning is there left to keep supporting Trident? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/KjjT1a9g via @libcon

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    'What reasoning is there left to keep supporting #Trident?' Great piece by James Bloodworth on @LibCon http://t.co/Sr0VB74t @ObligedtoOffend

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    'What reasoning is there left to keep supporting #Trident?' Great piece by James Bloodworth on @LibCon http://t.co/Sr0VB74t @ObligedtoOffend

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    'What reasoning is there left to keep supporting #Trident?' Great piece by James Bloodworth on @LibCon http://t.co/Sr0VB74t @ObligedtoOffend

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    'What reasoning is there left to keep supporting #Trident?' Great piece by James Bloodworth on @LibCon http://t.co/Sr0VB74t @ObligedtoOffend

  24. Bill Linton

    'What reasoning is there left to keep supporting #Trident?' Great piece by James Bloodworth on @LibCon http://t.co/Sr0VB74t @ObligedtoOffend

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    'What reasoning is there left to keep supporting #Trident?' Great piece by James Bloodworth on @LibCon http://t.co/Sr0VB74t @ObligedtoOffend

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    'What reasoning is there left to keep supporting #Trident?' Great piece by James Bloodworth on @LibCon http://t.co/Sr0VB74t @ObligedtoOffend

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    'What reasoning is there left to keep supporting #Trident?' Great piece by James Bloodworth on @LibCon http://t.co/Sr0VB74t @ObligedtoOffend

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    'What reasoning is there left to keep supporting #Trident?' Great piece by James Bloodworth on @LibCon http://t.co/Sr0VB74t @ObligedtoOffend

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    'What reasoning is there left to keep supporting #Trident?' Great piece by James Bloodworth on @LibCon http://t.co/Sr0VB74t @ObligedtoOffend

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    'What reasoning is there left to keep supporting #Trident?' Great piece by James Bloodworth on @LibCon http://t.co/Sr0VB74t @ObligedtoOffend

  34. Chris Blackmore

    RT @libcon: What reasoning is there left to keep supporting Trident? http://t.co/S7YGbo4h The Tories feel it's like having a monstrous dick.





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