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Politics

You say disarmament, I say renewal

81 replies

studentmadwife80 · 09/04/2010 09:46

Why is it when the USA and Russia do something amazing, a pledge to reduce nuclear weapons, does our government refuse to mention, during budget announcements, the almost £100billion on renewing nuclear weapons. Surely all the closures to the NHS, increased classroom sizes, unemployment, and university costs could all be aided if we followed suit and saved this money.

Nuclear weapons are the reason our troops originally went to Irag, hello they were in our backyard all along!!
Surely everyone here can think of a million, if not 100 billion better things to spend that money on!

Both Brown and Cameron want Trident renewal, but Clegg doesn't! Maybe we need to make sure Labour and Tories know we don't want these weapons either!!

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Nanabear · 09/04/2010 10:17

I grew up near Stirling and go home often where they move these big warheads. I know the SNreams quite a few of my Scottish friends are not happy about being a target for terroist attack either!

Nanabear · 09/04/2010 10:19

Sorry "The SNP and quite a few of my friends" is what I meant to type, I am 63!! That's my excuse

scaryteacher · 09/04/2010 11:22

WMDs were the reason we went into Iraq, and that is a term that covers chemical and biological weapons, not just nuclear.

I want to keep Trident thanks.

Strix · 09/04/2010 11:27

I would vote for renewal. Anyone who trusts Russia is a fool.

choosyfloosy · 09/04/2010 11:27

I would love to see Trident go but then I would quite like to see an end to a professional army so I am a freak and I know for sure no party would win with those policies.

anastaisia · 09/04/2010 11:56

hmmmm, this is something I really struggle with because I am very much a violent action is an absolute last resort to defend your home and family type of person. But I do recognise the need to have adaquate defences to do that on a country wide level.

Its the thing I find myself nodding along to both sides arguements on.

Ideally (to me) we would all agree to disarm almost entirely - with an agreement to pool the small retained forces/weapons if another country tried to take hostile action against ANY other country. That is not getting involved in the politics of it all - only preventing violent action and making them sort it out some other way; bit like parenting toddlers!

Realistically - that will never (or never in the forseeable future) happen so it makes sense to be able to have the fire and man power to be a major player in disputes.

It makes my head hurt

studentmadwife80 · 09/04/2010 12:38

But how can you want trident renewal? Not even our own military want it. It's a cold war weapon that can't even be used. We need that kind of money being spent on equipment that can protect our troops. And these weapons are indiscriminatory. Have you forgot about chernobyl?

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scaryteacher · 09/04/2010 13:56

Pardon me, our military do want it - the Generals may not want it in it's current form because they are ARMY and the current deterrent is submarine based and delivered and therefore NAVY. If the Army or the RAF were offered it and the method of delivery, they'd take your arm off for it believe me. It's about turf war here and share of the MoD budget.

We need it; it kept the balance of power and the peace last century and still does today imo. Strix is right, Russia is rearming, especially it's submarines, Putin hasn't gone anywhere.

studentmadwife80 · 09/04/2010 15:45

But how is nuclear weapons the answer. I just think that £97billion is way to much to spend on something our military say will be absolute in 5 years time. Threats are most likely to centre around international terrorism, failed states, and pandemic diseases. What use are Cold-War weapons against these kinds of threats? I much rather see the money spent on equipment which our armed forces genuinely need and find useful.
And as an angry teacher surely you'd prefer smaller class sizes and better support then equipment being built that could fall into the wrong hands or be targeted by outside terroists!

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longfingernails · 09/04/2010 15:49

I think the issue isn't really about nuclear deterrence, it's about whether we can justify our permanent membership of the UN security council.

Being a major nuclear power, with an independent, submarine-based deterrent, is one of the few things keeping us there.

That influence in the world alone is worth renewal of Trident to me. Though I think they should explore trying to extend the life of the existing fleet for as long as possible first.

Strix · 09/04/2010 16:36

at "something our military say will be absolute in 5 years time"

Freudian slip?

I'm not sure why you called her an "angry teacher" , but surely teachers are allowed to have views on military / political matters as well as opinions on teaching arrangements.

Getting rid of nuclear weapons will not make the world safer. It will make us weaker.

scaryteacher · 09/04/2010 17:13

'Threats are most likely to centre around international terrorism, failed states, and pandemic diseases. What use are Cold-War weapons against these kinds of threats? I much rather see the money spent on equipment which our armed forces genuinely need and find useful.'

The problem with defence procurement is that no-one knows what the threats are going to be in the future. You don't plan and put in train equipment purchasing for the next conflict - you are trying to second guess at least 20-30 years down the line, and unless you have a crystal ball, no-one knows what the geo-political situation is going to be. Failed states? Have a look at Pakistan, it's rapidly going that way, and is nuclear. What makes you think that terrorists don't have nuclear weapons? What happened to all the suitcase bombs that disappeared from Russia post war? Look at the way Litvenenko was killed.

The nuclear submariners do find having submarines useful!

AFAIK none of the equipment procured for HM Forces has yet fallen into the wrong hands, and they have lived with being targeted by terrorists for at least 50 years, so they are used to it and plan accordingly. I do not want to see the education budget enhanced at the expense of the already underfunded and strained defence budget.

I'm in total agreement with LFN, and yes, they are looking at extending the life of the current fleet. I think 2 of the bombers have had refits so far, so there are another 2 to go, if another hasn't been done already.

scaryteacher · 09/04/2010 17:22

Oh yes, Chernobyl was NOT about nuclear weapons - it was a reactor that was not properly maintained and operated, hence the accident. You need to distinguish between reactors and weapons - different animals.

studentmadwife80 · 09/04/2010 17:37

But having weapons like these are pointless! Mine are bigger than yours is not a way to keep our country safe. Terroists live amongst us, how can you 'nuke' them?! And what kind of world do you want to live in!?

The UK 2009 budget deficit is pretty much £90 billion! And you think a further £97 billion of the taxpayers' money (mine, yours, your friends', my nan's etc.) on Trident is necessary? So when we don't have enough money to fund our schools or hospitals properly, provide a decent pension for the elderly, offer a humane cold weather payment system to the people who die each year in the winter, and so on it will be fine. Just say to them, "Don't worry, there's a fantastic, nuclear-powered, shiny, macho, big black submarine with loadsa warheads (which we won't use of course) sneaking around the UK waters to protect you from any madmen who want to fire nuclear weapons at us! "Whew!" They will say - "That's alright then."

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studentmadwife80 · 09/04/2010 17:39

And Chernobyl was nuclear!!! Doesn't matter if it's a reactor or weapon. It kills, mutates, travels in our atmosphere. Speak to people in Wales.

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scaryteacher · 09/04/2010 18:08

No, having weapons like Trident is not pointless. It is like having level term insurance for your mortgage. You hope you won't need it, but it is there if you do. It is not a case of mine is bigger than yours, more a case of 'you can mess with us so far, but no further'. The threat of MAD kept the post war peace in the 20th century throughout the Cold War, so it has been proved that having Polaris/Trident is worth it, and for me, having a nuclear deterrent is necessary, especially as our relationship with the US is in some doubt.

I'd like to know where you got the £97 billion from, and if that is for new boats, boats plus weapons, is this whole of life costs or just the initial set up? If Trident isn't replaced, over what period of time are these savings made?

Submarines aren't shiny by the way.

The government has responsibilities and the foremost of those is defence of the realm. Trident is part of that. If we are not safe and as secure as possible, then the Government are not doing their job. There are other areas in the budget where saving should be made to fund the other areas you mention. The social security budget is way more than the entire defence budget each year. I bet a fraud crack down would yield impressive savings.

As for nuclear - you can't make it go away. It will be the way forward for energy generation in the UK, as it is here on the continent. You get more radiation from living on Dartmoor than you do from being on a submarine.

IReadCookeryBooksInBed · 09/04/2010 18:26

'It's a cold war weapon that can't even be used.' Studentmadwife what do you mean by that? Of course they can be used.

I'm for renewal. The we have nuclear weapons as a deterrent. The reason why we don't want a lot of other states to have nuclear weapons is because they threaten to nuke other nations just for existing.

studentmadwife80 · 09/04/2010 18:33

I think my argument with you has reached an end, I sincerely hope you are not right in that nuclear weapons are the future for mankind, cause really what kind of life is living in fear.

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scaryteacher · 09/04/2010 18:40

I'd be more scared without Trident than with it. The world seemed much safer to me during the Cold War than it does now.

The problem is that the technology is out there now - you can't unmake what has been made. Even if we had multi lateral disarmament, the knowledge is there and can be used again.

studentmadwife80 · 09/04/2010 18:40

What do you mean!!?? Do you actually think we can use these weapons?? They are indiscriminatory weapons that will kill families living in war, and continue to kill and cause teratogenic effects on generations to come. I'm really shocked at these responses and now even more worried about the future of this country.

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StewieGriffinsMom · 09/04/2010 18:41

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PfftTheMagicDragon · 09/04/2010 18:55

Ahhhh stewie, but we are decent people therefore we can have them and others can't...

IReadCookeryBooksInBed · 09/04/2010 18:57

We don't plan on lobbing them at anyone. The idea is that you have them to stop people lobbing them at us, because they know we can lob them back.

Unlike some countries we would only ever use them if they were used against us (or probably the US).

StewieGriffinsMom · 09/04/2010 19:01

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scaryteacher · 09/04/2010 19:18

Show me a weapon that is not indiscriminate. Weapons, including WMDs in all their forms are morally neutral as things in themselves; they can't, being things, discriminate any more than can a chair or a car. It is the humans that use the weapons who can discriminate or not.

What part of my earlier post did you not understand? I felt safer during the Cold War than I do now as the world was a safer place due to the implicit threat of MAD; and we knew that it was East (USSR and Warsaw Pact) versus West (US, NATO and Allies). The lines were clearly drawn. They are not now.

The genie is out of the bottle with how to build nuclear devices and other WMDs. You can't get rid of that knowledge. Even if we all got rid of our nuclear weapons, someone somewhere could and probably would make more. Even if all the knowledge of how to make these weapons was destroyed, someone, now it has been done, will work out how to do it again.

Yes, if it came to it, and the order came from the PM, then those weapons would be used; and the RN would fire them.

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