British voters say scrap nuclear weapons

This video from Britain says about itself:

CND Demonstrate in Parliament Square (London) against Trident misiles.

From British daily The Guardian:

Voters want Britain to scrap nuclear weapons altogether rather than replace Trident, according to a new Guardian/ICM poll today. The result marks a sharp turnaround in public opinion amid growing debate about the cost of a new generation of nuclear weapons and the impact of conventional defence cutbacks on the war in Afghanistan.

For decades nuclear disarmament has been seen as a minority issue, with most voters assumed to favour continued investment in an independent British nuclear weapons system. But today’s poll shows that 54% of all voters would prefer to abandon nuclear weapons rather than put money into a new generation of Trident warheads, as the government plans.

Last week’s G8 summit brought suggestions that Britain might include Trident in international disarmament talks. …

Today’s figures mark a dramatic turnaround in public opinion since Trident renewal was announced by Brown three years ago. In July 2006, 51% backed renewal, while 39% opposed it. Since then support for a new Trident system has fallen by nine points while opposition has grown by 15 points.

Overall, only 42% of all voters now back renewal, according to the poll. Until now a majority of voters have always supported a British nuclear system, although one other recent ICM poll showed most people wanting to extend the life of the existing Trident system rather than spend money upgrading it.

In 2006 Gordon Brown reaffirmed Britain’s commitment to Trident, and the government won Commons backing, thanks to Tory support. A design contract is expected to be signed this September, during the parliamentary recess, and the nuclear weapons were excluded from the defence review announced last week.

The poll shows for the first time that a majority of Labour voters oppose nuclear weapons, as well as most Liberal Democrats.

On balance, 59% of Labour voters want Britain to scrap nuclear weapons, against 40% who want to replace them. In 2006 Trident renewal was backed by a majority of Labour voters. Even among Conservative voters, 41% would now rather see unilateral nuclear disarmament than a new generation of weapons. That may encourage the opposition to defer renewal as part of a package of spending cuts.

Today’s results are one consequence of the growing political battle over public spending, with retired defence chiefs, Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs suggesting that the £20bn cost of replacing Trident would be better spent on conventional forces.

See also here.

Japanese unions have joined forces with the TUC to ask British workers to sign a global petition pressing the Brown government to scrap its nuclear weapons: here.

The public wants Britain to scrap the Trident nuclear missile system but believes spending on health and education should rise each year, according to a ComRes poll for The Independent: here.

Unions and anti-nuclear campaigners have branded the Trident weapons programme a “criminal waste of money” following an opinion poll which revealed that the public want it scrapped: here.

CND has told Tory shadow defence secretary Liam Fox to “wake up” to the “real needs of the British people” after he argued that paying for nuclear weapon Trident was a necessary expense: here.

2 thoughts on “British voters say scrap nuclear weapons

  1. Pingback: Scottish peace activists block nuclear military base | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Chilean trade unionist Ernesto Leal Jimenez dies | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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