Scrap British Trident nuclear weapons now

This video from Britain says about itself:

13 July 2015

Afshin Rattansi goes underground on Trident. Major General Patrick Cordingley, Commander of the Desert Rats in the first Gulf War and author of number one bestseller ‘In the Eye of the Storm’ questions why are we forking out a hundred billion for Trident’s weapons of mass destruction? And does the UK really control the outdated nuclear weapons system that the taxpayer is paying for? Plus why are we spending money on nuclear weapons ‘that have no military use’ when our armed forces are so overstretched.

By Kate Hudson in Britain:

We have never had a better opportunity to scrap Trident

Saturday 17th October 2015

Spending billions on devastating weapons we cannot use is madness. Now’s our chance to stop it, says KATE HUDSON

THIS weekend’s CND conference is its most significant since the end of the cold war.

This is a big claim but I do not feel that it is an exaggeration. I can see great possibilities for change over nuclear weapons — because we are facing a unique combination of events.

First of all we are at a once in a generation decision point.

The last time we had the opportunity to protest against — and potentially prevent — the building of a new nuclear weapons system was in the early 1980s.

Thatcher decided to build the first Trident submarines at the same time as she agreed to the US putting cruise missiles in Britain.

Next year Parliament is set to vote on whether or not Thatcher’s Trident system is replaced, the so-called Main Gate decision on whether to start cutting the metal on the new subs.

This vote was promised in 2007 by the Labour government as it pushed the first Trident replacement vote through Parliament for the concept and design phase for new subs.

This second bite of the cherry was reportedly necessary to make many Labour backbenchers vote for Trident.

Even with that promise, there was still a huge backbench rebellion.

But ministers are happy to bandy around assertions that they will replace Trident anyway. And they may try to push it through before Christmas, according to kite-flying articles in last weekend’s press.

Of course that decision point has been long expected.

The totally unexpected and potentially transformatory factor in the mix is the election of Jeremy Corbyn as new leader of the Labour Party.

As is well known, he is a lifelong CND member, is opposed to Trident and is taking the Labour Party into a debate, the outcome of which is likely to be an anti-Trident position.

Even if there are insufficient numbers to defeat a government motion, this would end the cross-party consensus which the Prime Minister may deem necessary to push Trident through.

Corbyn has said that if party policy changes, once in government Trident replacement will be cancelled.

But Trident has already been a significant political factor in British politics for the last couple of years because Scotland, which hosts Trident submarines and weapons at Faslane and Coulport, is opposed in its significant majority to Trident.

The Scottish government is opposed to Trident and virtually all Scottish MPs in Westminster are opposed to Trident.

A Westminster vote to impose Trident replacement on Scotland will absolutely lack legitimacy. Such a vote is likely to trigger a second independence referendum. And there is nowhere for it to go elsewhere in the UK.

During the coalition government years, the Lib Dems actually made some attempts to shift Britain’s nuclear posture, away from four subs on continuous armed at sea patrol to fewer subs only out on armed patrol in times of danger.

What they think now matters less, but their conference recently agreed that they would vote against Trident replacement in Parliament.

They are not exactly sure what they want instead of full-scale replacement. But although they are now small they should not be written off in the Trident debate. They are down but not out.

Of huge importance is the fact that for many years there has been a consistent majority — shown by the polls but denied by pro-Tridenters — against Trident, across civil society and from all walks of life and political persuasion.

From military figures who think its opportunity cost (the alternatives you lose if you plump for it) is too high for conventional weapons, from Major General Patrick Cordingley to the Tory chair of the defence select committee Crispin Blunt MP.

Of course there are trade unions, anti-austerity campaigns and faith communities, and the anti-Trident, anti-austerity bloc that featured strongly in the general election, even if it didn’t translate in all case into seats: the Green Party, SNP and Plaid Cymru, as well as the SDLP from Northern Ireland that is firmly against.

And, completely unreported here in Britain, there is an enormous movement of over 100 states globally — yes states, not movements — demanding that a global ban treaty is introduced to outlaw nuclear weapons.

So that adds up to a pretty powerful case for the significance of this moment in the life of the anti-nuclear movement.

We have a genuine opportunity to win the struggle against the quite extraordinarily anachronistic approach of the government: insisting that nuclear weapons are necessary for our security when quite clearly they don’t meet contemporary challenges like terrorism, climate change, pandemics and cyber warfare.

The illogic of “deterrence” seems more bizarre than ever: we have nuclear weapons in order not to use them? What absurdity to rest Britain’s national security and the future of the planet on a game of bluff.

Come and join us for the first public debate on this issue since Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party. Times are changing.

Kate Hudson is general secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Scrapping Trident: Strategising for Success in 2016 takes place tomorrow — Sunday October 18 at the Arlington Conference Centre. Find out more at

Trident: Cost of replacing ageing nuclear submarine fleet has increased by £6bn. Ministry of Defence puts cost of four new nuclear submarines at £31bn as Government sets out decade-long defence plan: here.

27 thoughts on “Scrap British Trident nuclear weapons now

  1. Pingback: Scrap British Trident nuclear weapons now | Dear Kitty. Some blog | sdbast

  2. Monday 19th october 2015

    posted by Luke James in Britain

    JEREMY CORBYN’S battle to end Labour’s support for Trident was boosted yesterday as shadow foreign office minister Catherine West threw her weight behind his campaign.

    The Labour leader defied critics of his anti-nuclear stance to accept a position as CND vice-president on Saturday, declaring himself “very honoured” at the group’s conference.

    And, amid the crucial debate over Trident within Labour, Ms West rallied behind Mr Corbyn in the first speech by a shadow minister at CND conference in years.

    Addressing the event’s “scrapping Trident” rally on his behalf, she said: “Politics is the language of priorities.

    “Which is why we must question the government spending £100 billion on an anachronistic weapons system that may never deal with today’s security threats.

    “Surely some of that £100bn would be better spent in tackling climate change, fast becoming a factor in people’s security in the poorest parts of the world, rather than a nuclear submarine system that potentially compromises rather than enhances our security.”

    Trident renewal was not debated at Labour conference last month but is included in the party’s defence policy review.

    Shadow defence secretary Maria Eagle, who is leading the review, is opposed to unilateral nuclear disarmament.

    But Ms West argued yesterday that Trident would not prevent security risks facing Britain.

    She said: “The dangerous mix of drought, famine and Islamic extremism pose a threatening question which spending £100bn on a submarine fails to answer.”

    The shadow minister called on the peace movement to take part in Labour’s “push for a more considered approach to national security which matches resources to our national priorities.”

    Mr Corbyn also won cross-party support for his position yesterday from Green Party deputy leader Amelia Womack.

    David Cameron has claimed Mr Corbyn represents a “threat to national security” because he has ruled out launching a nuclear attack if he becomes PM.

    But Ms Womack argued that it was Mr Cameron who posed a “threat to international security” by “brazenly” declaring he would press the red button.

    “Imagine if he was leader of a country in the Middle East,” she said.

    “Such a declaration of nuclear eagerness from a non-European country would have them placed on the axis of evil and a military invasion from the West would be imminent.”


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  4. Tuesday 3rd November 2015

    posted by Joana Ramiro in Britain

    US has finger on button, soldier says, as Eagle dismisses Scots Trident vote

    A RETIRED senior army officer has rubbished claims that Britain’s nuclear arsenal is “independent” as the shadow defence secretary denied that Scottish Labour’s vote to reject Trident would change British party policy.

    Former 2nd Division commander Major General Patrick Cordingley argued that the US controls all British nuclear operations and that disarmament would affect the relationship between the two countries.

    “There is a possibility that they’ll cut all the information off that we get from them because we share our nuclear knowhow,” Maj Gen Cordingley told Russia Today journalist Afshin Rattansi.

    “You must remember that they control everything about our nuclear deterrent, we can’t fire it without them.”

    He slapped down politicians such as former Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy who claim that the British nuclear deterrent is independent.

    “They would have to say that. It is simply not true, the control over firing these things would be the American president,” Maj Gen Cordingley said.

    “We could simply not press the button and fire one ourselves, we just can’t do it, I promise you.”
    Scottish Labour voted during its annual conference in Perth on Sunday to scrap Britain’s part in the Trident nuclear missile programme.

    An opportunity to form similar policy on the British level was missed when delegates to the British Labour conference voted not to put Trident on the agenda.

    And shadow defence secretary Maria Eagle said yesterday that Labour’s policy to replace Trident like-for-like would remain despite the Scottish vote.

    Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, however, welcomed the Scottish decision.

    A new nuclear missile programme is set to cost Britain £167 billion.

    The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) welcomed Maj Gen Cordingley’s comments.

    “What Maj Gen Cordingley says comes as no surprise — the assertion that Trident is independent has always been absurd,” said CND general secretary Kate Hudson.

    “With Scottish Labour now opposed to Trident replacement what more evidence do we need that there is a sea change in attitudes towards nuclear weapons affecting all parts of society and across the political spectrum?”


  5. Monday 2nd November 2015

    posted by Morning Star in Britain

    Delegates vote by 70 per cent to scrap Trident nuclear weapons. By Zoe Streatfield in Perth

    A HUGE victory for peace was won yesterday when Scottish Labour members voted overwhelmingly to scrap Britain’s nuclear weapon.

    Both the trade union and constituency Labour Party (CLPs) sections voted to reject Trident renewal by an overwhelming 70 per cent.

    CND general secretary Kate Hudson called it “another nail in the coffin” for Trident and said it gave Jeremy Corbyn “an enormous mandate to lead the Labour Party in a new direction opposing nuclear weapons.”

    Mr Corbyn hailed the vote as a “clear sign that Labour’s democracy has opened up.

    “Scottish Labour Party members have spoken,” he said. “That will now feed into the wider UK Labour debate and review of defence policy.”

    Glasgow Southside CLP delegate Stephen Low warned that Trident’s purpose was to “ultimately detonate a nuclear warhead above a city, killing everyone in its radius.”

    Mr Low said that the nuclear weapons system was something “we do not need and cannot afford” and told conference that a country “where children rely on foodbanks” should have other priorities instead of spending a “bewildering” £100 billion renewing the Trident.

    Addressing concerns about job losses in the industry, Mr Low said that Trident would cost 20-25 per cent of the overall defence budget and argued that Trident, which produced a small return in job creation for its cost, would only be renewed at the expense of other jobs in the defence industry.

    However, acting regional secretary for GMB Scotland Gary Smith attacked defence diversification plans as “pie in the sky.”

    Mr Smith argued that the motion failed to give any firm commitments about what these jobs would look like and what terms and conditions workers could expect.

    And he vowed that GMB, which represents workers in the defence industry, would continue to “defend workers up and down this country whose jobs depend on the renewal of Trident.”

    Jackie Baillie MSP echoed similar concerns, saying that up to 13,000 skilled jobs were at risk if Trident were to be scrapped, having a devastating impact on her local community.

    However, Unite Scotland regional secretary Pat Rafferty, whose union also represents defence workers, called for conference to support the motion.

    Mr Rafferty argued that ditching Trident must go “hand in hand” with diversification and argued that the billions spent in scrapping Trident could be put to this purpose.

    He welcomed the motion’s clear commitment to a diversification programme, arguing that it must be “properly resourced and involve workers and their trade unions at the heart of discussions.”

    The motion is now formal Scottish Labour policy and should automatically be included in the manifesto for next year’s Scottish Parliament elections because it won by more than two-thirds of the vote.

    But leader Kezia Dugdale and much of her shadow cabinet are now out of step with the new position and they will ultimately decide what goes into the manifesto.

    The new position will give Mr Corbyn further authority to press for the Westminster Labour Party to change its position.


  6. Trident policy

    Shadow defence secretary Maria Eagle is correct within the letter of the law to say that the overwhelming decision of Scottish Labour’s conference doesn’t change party policy on Trident.

    But she knows that the 70 per cent majority opposing replacement of the submarine nuclear weapons delivery system is in tune with both Jeremy Corbyn and the 250,000 members and supporters who voted for him as leader.

    Recent disclosures that the true cost of replacement would be over £130 billion will probably swell opposition throughout the Labour Party.

    Trade unions will always defend their members’ jobs. It’s a large part of why they exist, but there can be no veto on party policy by any section of Labour’s membership.

    Defence workers’ fears over future employment must act as a spur to the party to engage in research such as that deployed in recent years by Scottish CND to identify areas of skilled work to replace military contracts.


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