10 March 2007

Beyond Trident

Credit: Defense Visual Information CenterJust this morning, while out canvassing ahead of May's local elections (is there any other way to spend a sunny Saturday morning?!), I was discussing the pros and cons of Britain maintaining its own nuclear defence with a very traditional Conservative voter who felt that we have been reduced to a "small minnow" in the global pond. Interesting, then, to come home to the news that Labour MP Jim Devine has announced that he will resign as a ministerial aide in protest over Wednesday's Commons vote on replacing the Trident nuclear weapons system.

However, as I wrote in The Times last November, the global threat that filled the ideological vacuum left after Communism's collapse - namely, Islamism - is one that the world's leaders are still only now beginning to realise we face. Moreover, today's threat is even more poisonous than was Communism as it taps into the deeper roots of God and religion.

It is precisely because the security threat this presents every nation in the world is so very different to anything that we have faced before and, further, because we no more know what threats we may face two decades from now than we could have predicted two decades ago those we now confront that extending the life of Trident is crucial for both our country's future defence and the contribution that we can yet make to security throughout the world.


No2Nuclear said...

What about yesterday's Commons Defence Select Committee report ("The Future of the UK’s Strategic Nuclear Deterrent"), backed by the Baptist Union, Methodist Church and United Reformed Church, claiming that ministers have failed to answer fundamental questions about plans to renew the Trident nuclear missile system, including its true cost, why a decision must be taken now, and who it is meant to deter? How would extending or replacing Trident be compatible with our supposed commitment to nuclear non-proliferation?

The Difference said...

No2Nuclear, I would respond by noting, firstly, that the Church does not have a single position on this - the Bishop of Rochester begins his case in the Telegraph, "Once again the General Synod of the Church of England has been wrong-footed by passing a last-minute motion declaring the renewal of Trident to be unethical. The original motion had been carefully thought-out and was supported by documents setting out the situation facing the United Kingdom and asking probing and intelligent questions about the Government's intentions. Instead, the Church has now been left in a position which can be seen as mere moralising and trying to dictate defence policy." Secondly, as to the DSC's questions, I think Margaret Beckett answers most of those in today's Times (here).