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Response to Lords, Admirals and Mandarins for the Bomb

There are many reflections of the referendum campaign in the current election battle. One example is Lord Robertson forecasting the end of the world, if we don't renew Trident. This week a group of noble Lords have put down their glasses of finest champagne for long enough to scribble a letter to the Times, insisting that the common man and woman must dip deep into their pockets to find the £100 billion that is needed to buy new nuclear weapons. 


Their letter says that the survival, the very existence of Britain will be under threat if we do not, next year, give the go-ahead for the construction of new nuclear-armed submarines. But the reality is very different. Spending on our children and on healthcare will be under threat if we spend billions on Weapons of Mass Destruction. Trident is an American system. It is, in political and practical terms, inconceivable that the missiles would ever be launched without approval from Washington. We cannot squander our children's future for the myth of an "independent nuclear deterrent". 

The last two names on the Times' letter are those of Sir David Omand and Sir Kevin Tebbit. Both men have been at the heart of the shadowy world of British intelligence, Trident and the Special Relationship with the US. They were both uncomfortable when they were exposed to the glare of publicity following the mysterious death of Government scientist David Kelly in 2003. Kelly had told a journalist that the intelligence underlying the case for war against Iraq was seriously flawed. He took his own life after his name was made public by the Ministry of Defence. Omand was Coordinator for Intelligence and Security in Tony Blair's government and a former head of the GCHQ spy station. Tebbit is another a former Director of GCHQ and he was the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence in 2003. After the bloody fiasco of the invasion of Iraq we should not be taking advice from Omand and Tebbit about what is in our future best interest. 

The Times' letter warns - "a decision not to go ahead would effectively end Britain's nuclear deterrent .. patrolling would have to stop immediately". If there is a Labour government after next week's election, they may be tempted to kick the Trident decision into the long grass.  If an Ed Milliband government approves the renewal of Trident on schedule, before elections to the Scottish Parliament in May 2016, they will be writing the last line on the suicide note of the Scottish Labour Party. But the Lords, Admirals and Mandarins say that it is now or never. For them, no delay is possible. 

The people on the streets in Scotland are not alone in their rejection of nuclear Weapons of Mass Destruction. Following a series of major international conferences on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons there is a new initiative, supported by 78 nations, that calls for a legal instrument to ban the bomb. Lord Robertson and his colleagues  want to chain the next generation to the dangerous ideology of the past. It is time to throw their false doctrine of nuclear deterrence into the dustbin of history.


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