Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

Putting the Submarine before the Missile

Jeremy Corbyn has suggested the UK could keep its Trident submarine fleet but without carrying nuclear warheads.

The Labour leader told the Andrew Marr show that protecting defence jobs was his “first priority” and there were “options” for doing this while taking a lead in global nuclear “de-escalation”.
BBC News Website, 17 January 2016 : Corbyn: UK could keep Trident submarines but without warheads

This strikes me as being as stupid as putting the cart before the horse! Without the nuclear missiles the justification for these exceptionally expensive submarines disappears.

It also worries me that it appears that the Labour leader is prepared to build these white elephants (for that is what they will be under a Corbyn Government) purely to protect the jobs of Unite members. There has to be a better way of spending the money.

Leaving aside the morality or even efficiency of Trident as a means of killing your enemies, I suspect that it is not a very efficient means of sustaining high technology jobs. Spending the equivalent on economic development elsewhere probably represents better value for money.

So being against scrapping Trident because it will cost jobs seems perverse – or block-headed.
Outside the Marginals, 27 September 2015 : Trident as a job sustaining scheme

The purpose of these very expensive submarines is to provide a covert weapons platform for launching a retaliatory strike after the UK has suffered a catastrophic first strike. Even using them as a launch platform for conventionally armed missiles is vast over-kill.

If Corbyn genuinely wants to see “global nuclear ‘de-escalation'”, he must realise that keeping a nuclear capable covert launch platform is not going to offer much confidence to those potential adversaries who we want to see give up their nuclear capabilities.

There must be better ways for keeping Len McCluskey’s members in employment – if their employment is going to determine the spending of more than £100billion. Personally I don’t think anyone should have that sort of hold over our politics.


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