Tuesday 24 January 2017

Trident missile failure - Can we have our money back please Donald?

If what I read is to be believed, the Trident missile test that failed last year was the first test of the system for four years. Like many people, I am not against the UK having some sort of independent nuclear capability, but I have long been of the opinion that Trident was the totally wrong solution. My objections to it are

1. It is not independent, we rely on the USA for the technology.
2. It is not value for money. If deterence is the purpose, we could achieve that far more cheaply.
3. It is not fit for purpose. It was designed for the cold war, which ended in 1990.
4. It is too inflexible. A mnstrous one trick pony, which has no obvious target amongst the many threats we face.

I guess I can now add to the list, the fact that it doesn't work. I am not sure that really bothers me. If ever Theresa May had to authorise the Navy to fire the bloody thing, I can be fairly certain I'm dead. I'm not altogether sure that incinerating some bloke having his breakfast in Moscow will really make the situation any better. As Russians seem to own half of the real estate in London, one has to wonder why they would want to nuke us, but I am sure there are a few nutcases on both sides who positively dream of such a prospect.

The more likely threats to me as a Londoner come from small terror cells in the middle east and elsewhere. To take out such groups with a nuke is a ridiculous concept. Whilst I've heard several pub bores over the last dozen years say we should simply "nuke anywhere that Al Quada and ISIS are based", any sane and rational person would know that such a suggestion would achieve nothing apart from killing millions of innocent people and demonstrating that the bad men were right about us all along. Given that most terror groups plotting against the UK are already here and living amongst us, it would seem a pretty stupid idea all round. Then there are what we define as "rogue nations". The chief bogey man seems to be North Korea. I've yet to see a credible case where they would unilaterally launch and attack, with weapons they don't actually posses yet on the UK.

I tend to agree with the former head of the RAF who suggested scrapping Trident and buying a fleet of nuclear capable bomber planes. This would create jobs, be flexible, cost far less, help us develop modern avionic technology and give us something which could be reused for other functions. The idea of a deterrent is that the other party knows that there is a possibility of terrible consequences for actions. The case for Trident has always been that it is a more reliable system than an aircraft launched system, but clearly this has been blown out of the water.

The sad truth is that we've paid the yanks an arm and a leg for the system. It has now been shown to be defective. Theresa May is nipping over to see Donald Trump and so why not start the conversation by asking for our money back for Trident. With the NHS in crisis, school budgets on the brink and the economy about to take a Brexit induced nose dive, it would be quite useful. Mind you, with the way the current government are mismanaging the country, it may well be that in a few years we won't need Trident anyway, because any hostile state will think there is nothing worth nuking.

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