Saturday, December 02, 2006

Making your mind up

There are arguments on both sides for the retention of Britain's nuclear weapons and for it to be scrapped when the Trident boats are finally laid up in 2024 and I'm not going to rehearse them here (yet).

But the Liberal Democrats have a view on it. They want to take a lead on nuclear disarmament by errrm, keeping our nuclear weapons - just not quite so many of them.

In any case, Ming the Useless opines that we don't need to decide the future until 2014 - when the international threat will be clearer. Perhaps his crystal ball could give us the lottery numbers as well, because I don't understand the logic of that statement. Anyway, the expected service life of the Trident boats expires in 2024 or so, therefore waiting until 2014 would require additional expenditure to extend their operational capability until a replacement was available - something that the US has already decided on for its nuc boats. A replacement could take fifteen to twenty years to be ready for deployment and will require co-operation with the US (Trident took 14 years to come into UK service).

Aside from the usual Lib Dem attempt to sit on the fence so as not to offend anybody, this is also intriguing, as the party has yet to develop a policy on a Trident replacement, but Ming doesn't want party procedure to stand in the way. A consultation paper was put forward earlier this year and raised at the autumn conference, but it is still to go to a vote in the spring of 2007. The last manifesto envisaged
retaining the UK’s current minimum nuclear deterrent for the foreseeable future, until sufficient progress has been made towards the global elimination of such weapons
Perhaps it is being a little pedantic to point out that Ming has changed this policy slightly, as the current warhead total is just under 200 split between the four boats, but this is another example of him making policy on the fly and hoping that the party follows him.

Which they will. Mostly out of curiousity.

1 comment:

snowflake5 said...

Good piece. The future won't be any clearer in 2014 than it is now - it's never clear. The more reason not to take any chances.