And so we are being committed to the absurdity of a colossally expensive nuclear arsenal.
Virtually all the Tories stuck together – the blue and the red – as 472 MPs bought the imperialistic neoliberal gibberish that underpins the nonsense that is nuclear deterrence theory.
Most of you reading this will be familiar enough with the arguments against nuclear weapons. But a few aspects of the debate especially nauseated me today.
One MP, I’m not sure who, brought up (vomited if you like) the suggestion that Ukraine would have deterred Russian aggression if it had kept nuclear weapons under its control. And yet, through NATO, the USA has around 200 tactical nuclear weapons in Europe supposedly there to deter exactly such Russian aggression. They did nothing whatsoever to prevent the crisis developing and remain useless in addressing it. How on earth can nuking your near neighbours be anything but suicidal, irrespective of any response back?
Theresa May responded by agreeing with this idiotic position. Implicit in this is the belief that every country ought to aspire to joining the nuclear club. And yet that club is thankfully a very small one, although admittedly it is a worrying list of members:
- North Korea
- and, of course, UK
That is it folks. Just nine in the nuclear ‘nutters’ club. That is exactly how I have heard a number of MPs describe most of the other members of the club we are in. You have to be ‘nutters’ to waste so much public money on them when there are so many other pressing social needs. That is true in every case. You have to be ‘nutters’ to shit on your own doorstep with these abominations, and long range strikes are literally MAD – with ‘mutually assured destruction’ the only likely outcome. They are suicidal and genocidal simultaneously. Having nuclear weapons is the surest way of increasing the prospect of being a target for nuclear weapons!! This, as much as anything, explains why all-but-9 (that is the best part of 200) countries don’t have these magnets for destruction, and the vast majority have absolutely no aspiration to ever have them.
So then we get onto the ridiculous line of argument that we need to have these weapons to contend with the other nutters that may get their hands on them via the club members we regard as nuttier than us. Theresa may actually stood up in Parliament today and suggested that people who opposed this insanity were in fact, and I quote: “defending the UK’s enemies”.
Not only is this factually wrong to the point of being a disgusting slur, it also shows a disturbing disconnect from the realities of the threats we currently face. Be it the truly big threats of growing poverty and inequality, climate change and the privatisation of public assets – all exacerbated by the obscene expense of nuclear weapons systems and the promulgated by the enemy within that is the Tories advocating membership of the nuclear club; or the direct threats we face from terrorists and religious extremists, there simply cannot be any role for nuclear weapons in dealing with these threats.
Derek Johnson, Executive Director of Global Zero, a non-partisan campaign group working towards the phased elimination of nuclear weapons, nails this latter point thus:
Fortunately, in the case of non-state actors [incl. terrorists], nuclear weapons require such a significant financial and scientific infrastructure that they can’t make nuclear weapons on their own; it still takes a nation to develop them. So, the only way for non-state actors to get their hands on a bomb is either to acquire the nuclear material – highly-enriched uranium or plutonium – which is really difficult to produce, or to get their hands on a ready-made weapon.
There will always be a risk that nuclear weapons will be developed by another state or will be acquired in some way by non-state actors so long as those weapons exist. The only way to bring that risk down to zero is to drain the swamp, eliminating these weapons and all weapons-grade material.
No nuclear weapons program has ever gone undetected, not even the United States’. In a global zero future, if a so-called “rogue state” tries to develop nuclear weapons, they would be subjected to intense international isolation and pressure – as with Iran today – or even collective military action.
So pursuing a new generation of nuclear weapons is totally counter-productive in reducing the threat of terrorists obtaining nuclear materials and devices. But May knows this. Neoliberals understand full-well how efficiently such expensive programmes channel public money into the hands of big corporate players hands. Nuclear weapons are not made in entrepreneurs’ sheds like Dyson’s vacuum cleaners after all. Neoliberals, especially those involved in the military-industrial complex that lines the pockets of numerous billionaires, also know how good crises and disasters are for business. They just have to ensure that their idyllic island bolt holes are not in the line of prevailing currents and winds.
The only glimmer of sanity in the proceedings in Westminster was seeing all but one MP (the sole Scottish Tory of course) steadfastly wanting rid of Trident – even in the face of the pathetic jibes from May that it was a vote against Scottish jobs, as if gas chambers would be great job opportunities for gas fitters. Of course, ridding Scotland of the nuclear attack magnet while England and Wales retains it is not likely to be hugely beneficial. The 1986 Chernobyl disaster led to monitoring restrictions on Scottish livestock up until 2010. But at least a direct strike on Faslane could be averted I guess – with it’s facilities being moved to …… well, Milford Haven if Carwyn gets his way , putting a target on all our backs into the bargain (and with Owen Smith fighting with Theresa May for the right to press the button and get the fireworks going).
And thus we await the stench of death drifting from Westminster to South Wales, after another sobering and nauseating day in Tory/Blairite Britain.
To conclude, here is cctv of briefing session on Trident in Westminster: