Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Surely there are better ways to spend £179,000,000,000 ...

My article in tomorrow’s Cornish Guardian looks back at the recent House of Common’s vote on Trident. It is similar to a recent blog entry, but is here for the sake of completeness.

It will be as follows:

Image result for cnd trident
MPs last week voted by 472 votes to 117 to renew the Trident nuclear weapons programme and push on with the manufacture of a new generation of nuclear submarines.

Almost all Tory MPs voted for renewal, with only one Conservative taking the opposite view. The majority of Labour MPs (140) also backed the position of Theresa May’s Government.

But I was pleased to see MK’s sister parties (the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru) at the very forefront of the opposition to Trident, along with the Lib Dems, Northern Ireland’s Social Democratic and Labour Party and the single Green MP. It was, though, disappointing that less than 25% of Labour MPs opposed nuclear re-armament.

It will surprise no-one that, as a member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) for about 25 years, I was very saddened by the outcome of the debate. I felt it was another sad day for British politics and showed the inappropriate priorities of the political establishment in Westminster.

I strongly believe that we should be working to rid the globe of all nuclear weapons, so that we can make the World a safer and more secure place.

Indeed, the SNP’s Angus Robertson summed it up for me when he said that “it would be both morally and economically indefensible for the UK government to commit to spending hundreds of billions of pounds on weapons of mass destruction.”

The United Kingdom is one of only two countries in Western Europe which hold nuclear weapons. I can see no logical or strategic reason why this need continue. For the sake of the planet and all of its inhabitants, we cannot allow such destructive weapons to ever be used and it would be better if they did not exist at all.

It is especially unpardonable that many of those politicians wishing to spend billions on Trident are the same people who have unleashed devastating cuts to our vital public services, which continue to be greatly under-funded.

CND has estimated that the lifetime costs of Trident would be a massive £205 billion, while the single Conservative MP who opposed Trident – Crispin Blunt, the Chairman of the influential Foreign Affairs Committee – told the Commons that these costs would be £179 billion.

Just think how much good £179,000,000,000 would do if it was instead spent on social housing, job creation, education, health, policing, community groups and so much more.

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