Why do we need Trident? No really, why do we need Trident?January 14 2016
Trident was initially agreed by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the US President Jimmy Carter and in 1980 Margaret Thatcher announced her government’s intentions to replace the UK’s nuclear weapons. The total cost was £5 billion in 1980. The total number of submarines leased from the US to the UK was four.
In case you don’t know what Trident is; it is the United Kingdom’s nuclear weapon structure. The current fleet has a total of four submarines potentially increasing to six. Each submarine carries up to 8 missiles on board and each missile carries five nuclear warheads. One of the nuclear warheads is roughly eight times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima which killed over 140,000 civilians. The current government is in favour of increasing the fleet to six submarines and upgrading the current fleet at a cost in excess of 100 billion pounds.
That same amount of money would be enough to fund A&E services for 40 years; create 150,000 jobs for new nurses; build 30 thousand new primary schools or cover tuition fees for 4 million students. These numbers prove what we knew already and that is when David Cameron said: “we are all in this together” that it really is total bo**ocks. The Trident programme was agreed during the cold war with Russia and so Trident must simply be a deterrent? Is it worth spending 100 billion pounds on a deterrent when that money could be used to create a lot of social housing, cancel tuition fees in all of the UK not just Scotland, creating more jobs for nurses the list of options are simply endless.
So who is Trident defending us against? This is a question that no one has an answer to too. The enemy when the United Kingdom developed our first nuclear weapon was the Soviet Union which was split up into different countries at that time. Obviously there is the issue of North Korea but none of their nuclear warheads are within a reachable distance and Iran hasn’t developed any nuclear weapons.
Next question is whether they are a deterrent? In theory yes but simply no, if you think about it, it increases our risk because it is proving that we as a nation think our security depends on nuclear weapons which will cause other nations to consider whether they need them as well. We are not within firing range of any other nations with nuclear warheads unlike India and Pakistan who are in more danger than when they didn’t have nuclear warheads.
South Africa have disarmed their nuclear weapons and it is time for the British public to tell the British government we are not in favour of nuclear weapons, but that we are in favour of creating more nursing jobs and more social housing. We are not going to stand for our money being wasted on a nuclear deterrent. I believe that we could lead the way in showing that every country that has nuclear weapons can disarm.
Nationally, the CWU is affiliated to CND and has conference policy in opposition to the renewal of Trident