In this piece, Imogen Tyreman replies to James Aspinall’s Pro-Trident piece. Imogen was a South West delegate to the Young Labour 2016. Previously, she was the Campaigns’ Officer for her Amnesty International Student Group and the Women and Marginalised Genders’ Officer at Royal Holloway University. She has recently set up a new blog focusing on women from history and also runs one focusing on current affairs here. In her spare time she enjoys playing the trumpet and bassoon.
The issue of nuclear weapons has never been an agreeable topic. The first march against nuclear weapons in the UK took place in 1958 from London to Aldermaston. 50 years later, the topic is still causing controversy both between and within Parties. Here, I set out 9 reasons we should not renew Trident.
1. It’s not independent
Like most things, just because the Tories say it all the time, doesn’t make it true. In 2005, defence specialist Doctor Julian Lewis MP admitted that without support from the USA the possibility of trident ‘becomes very slim to the point of invisibilty’. Although submarines and warheads are made in the UK, the missiles themselves are dependent on the USA and we pay an annual £12m towards this. Oh, and the US also controls our access the gravity and weather data that’s vital if we ever want to actually launch the weapons.
2. War has changed
Edwin Bramall, former Chief of Staff of the British Army and Chief of Defence Staff wrote in an article, “Today, I do not believe that the circumstances on which the rationality of our deterrent were based apply. The present threat is no longer interstate but from a multiplicity of ill-defined non-state players. Our deterrent has not, does not and could not counter such threats.”
3. Britain has changed
Let’s be honest, we’re not the world power we once were, and therefore less of a threat to other countries. Instead of letting fear rule us, why not lead the way to a more peaceful world where we don’t have to rely on mutually assured destruction to get along?
4. It’s not a mandate of patriotism to support Trident
If we truly cared about our country, we would invest time and energy into making it better and improving relations with others, rather than ensuring we’re perceived as a perpetual threat.
5. We can make better use of our workers
6. The overall cost
Even members of the Conservative Party, such as Crispin Blunt, have said that we’ve reached the point where Trident is no longer value for money. Whether you take the £23.4bn figure given by the MoD or the £100bn from CND, there’s no way we can justify it in a time of such austerity.
7. It’s illegal
Article 96 from the International Court of Justice states that to actually deploy trident would break international law. Though a good argument, I’m somewhat skeptical of it; if we launch trident it probably means there’s no one left to care about the legality of it anyway.
8. It goes beyond a weapon of war
Fallout from a Trident D5 Warhead; it reached into the North Sea The current missiles have a range of up to 7, 500 miles, and their destructive power is thought to be equivalent to around eight Hiroshimas. Put simply, it’s inhumane and wrong, and in no way is supporting this the right thing to do.
9. It’s not stopping any attacks
As for whether we’d be safe if we made the decision to scrap Trident, just ask Germany, South Africa or any of the 188 other countries without a nuclear deterrent.