Tomorrow the Westminster Parliament will debate and vote on whether to renew the British Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Programme, commonly known as Trident. Now I’m not saying the euphamism Trident makes it any more morally acceptable, but it helps mask the reality. Saying “I support Britains WMD Programme” would go down at the dinner table like a cup of cold sick. WMD’s are for foreigners, evil despots and tyrants. Supporting “Trident” on the other hand is patriotic, responsible, safe and righteous.
Trident supports British jobs. The number of jobs depends on the sources you listen to. Labour MSP Jackie Baillie claims that over 11,000 jobs are dependent on Britains WMD Programme in the Faslane area and beyond. The MOD has said that their are 520 civilian jobs at Faslane. The MOD figures are verifiable, Ms Baillies figure is not and expands at every turn, having gone from 7,600 to 11,000 in the blink of an eye.
I myself worked on the construction of Faslane in the late 1980’s. I was employed building the office blocks which would house the administrative side of the base. I was witness to the horrific waste of public money which went on there. On one occasion a naval officer came in to where we were working and ordered that a recently tiled kitchen area be redone as he “didn’t like it”. He wasn’t paying, so what the hell. That was simply one example, and if that attitude is still prevalent it’s an indicator of where the final cost will be: far higher that the estimate. Jumped up Admirals are always free with other peoples money.
Like I say, I worked in construction. You can attribute many unrelated jobs to Britains WMD programme if you put your mind to it. Delivery drivers, local shops, pubs, transport, stationery and office supplies, you can extend this to the nth degree. It still doesn’t make it morally right.
In the Second World War the Nazi’s had a network of death camps across Europe. They too employed people, they were supported by a network of other industries which fed off them; the railways which delivered the prisoners, the need for food, fuel and supplies, the staff who worked there and the families who lived nearby and who also turned a blind eye to what was on THEIR doostep. No one would have discussed death camps and mass exterminations, these were “bath houses”, “special installations” and “actions”. No one in their right mind would suggest that death camps should be kept because they were good for the economy, so why would anyone try the same line with Weapons of Mass Destruction? Backing Britains Trident WMD Programme should be as socially unacceptable as backing concentration camps as a job creation scheme. So why is that not the case?
Using the right language avoids the need to actually address what you are dealing with. Trident is a holocaust programme for killing hundreds of thousands of people in the blink of an eye: the Nazi dream of industrialised killing is writ large for the modern age. Britains WMD Programme should be called out for what it is; a mobile WMD threat against other countries and a guarantee of a seat at the international top table for the shrinking remnants of a dead empire.
Britains Nuclear Deterrent failed to deter Argentina, it failed to deter the IRA and will fail to deter in future. With a No First Strike policy it’s not a deterrent, it’s a weapon of retaliation, of revenge.
If you want to create jobs, build infrastructure, build housing, build hospitals. Employ builders and teachers and doctors. Invest in useable conventional armed forces whose job is to defend us, not a nuclear armed one whose job is to implement aggressive British foreign policy abroad. If you did all of that you still wouldn’t have spent a fraction of what a new generation of WMD’s would. Given all these arguments, why aren’t Labour MP’s and MSP’s demanding investment in peace, instead of investment in fear?