Monday, 24 August 2015

Rethink Trident

Three weeks ago, I wrote about the 70th anniversary of the bombing of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I expressed the view that we should all push for full nuclear disarmament, so that such weapons can never again be used. I would like to return to this topic this week.

In my position as the leader of Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall, I have just signed the “Rethink Trident” petition which is calling on central government to halt its plan to replace Britain’s nuclear weapon system.

The petition has significant support and the backing of, amongst others, the First Minister of the Scottish Parliament and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood, and the front-runner for the leadership of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn.

In adding her signature, Nicola Sturgeon declared: “We must do everything we can to stop billions of taxpayers’ pounds being wasted on unusable and immoral weapons of mass destruction.” I am in total agreement with her sentiments.

Trident consists of four nuclear-armed submarines, which each carry up to 48 nuclear warheads. Each warhead has an explosive power of up to 100 kilotons, which is the equivalent of 100,000 tons of conventional high explosive. Shockingly, this is eight times the power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, which killed between 90,000 – 166,000 people.

I believe that the “Rethink Trident” campaign is correct to point out that “Britain’s security needs are not met by nuclear weapons which can do nothing to combat the threats posed by terrorism, climate change or cyber warfare.”

And I simply cannot understand how certain politicians are countenancing the expenditure of £100 billion on a new generation of nuclear weapons, at a time when the United Kingdom is still facing the “deepest public spending cuts in living memory.”

This is just so wrong. Surely there are better ways to spend one hundred billion pounds. How about, as suggested by the “Rethink Trident” campaign, using the money to combat child poverty and youth unemployment, to provide local needs-housing, and to invest in education and the National Health Service.

If you agree, why don’t you sign the petition as well. It can be found at:

[This will be my article in this week's Cornish Guardian].

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