2015 11 – nuclear deterrence

Reader’s Letter

Labour is divided over the use of a nuclear deterrent. Jeremy Corbyn states that he would never use a nuclear deterrent under any circumstances.  Other members of Labour’s leadership feel that it is important to maintain the threat of nuclear retaliation if we were to be attacked.

Perhaps one way to resolve this dilemma might be as follows. Trident should be scrapped thus saving £100 billion.  About 20 deep silos would then be constructed in which missiles with nuclear warheads would be placed.  The silos would need to be proof against a nuclear blast.  There should also be deep chambers in which the relevant part of the RAF could store bombers and fighters.  The bombers, obviously, would be capable of carrying nuclear missiles.

The cost of this might well be £10 billion. This would leave £90 billion.

All kinds of uses could be made of this – increasing the funding of the NHS; increasing the funding of schools and universities; increasing the funding of social security; increasing the funding going to the BBC. Some of it could be used for reducing the deficit.

The threat which Britain currently faces is that of Islamic terrorism. Ideally the way of dealing with this should be to fund and to help arm local forces which are attempting to deal with it, perhaps providing a future troops to help with training and use of equipment.  The actual use of our troops should be confined to serving as part of UN peacekeeping forces and very limited operations on the model of the Israeli raid on Entebbe, which rescued numerous hostages.

Overseeing this should be a body called OfMil, which should take the overseeing of the military away from the immediate intervention of party politics.

Its initial policies should be: the above proposals concerning the nuclear deterrent; Intervention should mainly take the form of giving assistance to local fighters; that the actual use of British troops should be as described above.

The nuclear deterrent is a red herring. Seems inconceivable that the most likely candidate for using it, Russia, would actually invite a nuclear strike on its citizens.  For that reason there is much merit in Jeremy Corbyn’s view, but there should be just enough possibility for the deterrent to be credible.


Mark Cowling