Polls show that scrapping Trident would be a vote winner, and senior military figures say it is ‘militarily useless’. But none of the three main parties are prepared to back nuclear disarmament and make it an election issue.
Labour and Conservative policies stick to the stuck Cold War gramaphone record: nukes ‘deter’ attack and guard us against an uncertain future. Of course they completely overlook the fact that our main security threats – terrorism and climate change – cannot be met by nuclear weapons, and that if we continue to have nuclear weapons it makes it far more likely that we will face nuclear threats in the future.
The LibDems have an interesting permutation of this. Last summer, Nick Clegg announced that they didn’t back a ‘like-for-like’ replacement of Trident, but didn’t know whether they wanted some other type of nukes or not. He charged Ming Campbell with responsibility for reviewing LibDem strategy. Nine months later, that review has just reported. And they still don’t know whether they want nukes or not! The review’s main recommendation is that the issue should be reviewed again in the Strategic Defence Review! This is a great disappointment to those of us who hoped for a clear anti-nuclear line.
To be fair, many LibDems are totally opposed to all forms of nuclear weapons, but that is not yet reflected in party policy. So when you are lobbying parliamentary candidates over the next few weeks (visit our site to do so www.cnduk.org/election) be sure you make it clear to LibDem candidates that they must oppose all nuclear weapons, not just a like-for-like Trident replacement. This should help shift policy on this crucial issue.