14 Sep 2010

Trident debate and petition

A year ago we had a debate in Stroud between the four political parties about Trident - see here - well this year we are repeating the event as a Coffee House discussion - see here about other discussions and below about the event which looks set to have Neil Carmichael MP attend to argue in favour of renewal. See also at the bottom of this blog entry an email link to sign a letter to Osbourne urging them not to renew Trident. I've already sent my email.

Photo: Banksy credited graffiti

coffee

Next Coffee House discussion - Friday, September 24th.

Do we want new nuclear weapons?

Our Government is about to take decisions on future military expenditure and our nuclear weapons:

- What is the use of nuclear weapons in tomorrow's world?

- Should the UK spend £billions to replace its Trident nuclear submarine fleet with a new nuclear system?

- How do Britain's decisions affect worldwide nuclear non-proliferation negotiations?

- What would a better defence policy be like?

7.30-9.30 Venue - Star Anise Cafe, Gloucester St., Stroud.

Over the next few weeks final decisions will be made and in the firing line are schools, hospitals, housing and disability benefits and essential support for renewable energy. Compass, who have organised a letter campaign, ask:

"How can it be that spending on building weapons of mass destruction is protected while investment in the 20 year Schools for the Future programme is scrapped? How can it be that the nuclear weapons factory at Aldermaston is given an extra £1billion funding every year to build new nuclear warheads while scientific research funding is cut?"

Tell George Osborne not to renew Trident at:
http://action.compassonline.org.uk/trident

Meanwhile CND have just released a report yesterday about the loss of jobs Trident will lead to - Kate Hudson, General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said "The Chancellor is demanding up to 20% cuts from the MoD and has stated that the cost of Trident replacement will come from the main defence budget. So going ahead with Trident will have a devastating impact on non-nuclear defence manufacturing. Trident is cash-hungry whilst providing relatively few jobs. Hundreds of millions are to be spent with US-based contractors, providing nothing for the UK economy. Other areas of defence spending at risk from Trident generate far more employment per pound spent. Closing RAF bases and scrapping surface-ship programmes will cause significant job losses in the coming years, whereas cutting Trident would have little impact until at least 2016. The report makes clear that with relatively small investment the key facility dependent on Trident work - BAE Systems shipyard in Barrow - could be re-aligned towards the rapidly growing needs of the low-carbon economy. Precision marine engineering skills are perfect for developing wave and tidal energy systems, where Britain could be a world leader. Diversifying into a market with strong domestic demand as well as huge export potential would provide much greater job security for shipyard workers. Relying almost entirely on a few MoD orders will always be a precarious formula."

1 comment:

Philip Booth said...

Entente could breach treaty

Your report, "Britain and France may share nuclear deterrent" (30 September) overlooks a serious impediment to an entente nucléaire.

We are regularly told by ministers that Iran has to live up to its obligations under the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty. So too must France and the UK: indeed, the UK negotiated the treaty text, and is thus a so-called depositary state for the treaty.

Article 1 puts very important obligations on member states, including all nuclear weapons states parties to the treaty, these being, in addition to France and UK, the United States, Russia and China.

Article 1 reads: "Each nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; and not in any way to assist, encourage, or induce any non-nuclear weapon State to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, or control over such weapons or explosive devices."

The inclusion of the phrase "any recipient whatsoever" coupled with the key word "indirectly", would render France and the UK in breach of their NPT obligations were they to share their nuclear WMD systems. What kind of message would that send to Tehran over the importance of compliance?

Dr David Lowry, Stoneleigh, Surrey