On Radio 4 this morning Defence Secretary Michael Fallon argued not just for Trident missiles, but for first use of nuclear weapons and “pre-emptive nuclear war”. There was no misunderstanding or circumstance – he was queried very specifically on the exact point. Not only do the Tories support having weapons of mass destruction, they support using them when none have been used against us.
The whole discussion is of course a fantasy as there is no danger whatsoever of a major attack on the UK by any foreign power. Russia has no plans to attack the UK, has never had any plans to attack the UK, and anyway has an economy the size of the Spanish economy. Mind you, the Tories have also been fantasising about war with Spain recently…
There is no sensible justification for Trident. What North Korea shows is that nuclear weapons are no deterrent against other countries developing them. Only a lunatic would actually use them – Kim Jong Un, Michael Fallon, Theresa May – and you can’t deter a lunatic. And Michael Fallon’s suggestion this morning that nuclear weapons in some way deter terrorists is risible.
But just as the media are very wrong to spend the last 24 hours telling us that Jeremy Corbyn is mad because he won’t commit to destroying mankind, it would be equally wrong of me to argue that every single person who supports Trident is a blazing fascist. There are decent people who support Trident. But they would not support the Fallon/May doctrine of “pre-emptive nuclear war” and first use of nuclear weapons.
I would like to believe that the Fallon/May enthusiasm for first use and pushing that red button, along with hard Brexit and anti-immigration rhetoric, would convince some moderate Tories and ex-Labour voters that they are being hustled very quickly down a path it is wrong to go down. But I fear the media water chute has caught them up and realisation may not set in on time.
During the referendum campaign there was a suggestion from the SNP that after Independence we might give WENI (Wales England Northern Ireland) seven years grace to prepare before removing its missiles from the Clyde. I am totally opposed to this. I rather support the Ukrainian solution, whereby an international team is brought in immediately to verify the decommissioning of any nuclear weapons on Scottish territory or in Scottish waters.
If you cut the missiles in two along the middle, they might make good children’s slides.