parliament

The British Trident debate: an opportunity for progress?

Whether you support or oppose them, nuclear weapons have become an entrenched part of the British security discussion, with periods of major debate - in the 1960s and 1980s especially - leaving a lasting impact on the national psyche. But it’s rare that we have the chance to see governments - in the UK or elsewhere - step back and engage in truly forward-thinking, public consideration of why that is the case, and what the alternatives might be. This could be one of those moments for the UK. Could. Whether it will or not, remains to be seen.

Trident in UK Politics and Public Opinion

Nuclear weapons policy looks set to feature as a political issue in the 2015 general election. A broad consensus on UK nuclear weapons policy since of the end of the Cold War amongst the party leaderships of the three main Westminster parties has been disturbed by the debate on whether and, if so, how to replace the current Trident nuclear weapons system. This has been exacerbated by a coalition government in which the Liberal Democrats have broken ranks and moved towards active consideration of a smaller, cheaper replacement for Trident that does not entail continuous deployment of nuclear weapons at sea.

Scotland: Trident and the independence debate

“Should Scotland be an independent country”? That is the sole question Scotland’s four million voters will be asked in a referendum on 18 September, 2014 – the outcome of which will determine the future of their (or as a Scot myself, based in Washington, I should say “our”) country. A hugely complex question wrapped up in six arguably simple words. Should Scotland be an independent country: yes; or, no?

Op-Ed: David Cameron’s nuclear fantasy land

David Cameron insists we must replace the Trident nuclear weapon system because the future is uncertain. None of us has a crystal ball so we had better keep Trident just in case. He points to the dangerous escalation of tension by the Kim regime in North Korea and Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons programme as justification. All well and good, until you scratch beneath the surface and realise what a highly contingent argument this is for the economic, political, opportunity, and moral costs at stake (yes, moral, because the practice of ‘nuclear deterrence’ rests inescapably on the threat of use – the threat of indiscriminate and catastrophic nuclear violence).

Labour Party defence in the debate on Trident

This week the Labour Party conference continues in Manchester. Shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy spoke this morning with a focus on defence spending and support for service personnel. However, the future of Britain’s nuclear arsenal hit the headlines in this year’s conference season, with last week’s headlines reporting comments from recent Defence Minister Nick Harvey about the government’s review on Trident alternatives at the Liberal Democrats conference.

Getting to Zero Update

NATO proceeded quietly with its Strategic Deterrence and Defense Posture Review, while U.S. and Russian disagreements over missile defense continued. The United States was also conducting a review of nuclear targeting. In the United Kingdom, the “successor” to the Vanguard-class submarine that carries Trident missiles officially entered “Initial Gate,” or the initial design phase.

Free terms: 

Newsletter: 

Region: 

Topic: 

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - parliament