submarines

Despotism or Democracy?

As the 2015 general election and the decision on whether to replace Trident approaches, it is important to consider the implications of the continued possession of nuclear weapons for British democracy. Historically, Britain’s bomb has been dependent on US support, a relationship notable for its opacity and lack of democratic accountability.

'Defending the Future': A rational approach to Britain's future nuclear arsenal

The UK faces a major strategic choice at the 2015 election over whether to renew the UK’s nuclear weapons systems beyond 2042. This briefing was commissioned by BASIC and WMD Awareness for the Liberal Democrat Party Annual Conference this month. It outlines the debate, the options, and other considerations that need to be taken into account by decision makers during this time of deliberation.

NEW REPORT: Trident in UK Politics and Public Opinion

BASIC releases today a new report examining Trident in UK politics and public opinion on nuclear weapons, involving a comprehensive review of the polls over the last eight years and including two new polls released today. This comes on the eve of the publication of the government’s Trident Alternatives Report (TAR), to be published on Tuesday and debated in Parliament on Wednesday. The BASIC report is intended to complement the TAR with the political and public opinion context.

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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).

Beyond the Trident Alternatives Review

This brief, authored by Dr. Nick Ritchie, outlines opportunities and challenges arising from the UK government's ongoing Trident Alternatives Review. This briefing critiques weaknesses within the current thinking around Trident, outlines the key issues that need to be addressed, and highlights the opportunities that Britain has to demonstrate leadership on nuclear disarmament. Ritchie claims that this is a unique opportunity in the UK for an informed debate and addresses the key questions:

Deterrence, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and UK Trident

This discussion paper is the fourth in a series and outlines the emergence of Britain's nuclear deterrence posture and thinking over the last seventy years, and how successive governments have sought to balance this with effective non-proliferation diplomacy.  Professor Simpson's paper outlines the evolution of Britain's twin-track approach of trying to address its own national security whilst strengthening global security through multilateral nuclear disarmament, and asks whether this approach has a sustained future ahead.

Entente Nucléaire

The third briefing report from the BASIC Trident Commission focuses on the nuclear relationship between the United Kingdom and France, and the two countries' attempts at nuclear cooperation. Written by Dr. Bruno Tertrais, this report evaluates lessons from past cooperation attempts between London and Paris and investigates the impact of present arrangements.

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