Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Quotes from the Trident Debate

:: "In a dangerous and uncertain world, unilateral nuclear disarmament has never been and will never be the right answer." - Tory leader David Cameron on Trident.
:: "There is no use putting a beautiful engine on the road and saying 'here is devolution, here is a wonderful form of Government' if there is not the money to pay for the fuel, the fuel to run that engine." - DUP leader the Rev Ian Paisley.
:: "I can't help remembering the last time the Tory Leader and you voted together in the same lobby on an issue of national interest was over Iraq and it hasn't proved a very comforting precedent." - Sir Menzies Campbell, Lib Dem leader, to the Prime Minister on Trident.
:: "It is perhaps a paradox that those who oppose this decision are often among the fiercest critics of the United States but would leave us in a situation where in the ultimate crisis our security would be wholly dependent on the credibility and resolve of the White House - or of the Elysee - and their readiness to risk everything for the sake of Britain." - Shadow foreign secretary William Hague on the risks of having no nuclear deterrent.
:: "Do my Hon friends really believe that if we give up Trident the eight other nuclear weapons powers will say 'Good old Britain. They've done the right thing. We must follow suit?' Madam Deputy Speaker, pull the other one." - Former shadow foreign secretary Sir Gerald Kaufman.
:: "I think this is an argument about virility, about vanity, I think this is about aspiring still to that bit of superpower status" - SNP leader Alex Salmond.


wrinkled weasel said...

Weasel's words:

If man has big stick you listen to man. You laugh at man without stick and take his animals and his woman. You think twice about upsetting man with big stick.

2br02b said...

Why does the Left always want Britain to 'set an example' when it is perfectly clear that either no-one will pay any attention, or, more probably, conclude that it's example of exactly what NOT to do?

This has long been obvious for the nuclear deterrent.

And now I'd guess that if in a few years, if Britain takes more drastic action over CO2 than anyone (as seems likely) this will create an example all right: of the harm going out alone like this can do to a national economy, employment, prosperiy, and ability to afford to sustain civil tranquility, liberty and democracy.

And why oh why, is Windmill Dave not just going along with this sleepwalk into disaster, but doing all he can to lead the field?

Sir Francis Walsingham said...

Ultima Ratio Regum

A terrible beauty indeed

It's very simple, really. Even Kim Il Sung gets it. You can't argue with it. You can't lie to it.

CalumCarr said...

Another quote:

Alex Salmond: “Every single country in the world could say 'we are under threat, we require nuclear weapons'. The road on which people in this House are going down is not to 10 countries having nuclear weapons but, given the declining cost, it's to 100, 150 having nuclear weapons.”

tbfkatic said...

Many people died on 7/7 and many more were injured. How did Trident protect them?

Voyager said...

Why does the Left always want Britain to 'set an example'

In 1807 Britain spent £20 million buying out slave-owners - now people like Anita Roddick think it abolished slavery in Britain (which was never legal anyway)....and the death penalty was imposed on slavers after 1827 - the Left disparage Wilberforce but ignore the fact that the US did not abolish Slavery until 1865, Brazil until 1888, Korea until 1894, China 1910, Saudi Arabia 1962

That was some example...but the world just waits to follow Britain's example. Saudi Arabia and Iraq and Iran will be introducing Civil Partnerships and mixed comprehensives; no doubt Iran will follow our example of decommissioning nuclear power facilities; and Russia will let French and German utilities take over its network

The whole world looks to Britain for leadership by example - it is funny how those who say this are usually intent of self-promotion and think they are in the footlights

2br02b said...


On slavery, we are told Wilberforce and others, by forcing through the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act in 1807 set the British example which eventually led to the world-wide abolition of slavery, but this not actually so:

Portugal banned slavery (in Potrugal but not in its empire) in 1761.

The French Revolutionary Commissioners declared general emancipation and the abolition of slavery in 1794.

The British move of 1807 was more effective and long-running not because of our 'example' but because of the Royal Navy.

Britannia ruled the waves, and enforced the ban on the slave trade not just on British vessels but on everybody.

Moral: if you want to 'set an example', make sure you carry a big stick (as Weasel points out)... in today's terms, be a nuclear power. So giving up your nuclear deterrent 'as an example' is a contradicion in terms.

Julian said...

I'm going to go with a comment made on another blog, namely that we should ditch the US Trident system and go with the Saddam ICBM system since:

1) The missiles can be deployed in just 45 minutes
2) They can apparently reach New York from the Middle East (worlwide span = no sub necessary thus saves money)
3) As we have seen they are completely, 100% undetectable. We have endorsements by the CIA, DIA, SIS, SAS, Delta Force and so on as to the stealthy nature of these WMD.

David Lindsay said...

Thanks to the Tories, though continued by Labour, our "Army" is now technically only a defence force, because it is so small; it now does next to nothing except amateur policing and social work under the aegis of the UN. Thanks to the Tories, though continued by Labour, our Navy has been reduced to a coastal defence force, defending an unthreatened coast. And thanks to the Tories, though continued by Labour, there folling is now a seriosu threat:

The author, Colonel Tim Collins, a signatory to The Henry Jackson Society, calling for the abolition of the RAF. No wonder even David Cameron, albeit in a bit of would-be Straussian deception of the common herd, now claims not to be a neoconservative.

In addition to wanting a single European defence capability (yes, that means you Michael Gove, Ed Vaizey, Andrew Roberts, Dennis MacShane and the rest) under overall American command, the neocons, who run the two main parties and are the rising generation in the third, also want to abolish the RAF.

But at least £25 billion can somehow be found for Trident! The case for new political parties is unanswerable.

David Lindsay said...

Oh, and Wrinkled Weasl, WE don't have any big stick. Even the BBC is so craven as to talk about Britain's "independent" nuclear deterrent, just when its customary prejudice would have been spot on.

Sir Francis Walsingham said...

Getting rid of the RAF is actually a rather old idea.

Give the Navy a massively expanded Fleet Air Arm. There would be more planes than would fit on the carriers, but they would be all carrier capable. In war time, you can cram more on board, and it means that you have plenty of spares.... plus you can opportunistically use land bases if/when they are available.

The rest goes to the Army to form a decicated CAS setup.

How is Trident not independent when it comes to use. A couple of keys and you can kill anyone, anytime with it. There is no physical control from the US. They could be rude and tell us the service contract was void. After the fact.

David Lindsay said...

[As widely reprinted on the Net]

Labour's 2005 election manifesto stated: "We are also committed to retaining the independent nuclear deterrent."

But can this system be called independent when so much of it is, as modern business-speak would have it, sourced in America?

The deterrent is carried in four Vanguard-class submarines that were designed and built in Britain, incorporating US components and reactor technology.

The delivery system is the Trident D-5 missile, which is designed, made and stored in the United States. The firing system is also designed and made in the US. So is the guidance system. The computer software is American. The warhead design is based on the US W-76 bomb.

The warheads are produced by Aldermaston, which is co-managed by the US firm Lockheed Martin and uses a great deal of US technology. Some vital nuclear explosive parts are imported, we now know, from the US, as are some non-nuclear parts.

The warhead factory is a copy of a facility at Los Alamos, New Mexico. The submarine maintenance base is also 51 per cent owned by Halliburton of the US.

[Yes, that really does say "Halliburton"!]

David Lindsay said...

[Four years old and from The Guardian (or The Cameron, as we must now call what has become his fanzine without changing one jot of its editorial position...), but I still defy Sir Francis or anyone else to contracict any of the below in point of fact.]

Is it fair to accuse the US of destroying our national sovereignty? The issue is so little discussed that even to make the claim has parallels with the ravings of the europhobes that Brussels plans to make Britons eat square sausages. Yet consider the following seven facts, none of which depends directly on the way the US dragged Britain into Iraq, nor on the current MI6-CIA intelligence blame game about the war.

Firstly, we cannot fire cruise missiles without US permission. The British nuclear-powered submarine fleet is being converted wholesale so that it is dependent on Tomahawks, the stubby-winged wonder-weapons of the 21st century. They transform warfare because of their awesome video-guided precision. But Britain can't make, maintain or target Tomahawks. The US agreed to sell us 95 cruise missiles before the Iraq war, the first "ally" to be thus favoured. They are kept in working order by Raytheon, the US manufacturer in Arizona. Tomahawks find targets via Tercom, the American terrain-mapping radar, and GPS, its ever-more sophisticated satellite positioning system. The Pentagon, meanwhile, is trying to block Galileo, a European rival to GPS, which the French think will rescue their country from becoming a "vassal state".

Sir Rodric Braithwaite, former head of the joint intelligence committee and former ambassador to Moscow, published earlier this year a little-noticed but devastating analysis in a small highbrow magazine, Prospect, of the price we are now paying to the US in loss of sovereignty. Of the Tomahawks purchase, he wrote: "The systems which guide them and the intelligence on which their targeting depends are all American. We could sink the Belgrano on our own. But we cannot fire a cruise missile except as part of an American operation."

The second in this list of sad facts is better known. Britain cannot use its nuclear weapons without US permission. The 58 Trident submarine missiles on which it depends were also sold us by the US. Just as Raytheon technicians control the Tomahawk, so Lockheed engineers control Trident from inside a Scottish mountain at Coulport, and from the US navy's Kings Bay servicing depot in Georgia, where the missiles must return periodically. "Cooperation with the Americans has robbed the British of much of their independence," Braithwaite observed. "Our ballistic missile submarines operate by kind permission of the Americans, and would rapidly become useless if we fell out with them. Since it is no longer clear why we need a nuclear deterrent, that probably does not matter. But it makes our admirals very nervous about irritating their US counterparts."

The third awkward fact is that Britain cannot expel the US from its bases on British territory, or control what it does there. Some, such as RAF Fairford, are well known - surrounded by armed guards as the huge B52s roared off nightly to bomb Baghdad. Others are remote, particularly Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, where any British citizen who attempts a landing will rapidly find himself arrested. The bases are given bogus British names - such as RAF Fairford or RAF Croughton - because Britain is ashamed of all this. "The British have never questioned the purposes for which the Americans use these bases," Braithwaite wrote. "The agreements which govern them leave us little scope to do so. It is yet another derogation from British sovereignty."

The fourth fact is about intelligence. The row over scraps of British material used for public propaganda purposes - alleged uranium from Niger, alleged 45-minute Iraqi missile firing times - shows, if nothing else, that MI6 does still run independent spying operations. But it obscures the big truth: the policy-determining, war-fighting intelligence on which Britain depends is all American. The US has the spy satellites and the gigantic computers at Fort Meade in Maryland which eavesdrop on the world's communications. Britain gets access to some of these because GCHQ in Cheltenham contributes to the pool and collects intercepts which the US wants for its own purposes. This is cripplingly expensive: Britain has just invested a wildly over-budget £1.25bn in rebuilding Cheltenham. Yet it brings us no independence.

Braithwaite again: "The US could get on perfectly well without GCHQ's input. GCHQ, on the other hand, is heavily reliant on US input and would be of little value without it."

Robin Cook, the former foreign secretary, recently - and somewhat drily - let it slip to the foreign affairs committee how the US wears the trousers in the intelligence marriage. America receives all the intelligence that Britain gathers, he said. "On our side, we have full transparency." Britain, on the other hand, merely "strives to secure" transparency from its supposed partners.

These points lead inexorably to the fifth fact about our loss of sovereignty. Britain can no longer fight a war without US permission. Geoff Hoon, Britain's defence secretary, said humbly last month that "the US is likely to remain the pre-eminent political, economic and military power". Britain would concentrate, therefore, on being able to cooperate with it. "It is highly unlikely that the UK would be engaged in large-scale combat operations without the US," he said. As Rumsfeld brutally pointed out, however, the US could easily have fought the Iraq war without Britain.

The sixth fact is that Britain cannot protect its citizens from US power. Blair faces an outcry as he flies into America because the US refuses to return two British prisoners for a fair trial; rather, they have to face a Kafkaesque court martial at Guantanamo Bay.

And the seventh and final fact is that Britain is reduced to signing what the resentful Chinese used, in colonialist days, to call "unequal treaties". At the height of the Iraq fighting, David Blunkett went to Washington to be praised by John Ashcroft, the US attorney general, for what he termed Blunkett's "superb cooperation".

Blunkett agreed that the UK would extradite Britons to the US in future, without any need to produce prima facie evidence that they are guilty of anything. But the US refused to do the same with their own citizens. The Home Office press release concealed this fact - out of shame, presumably.

Why did the US refuse? According to the Home Office, the fourth amendment of the US constitution says citizens of US states cannot be arrested without "probable cause".

The irony appears to have been lost on David Blunkett, as he gave away yet more of Britain's sovereignty. If we really were the 51st state, as anti-Americans imply, we would probably have more protection against Washington than we do today.