The White Elephant of the Seas


Gordon the Saviour of the World has suggested that the UK might scale back its “fleet” of Trident nuclear submarines from four to three.

The UK, apparently, would only do this as part of an international disarmament deal. Bearing in mind that the UK has less than 3% of the world’s nuclear warheads, that sounds like tilting at windmills.

As usual, Mr Brown is tinkering instead of confronting the real issue.

The cost of replacing Trident, according to the government, will be around £20 billion. Others think it will be higher still. You can buy an awful lot of conventional defence equipment for £20 billion. You could, for example, buy more than 700 Lynx helicopters.

Cutting one of the submarines would certainly not save even 25% of the £20 billion cost.

Given the fact that the MoD will face severe budget pressures over the next few years, thanks to “Brown’s crash”, don’t we really need to question the entire Trident programme? Couldn’t we get a simpler and truly independent (though less powerful) deterrent for a lot less money?

Better still, why not accept that Britain is not an imperial power any longer, and drop the deterrent completely? Does it really serve any useful defence purpose? Or does it simply allow our top politicians to pose as “serious players” on the world stage?

There are enough pressures on our military without asking them to spend so much money on what is really no more than political posturing.

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