Tuesday, 19 July 2016

First Brexit, Now This

Trident is Britain's nuclear weapons system. It's made up of four submarines – one of which is on patrol at all times - carrying up to 40 nuclear warheads on board. Each of these warheads is eight times more powerful than the atomic bomb which was dropped on Hiroshima.
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, one of the biggest supporters of replacing Trident in 2007, has admitted that the only purpose of maintaining the nuclear weapons system is to give Britain status.
Trident and legality
These weapons have no legitimate purpose: their use would be illegal under almost every conceivable circumstance, as huge numbers of civilian casualties would be unavoidable. That is why the International Court of Justice ruled in 1996 the threat or use of nuclear weapons would be contrary to the rules of international law.
Trident and security
Not only are these weapons immoral, potentially genocidal and strategically irrelevant in the face of the realistic threats we face today, they are also hugely expensive. The Government's National Security Strategy identifies international terrorism, cyber-attacks and natural hazards as greater threats than nuclear war.
Trident and its cost
The government is in favour of replacing Trident at a cost of at least £205 billion. This money would be enough to improve the NHS by building 120 state of the art hospitals and employing 150,000 new nurses, build 3 million affordable homes, install solar panels in every home in the UK or pay the tuition fees for 8 million students.
Trident and the election
Trident was a major point of debate in the 2015 General Election, with the spectactular gains of the Scottish National Party (SNP) a stark indicator of opposition to nuclear weapons in Scotland. The Scottish people are joined by millions all over the UK who want to see an end to Trident.
You read that and it makes perfect sense, right? Except last night MPs voted 4 to 1 to renew the Trident Missiles. I am just heartbroken as this has long been a cause close to my heart. This has been a concern of mine ever since i grew up in the shadow of the Cold War. 
Being a Quaker helped me find others who shared my views on this. I joined the CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) when we lived in England and participated in Wool Against Weapons two years ago where we helped to knit a seven mile long pink scarf that was displayed between two armaments factories as a protest. You can read about my experience here:  http://spidergrrlvstheworld.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/wool-against-weapons.html
So much of this campaign (just like the Brexit campaign) was based on fear and fear is no way to make your decisions. I am hugely disappointed. Heartbroken. Gutted. 
It is interesting to note that the submarines that house the weapons are held in Scotland on a naval base on the River Clyde. The SNP (Scottish National Party) is VERY anti-nuclear. They were also very anti-Brexit. It almost makes me want to move to Scotland. Scotland tried to leave the UK a few years ago and the vote did not succeed but there is talk now that they want a re-vote and this time I think they will win. They would leave the UK and join the EU. And what would happen to missiles at Faslane?  
As with Brexit, we must make do with what we have been given and work to change it. Complaining is not enough. We must find a way to look for the Light in the Darkness. 

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