So the independent, cross-party Trident Commission has recommended that the UK should retain Trident, albeit it has suggested that the decision to proceed with the procurement should be delayed until 2016 and has raised the possibility of reducing the fleet from four to three submarines (your report, 2 July).
The commission involved three parties: the Tories, the Liberal Democrats and Labour. It was co-chaired by former foreign ministers, all yesterday’s men with a vested interest in retrospectively validating their decisions to waste billions on a weapon we can never use.
The commission avoided involving any political party such as the SNP, Plaid Cymru or any other organisation which might have put forward a contrary view, which is a peculiar slant on the description of “independent”.
Apparently, one of the main reasons the commission wishes to retain Trident is to counter the threat of nuclear blackmail.
However, when asked on Radio Scotland who might blackmail the UK, one of the commission members, Sir Menzies Campbell, was un- able to name where this threat might come from.
The commission has said that nuclear strikes would only be used in retaliation against a nuclear state.
So that would mean America, France, Israel, India, Pakistan, Russia and China. Lord preserve us from the wisdom of this committee, as a retaliatory attack on any of these would mean the end of civilisation as we know it.
On the question of deterrence, it’s interesting to note that the existence of nuclear weapons had no effect on the Korean war, wars in the Middle East, the Balkans, the invasion of Kuwait, the invasion of the Falklands, the Sunni/Shiite war in Syria and the annexation of Crimea by Russia, to name but a few.
However, I suppose we can be grateful that a nuclear pre-emptive strike was not used against Iraq to destroy Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.
Finally, the commission has said our “unilateral” nuclear strike capacity will never be used unless sanctioned by the US. It’s fascinating that we have people writing to this paper complaining that the SNP plans to have Scotland subsumed into a European super-state, but are quite happy for the UK to remain America’s poodle.