Wednesday, 22 November 2006

Time to call time on Trident

A new electronic petition set-up has appeared on the website for No 10 (home of UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, for those reading from another country) in the past week or so. There's one about not replacing Trident Nuclear weapons ('We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to champion the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, by not replacing the Trident nuclear weapons system.' - and it says more as well), which is still one of the most signed. There's been some scepticism about the value of such activities - he doesn't seem to be taking too much attention at the moment, for instance. But it's an indication of a body of concern at the very least. Have you signed it yet?

Timing is everything, and most timely today is a good day to see a substantial report on the matter - Worse than Irrelevant? British Nuclear Weapons in the 21st Century - by Rebecca Johnson, Nicola Butler and Stephen Pullinger. (download the PDF file ) The document runs to 80+ pages, but it does contain a helpful Executive Summary (where would we be without them). Johnson says (in a press release) ... " It is wrong and dangerous for such an important decision to be rushed through because of superficial political rivalries. We call for the government to take the time to have a comprehensive security and defence review, involving civil society and combining the perspectives of foreign affairs, defence, non-proliferation and international law." And getting to the crux of the matter, the report concludes:
"If managed effectively, denuclearising our defence policy will make Britain more secure rather than less. [my emphasis] But the conditions for sustainable non-proliferation will not materialise by themselves, particularly if some states continue to advertise nuclear weapons as valuable assets. Instead of carrying on nuclear business as usual, Britain should seize the opportunity to show the way and help to create the conditions for the global elimination of nuclear weapons, thereby reducing nuclear dangers and influencing the future direction of the nuclear non-proliferation regime."