A Response to 'Trident: is it really needed?'

Dear editor,

I write in response to a recently published articles titled ‘Trident: is it really needed?’.  In this article, the writer quotes a figure of £80bn + as the cost of trident.  He merely says the government ‘invests this money’ without clarity of the time scale.  Trident costs around 5% of the annual defence budget; about £2bn per year (source). 

He then goes on to say ‘Trident is used as a deterrent against other countries and terror threats yet are they really necessary or are they just a huge waste of the tax payers money that could be used to invest into public services and clean energy?This is the only time an argument in favour of Trident is mentioned.  Deterrent is the reason we keep Trident, yes; and to answer his question (which he forgot to answer himself), yes the deterrent is necessary.  It is unfortunate, I agree, that such a large amount of money that could be spent elsewhere is being spent on keeping this country safe. 

Before I go any further into the reasons we need Trident, I would like to point out a major flaw in his argument.  This concerns the £80bn figure he initially presented us with and apparently plucked out of thin air.  He writes ‘If we were to scrap nuclear trident and invest the £80bn+ into other area's we would be able to…’  If this figure is what has already been spent on Trident, then scrapping it would not bring back the £80bn.  Instead, it would save us £2bn a year (but don’t forget the jobs that would be lost by scrapping it) and so this £80bn would be over 40 years.

But, do we really need Trident?  The answer is still yes.  He says it it ‘'protects' us from threats that we can’t see’.  This is wrong.  It protects us from threats we can clearly see; it protects us from being ‘bullied’ by other countries who do have the nuclear weapon and it allows Britain to have a higher status on the world stage – something which is good not only for defence but for the economy: jobs, employment and more.  But if you really want to know why we need Trident, look at history.  After WWII it took Russia and the USA (allies until 1945) just four years to be pointing nuclear weapons at each other.  Is Russia still a threat?  Yes, to the Baltic states that border it – for example, Georgia and Ukraine which have both felt the force of the Russian military in the past 15 years.  Is Russia a direct threat to the UK?  No, probably not – but having Trident certainly helps to acts as a deterrent against Russian aggression in Europe.  And then there is ISIS (Daesh) and the unstable Middle East in general – nuclear weapons can certainly help to act as a deterrent to forces that threaten Britain as part of a wider strategy.

 I do not love nuclear weapons.  I wish we didn’t need nuclear weapons.  But in the interest of security and safety, deterrent is the best way to ensure these destructive weapons are never used.  We need more international agreements and pressure to make countries reduce their nuclear arsenals. But as long as other countries can aim country-destroying weapons at Britain, we need a deterrent and we need a 24/7 Trident.

The need for nuclear weapons is summed up by former defence secretary Des Brown: 

"Are we prepared to tolerate a world in which countries which care about morality lay down their nuclear weapons, leaving others to threaten the rest of the world or hold it to ransom?"



This is a response to the article 'Trident: is it really needed?' by Joshua May.

A Response to 'Trident: is it really needed?' A Response to 'Trident: is it really needed?' Reviewed by Admin on 16:20 Rating: 5

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