Monday, October 30, 2006

Beckett calls for a debate on Trident

Brilliant and about time too. I blogged about this back in March here.

At the time I was reporting on a Sunday Times article here which revealed that "Britain has been secretly designing a new nuclear warhead in conjunction with the Americans, provoking a legal row over the proliferation of nuclear weapons."

I complained that this was yet another example of this governments breathtaking arrogance in ignoring and sidelining parliaments proper role in the decision making process for such important matters. I also complained that we were now discovering that work has already commenced on developing a new system at AWE Aldermaston.

This seemed to be supported by reports from Greenpeace in last weeks Newbury Weekly News here about the recruitment of 25 extra scientists with expertise in hydrodynamics. The MOD says the recruitment of 25 extra scientists with expertise in hydrodynamics has nothing to do with a plan to develop a replacement for the UK’s Trident nuclear weapons system. Greenpeace said the only real use for expertise in hydrodynamics - the branch of science dealing with fluids in motion - is to design a new nuclear weapon. The MOD did not deny that extra hydrodynamics scientists were being recruited, but said they were there to conduct tests on existing material. A local expert in such matters told me at a meeting last week that there is no way that they would need that number of extra scientists for the purpose which they claim they are for!

Whatever the truth it is good to see a serious commitment to a proper debate and a vote in the House of Commons.

Of course this may in due course expose the problems in the Labour Party. As Tristan said when commenting on my blog back in march "Basically it boils down to the nuclear issue which really splits the Labour Party (having twice in its history advocated unilateral disarmament with many members still supporting it). Perhaps an appeal to petty nationalism may work to pursuade some, but by no means all...It will also throw into light the slipperiness of Blair, given his membership of CND in the past (ie when it was politically expedient)"

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