Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Atomic austerity? Yes please!

The Conservative Government policy on nuclear WMDs is completely confused.

On Monday chancellor George Osborne's announced that, at a time of acute economic austerity, he plans to spend half a billion pounds of taxpayers' money on  a major infrastructure upgrade for the Trident nuclear WMDS system in Scotland (" sborne to spend £500m on upgrade at Faslane naval base," Guardian, 31 August)
But his Conservative Cabinet colleague defence secretary Michael Fallon, who is actually in charge of nuclear defence policy, told MPs in a debate on  Trident in Parliament on 20 January "we share the vision of a world that is without nuclear weapons, achieved through multilateral disarmament."

Shortly after, in February this year, the Foreign Office hosted a high-level meeting in London of the nuclear weapons policy chiefs of the five nuclear weapons powers that comprise the permanent five  (P5) members of the US Security Council – UK, US, Russia, France and China- to discuss steps towards nuclear disarmament, and their collective final statement included the following:

“In reaffirming their commitment towards achieving a world without nuclear weapons in accordance with the goals of the NPT, the P5 reflected on the contribution that the P5 Process has made in developing the mutual confidence and transparency among the P5 that is essential to make progress towards multilateral nuclear disarmament…The P5 reaffirmed that a step-by-step approach to nuclear disarmament that promotes international stability, peace and undiminished and increased security for all remains the only realistic and practical route to achieving a world without nuclear weapons.”
The P5 representatives added: “The P5 also decided that they should increasingly engage with the wider disarmament community. To this end, a number of non-nuclear-weapon states were invited, for the first time, to a briefing and discussion session as part of the P5 Conference.”
(Joint statement from the Nuclear-Weapon States at the London P5 Conference, 6 February 2015, https://www.gov.uk/government/news/joint-statement-from-the-nuclear-weapon-states-at-the-london-p5-conference).

More recently, foreign office minister Tobias Ellwood said in a statement the "Government retains a commitment  to  a world  without  nuclear weapons  following the end of the month-long review conference of the Nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) in New York (Foreign Office Press release 23 May).
George Osborne, who told Sun readers in an article on Monday that “in a dangerous world Britain needs a nuclear deterrent” should stay out of national security policy, and focus attention on his disastrous economic policies.

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