Labour’s defence policy review given ‘Japanese’ option for Trident stance

Andrew Marr tried very hard, but could not undermine Jeremy Corbyn in his interview [Image: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA].

It isn’t what This Writer would do, and the Japanese record with nuclear material is not looking good at the moment, but it is another option to discuss.

Your thoughts are invited.

Labour’s defence review will examine the idea of building submarines under the Trident programme without nuclear weapons, after Jeremy Corbyn raised the idea as a possible third way.

The proposal could be a compromise between his Corbyn’s outright opposition to nuclear arms and the position of the trade unions, which want to protect the jobs of workers in Scotland and Cumbria who will build replacement Trident submarines.

The Labour leader has argued there does not necessarily need to be a binary decision on the replacement of Trident, which is likely to be the subject of a vote in the House of Commons this spring. Pressed on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show as to what this meant, Corbyn said: “They don’t have to have nuclear warheads on them.”

The shadow defence secretary, Emily Thornberry … told the BBC’s Sunday Politics: “The way that it works is that the Japanese have got a capability to build a nuclear bomb…[but] you can then put them on to, or you can use them, in various delivery forms. So that’s a possibility, that is an option.” She said she would not speculate on what the review would recommend but she added that Corbyn “said there’s a number of options, and I said the Japanese already have this as the way that they use theirs”.

Source: Labour’s defence policy review given third option for Trident stance | UK news | The Guardian

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19 Thoughts to “Labour’s defence policy review given ‘Japanese’ option for Trident stance”

  1. Well it’s not perfect, but if it gives us breathing room on the nuclear option I could probably get behind it. As Emily said, we can use nuclear or not – that is a future we haven’t reached yet so there is still hope and scope for manoeuvre. The job prospects for the people who will build the subs. is not without merits either.

  2. Mike: You haven’t said what you would have hoped for and whether it is based on the vast expenditure or the nuclear possibilities. You seem to have your head screwed on (rather than being buttoned at the back) are their possibilities I haven’t thought about. I would rather have had the money spent on our armed forces and faster rescue boats, but then I would also like to ask Putin if there is a deal in the offing mutually beneficial to the UK and EU (as you might have guessed, I am not a raving Russophobe)

    1. Mike Sivier

      My personal preference is against Trident. It’s too expensive and we couldn’t use it without permission from the USA, so it’s just another way of tying our hands and putting us in thrall to another power.
      I would rather the UK developed a completely different deterrent weapon of our own. Don’t ask me what it should be because I don’t know.

      1. Bill

        We do not require authority from the United States of America to use our own nuclear weapons.
        Honestly I don’t know where people get these ideas from.

      2. Mike Sivier

        The media, probably.
        Also, there is the fact that the UK is so dependent on the US with regard to Trident that it might as well require permission to launch.

  3. Tim

    Not much point in having a fleet of nuclear submarines without Trident. I’m not sure about the anti-nuclear sentiments seemingly being fostered by Labour to be honest. Apart from South Africa I don’t know of any country that has nuclear weapons, tested or untested, that has renounced them unilaterally, although some countries e.g., Brazil, have sworn not to develop such an arsenal. I do not believe that dangerous nuclear nations like North Korea or Pakistan, who proliferate atomic weaponry and associated technologies, will ever be persuaded to abandon their nuclear programmes and weapons based on other nuclear nations setting a good example by abandoning theirs. Renouncing Trident won’t make Great Britain. as a major part of NATO, one whit safer but will kneecap our country’s efforts, politically, when in concert with other stable nuclear nations it tries to deter developing unstable nations from pursuing nuclear weapons of mass destruction and smaller nuclear battlefield weapons that can be deployed on the ground by troops.

    Labour absolutely and certainly will never get elected by abandoning Trident, a weapon that can never be used but reserves Great Britain a place and some limited political influence in negotiating nuclear disarmament multilaterally.

    Sorry, but that’s the way it is.

    If Corbyn carries on like this he will achieve Labour’s lowest water mark ever in any general election if he remains leader up to 2020.

    1. Mike Sivier

      You were doing very well until you decided to turn this comment into a party political broadcast at the end.
      So you’re saying you support spending £130 billion on this project, even though we can’t use it without permission from the USA and the money would be better spent elsewhere, because it affords the UK a place at the Big Table where we can be overruled by the other nations there.
      Okay, thanks for that.

  4. Tim

    Sorry, Mike, but bad and dangerous nuclear powers will not be persuaded to give up their nuclear weapons based on good and law abiding countries doing so themselves unilaterally. Nor would it make the UK less likely to be attacked by such nations if we abandoned our atomic arsenal. Stripping the UK of its nuclear bargaining power – “We’ll give up some of ours if you give up some of yours” – which potentially could lead to a better and a safer world isn’t sensible.

    1. Mike Sivier

      No need to apologise; I asked for opinions.

  5. Trident is a huge waste of money and a weapon we’ll never use!

  6. Terry Davies

    focus must be to stop the USA having total control of the UK defences. This is the current situation, also gives them vested interests in choosing our government. thats why the right wing prevail and the majority interests are secondary.

    1. Bill

      Again we only buy the delivery system from america, the warheads are ours and we don’t require codes from the U.S.A to launch the missile.

      1. Mike Sivier

        The warheads come from a supply based in Georgia, USA – which is where they return for servicing.
        While the government says we don’t require permission from the USA (not codes), how sure are you that this statement can be trusted, considering we rely for so much else on the States?

  7. JR

    We will realistically never use our nuclear weapons, and we can call upon the US to act as a deterrent. But that is besides the point. The threat for the past 30 years has not been countries with nuclear capabilities, but from groups like the Taliban, Al Quaeda and IS that will never have the resources to develop the capability. We will never use our weapons on them so it acts as no deterrent. Let’s save some money and use it on defence strategies that will have a tangible impact, such as training police so that they are better equipped to deal with a Paris-style attack, and equipping our intelligence services better so that they are able to stop the attacks from happening in the first place.

  8. As I recall, there is a brilliant episode of Yes, Minister dedicated to this discussion. I suppose the issues haven’t changed much in 35 years…

    1. Mike Sivier

      Isn’t it the very first episode of Yes, Prime Minister?
      They have a quick debate about whether the UK nuclear deterrent works at all, if I recall correctly.

  9. David Baker

    I do wonder if Corbyn has a point. I don’t fully agree with him but wonder if a half way house would be the best option. I would love to see all Countries abandon their nuclear programmes but it is highly unlikely. However even if we could get Countries to lower the number of bombs they hold it would make us safer. (It doesn’t take many nukes to make this planet uninhabitable.) A deterrent would still work with the same number of submarines but less nukes. No one would know which sub is carry the nuke so it would still offer protection.

    Long term though it would be much better to have a submarine (or other system) that can intercept such dangerous weapons anywhere in the world.

  10. Mike, you have a mention on the BBC site! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-35350417

    Mind you, the article/comment made on that page could not be more anti-Corbyn if it tried… the headline for a start “Is ‘King Jeremy the Accidental’ on the up?”

    And of all the many posts you have ever made, the BBC refers to one that is slightly disparaging by titling the link, to here, with “with only one headline mocking his naivety.”

    Good to see the BBC is as impartial as ever /snark!

    1. Mike Sivier

      That is so bizarre I’ve written an article about it.

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