Tag Archives: Trident

Why are we learning about Trident replacement plan from the Pentagon, not Parliament?

Buddies: Johnson and Donald Trump seem to have shaken hands on a deal to replace Trident, without bothering with trifling matters like… I don’t know… democracy.

When did Parliament approve the plan to buy new nuclear warheads, replacing Trident, from the Pentagon?

I don’t remember that vote!

And if the UK’s MPs haven’t decided on it, then the decision hasn’t been made, and the United States government has no right to say it has.

That wouldn’t stop Boris Johnson telling them it had, though.

What do you reckon? That Johnson has done a secret deal – unilaterally – with the US?

That he intends to place it before Parliament as a fait accompli – a done deal that the UK now has to honour – probably under threat of losing trade deals with the US in the future?

So much for democracy!

Johnson’s Parliamentary majority is such that he would have had the decision he wanted if he had put the deal before MPs in the proper way.

So why did he do it like this?

To show that he can do what he wants? That he is, now, the UK’s dictator?

Britain has committed itself to buying a new generation of nuclear warheads to replace Trident, which will be based on US technology. The decision was revealed by Pentagon officials who disclosed it before an official announcement has been made by the government.

The revelation has dismayed MPs and experts who question why they have learned of the move – which will cost the UK billions of pounds – only after the decision has apparently been made. It has also raised questions about the UK’s commitment to staunching nuclear proliferation and the country’s reliance on the US for a central plank of its defence strategy.

Source: Pentagon reveals deal with Britain to replace Trident | UK news | The Guardian

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Here’s how Labour voted on Trident renewal, based on the Tory lie that it works

The vote on renewal of the American Trident nuclear weapons system was an attempt to put Labour on the back foot, by a Conservative Party that had no idea how to implement Brexit.

Jeremy Corbyn was already facing a rebellion by a majority of his MPs, stirred up with a false accusation that he had been ineffective in the EU referendum campaign (in fact his campaign was hugely successful. It is notable that, while he was pilloried for getting more than 60 per cent of Labour voters and supporters to vote Remain, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon was revered – for achieving almost the same result).

The hope, it seemed, was that a defeat for Mr Corbyn’s views on Trident (he opposes renewal) would put the final nail in the coffin of his tenure as Labour leader.

Perhaps that is why the Conservatives hid evidence that Trident is faulty. One wonders what they expected from a nuclear deterrent that uses an obsolete version of Windows – Windows XP or ‘Windows for Submarines’.

Mr Corbyn evaded criticism by making Trident renewal an open vote, meaning MPs could vote according to their consciences. At the time, he had no way of knowing that they were also basing their decision on a Tory lie.

The final House of Commons vote was 472 votes to 117 in favour of renewing the nuclear programme.

Considering what we know now, some of you who have Labour MPs may wish to discuss this matter with them.

The cost of Trident renewal is currently more than £200 billion, for a country that is constantly being told it cannot afford to fund the public healthcare system properly. That’s the NHS, which is currently in its worst-ever Winter crisis.

The total number of UK jobs safeguarded by keeping Trident is around 500 – all of whom could be given other work if the renewal had not gone ahead. The UK still needs to be able to defend itself, and cutting out Trident means more people would have to be employed on such work, not less.

So perhaps you might want to suggest the time is right to demand that the Trident renewal vote be revisited, in order to allow MPs to vote on the facts, rather than the lies?

Here is how the Labour MPs divided:

Aye – in favour of Trident renewal

Heidi Alexander
Rushanara Ali
Rosena Allin-Khan
Ian Austin
Adrian Bailey
Kevin Barron
Margaret Beckett
Hilary Benn
Luciana Berger
Clive Betts
Tom Blenkinsop
Ben Bradshaw
Kevin Brennan
Chris Bryant
Andy Burnham
Liam Byrne
Alan Campbell
Jenny Chapman
Vernon Coaker
Ann Coffey
Julie Cooper
Rosie Cooper
Yvette Cooper
Neil Coyle
Mary Creagh
Stella Creasy
Jim Cunningham
Nic Dakin
Simon Danczuk
Wayne David
Geraint Davies
Gloria de Piero
Stephen Doughty
Jim Dowd
Peter Dowd
Jack Dromey
Michael Dugher
Angela Eagle
Maria Eagle
Julie Elliott
Louise Ellman
Bill Esterson
Paul Farrelly
Frank Field
Jim Fitzpatrick
Robert Flello
Colleen Fletcher
Caroline Flint
Yvonne Fovargue
Gill Furniss
Mike Gapes
Pat Glass
Mary Glindon
Kate Green
Andrew Gwynne
David Hanson
Harriet Harman
Helen Hayes
Sue Hayman
John Healey
Stephen Hepburn
Meg Hillier
Margaret Hodge
George Howarth
Tristram Hunt
Dan Jarvis
Alan Johnson
Diana Johnson
Gerald Jones
Graham Jones
Helen Jones
Kevan Jones
Susan Elan Jones
Mike Kane
Liz Kendall
Stephen Kinnock
Peter Kyle
Chris Leslie
Emma Lewell-Buck
Ian C Lucas
Holly Lynch
Justin Madders
Khalid Mahmood
Shabana Mahmood
Seema Malhotra
John Mann
Rob Marris
Christian Matheson
Steve McCabe
Kerry McCarthy
Siobhain McDonagh
Pat McFadden
Conor McGinn
Alison McGovern
Liz McInnes
Catherine McKinnell
Ed Miliband
Madeleine Moon
Jessica Morden
Melanie Onn
Chi Onwurah
Albert Owen
Matthew Pennycook
Toby Perkins
Jess Phillips
Bridget Phillipson
Lucy Powell
Jamie Reed
Steve Reed
Christina Rees
Rachel Reeves
Jonathan Reynolds
Geoffrey Robinson
Joan Ryan
Virendra Sharma
Barry Sheerman
Paula Sherriff
Gavin Shuker
Andy Slaughter
Ruth Smeeth
Angela Smith
Nick Smith
Owen Smith
Karin Smyth
John Spellar
Keir Starmer
Wes Streeting
Gisela Stuart
Mark Tami
Gareth Thomas
Nick Thomas-Symonds
Stephen Timms
Anna Turley
Karl Turner
Stephen Twigg
Valerie Vaz
Tom Watson
Phil Wilson
Rosie Winterton
John Woodcock
Iain Wright

No – opposed to Trident

Diane Abbott
Graham Allen
Paul Blomfield
Nicholas Brown
Richard Burden
Richard Burgon
Dawn Butler
Ruth Cadbury
Ronnie Campbell
Sarah Champion
Ann Clwyd
Jeremy Corbyn
John Cryer
Paul Flynn
Vicky Foxcroft
Roger Godsiff
Helen Goodman
Margaret Greenwood
Nia Griffith
Louise Haigh
Fabian Hamilton
Carolyn Harris
Kate Hoey
Kelvin Hopkins
Imran Hussain
David Lammy
Rebecca Long Bailey
Rachael Maskell
John McDonnell
Alan Meale
Ian Murray
Lisa Nandy
Kate Osamor
Stephen Pound
Angela Rayner
Marie Rimmer
Naz Shah
Tulip Siddiq
Dennis Skinner
Andrew Smith
Jeff Smith
Jo Stevens
Graham Stringer
Jon Trickett
Keith Vaz
Catherine West
Daniel Zeichner

Abstained

Rupa Huq

Absent

Debbie Abrahams
David Anderson
Jonathan Ashworth
Roberta Blackman-Woods
Lyn Brown
Karen Buck
David Crausby
Jon Cruddas
Judith Cummins
Alex Cunningham
Thangam Debbonaire
Clive Efford
Christopher Elmore
Natascha Engel
Chris Evans
Barry Gardiner
Lilian Greenwood
Mark Hendrick
Sharon Hodgson
Kate Hollern
Lindsay Hoyle
Gerald Kaufman
Barbara Keeley
Ian Lavery
Clive Lewis
Ivan Lewis
Fiona Mactaggart
Gordon Marsden
Andy McDonald
Jim McMahon
Ian Mearns
Grahame Morris
Teresa Pearce
Yasmin Qureshi
Emma Reynolds
Steve Rotheram
Cat Smith
Emily Thornberry
Derek Twigg
Chuka Umunna
Alan Whitehead
David Winnick

(Information from The New Statesman)

If you have a Conservative MP, or an MP from one of the other parties, please feel free to contact them and find out how they feel about it.

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Tories covered up – that means they LIED – Trident test failure to secure renewal of nuclear weapons


Any number of jokes could be made about this – the Americans have sold us ‘homing’ missiles that are more likely to obliterate their country of manufacture than an enemy, for example – but the fact is that Parliament’s vote was based on the lie that this system was reliable. Clearly, it isn’t.

Labour politicians who rebelled against their leader, Jeremy Corbyn, must be feeling particularly embarrassed and exposed today.

He voted against Trident renewal but gave members of his party a free vote on the issue, which has been divisive among the Labour Party.

One wonders whether it will continue to be so contentious now that we all know Trident doesn’t work!

A Trident missile blasts out of the ocean, having just been launched from a nuclear submarine – probably in the wrong direction.

I will try to get you a list of the way Labour MPs voted on Trident renewal later. If you have a Labour MP, please use the information to request stronger support for Mr Corbyn from now on.

Downing Street has been accused of covering up a Trident missile malfunction weeks before a crucial Commons vote on the future of the submarine-based missile system.

The Sunday Times reports that a Trident II D5 missile test ended in failure after it was launched from the British submarine HMS Vengeance off the coast of Florida in June last year.

It was reportedly intended to be fired 5,600 miles to a sea target off the west coast of Africa but may have veered off towards America instead.

Source: Downing Street ‘covered up serious Trident missile malfunction’ weeks before crucial Commons vote

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Evasive Theresa May seems unable to answer any question – especially on Trident

This Writer has been a little unwell over the weekend so I wasn’t actually able to watch Theresa May’s car-crash interview on Andrew Marr’s show this morning (January 22). From the responses on Twitter I missed a classic display of attempted evasion.

From what she didn’t say, she appears to have colluded in hiding the failure of a Trident missile test from MPs before they voted on renewing the rubbish nuclear weapons programme for hundreds of billions of pounds:

Jeremy Corbyn had this to say about it:

And consider this:

It is now clear that she definitely wants to turn the UK into a tax haven – to your (and my) disadvantage:

And she tried to pretend that her party’s ‘divide and conquer’ rhetoric was “bringing the UK together as a country” (we know the Scots and Northern Irish are desperate to leave):

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Corbyn’s Scottish trip shows he means it when he says he’ll win back support

151002corbynirnbru

“Gotta feel sorry for Corbyn. “Don’t mention Scotland! Drink this! Just Drink. The. Irn. Bru. Try to look happy.”

That’s SNP councillor Mhairi Hunter’s opinion of Jeremy Corbyn’s trip north of the English border – but it’s one that doesn’t seem to reflect the actual state of affairs at all.

Sure, we have the photographs of Labour’s new leader brandishing a bottle of Irn Bru and claims like that in The National, that Scottish Labour has told him not to mention the word ‘Scotland’ for fear of “playing to the nationalist agenda” (it seems he was advised by senior party insiders to refer to towns and cities rather than the country).

Others have been taking the visit more seriously. According to the FT, “Some Labour members think that his left wing views will make it harder for the ruling Scottish National party to portray itself as a champion of socialist values while pursuing centrist policies” (Scottish Labour’s opinion seems to be that the SNP are “New Labour in kilts”).

This, of course, suggests that moving Labour to the left of the political spectrum leaves more of the middle ground for the SNP. Won’t that imply a visible shift in that party’s policies, away from what the electorate thought it was, though?

Mr Corbyn himself seems to endorse that view. Asked how Labour’s anti-austerity stance differs from the SNP’s, he told the Daily Record: “We mean it.”

“We’ve learned the lessons of the economic strategies of the past and the way they haven’t worked. It does mean rebalancing our economy, it does mean maintaining the 50p top rate of tax, it does mean not cutting tax credits for the poorest people in our society.

“We want to invest in a growing, expanding economy across the UK and we fully support the powers in the Scotland Bill, and we are going to be working closely with the Labour Party in Scotland to try to defend the people of Scotland from the worst effects of the Trade Union Bill and, of course, the Welfare Reform Bill.”

Mr Corbyn warned that the SNP plan for “full fiscal autonomy” would lead to “very, very heavy” austerity – implying that the nationalists have been misleading their electorate about the effects of their policies.

He told the Record: “If you go for fiscal autonomy, I don’t know what kind of austerity you are going to have but all I know is it would be very, very heavy. I want to see an end to austerity across all of the UK and that is what the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell did in his speech at the party conference on Monday.”

He made it clear that he rejects SNP claims that they are the only effective opposition to the Tories, and pointed out that Labour membership in Scotland it at its highest in years since he took over as leader.

“I believe we’re going to continue to gain support,” he said. “We’re going to do lot of campaigning and point out that what really matters to people is housing, is education, jobs, opportunities and opposing what the Tories are doing in the Welfare Reform Bill.

“We will do our best to get sufficient powers to the Scottish Parliament to try to reduce the impact of the disastrous welfare reform bill on the people of Scotland.”

And he repeated his position on Trident, saying his belief that it should be scrapped had been well known for years and would win popular support in Scotland.

Hmm. That’s six mentions of ‘Scotland’, just in the comments quoted here. Perhaps Ms Hunter and The National were mistaken?

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Disappointment as Labour conference decides against having a vote on Trident

Trident

That’s democracy for you, they’re saying.

A motion for the Labour Party Conference to vote on whether Labour should support the scrapping of plans to renew the UK’s Trident nuclear missiles (at a cost of around £100 billion) has fallen. It won’t be debated.

Already the spin doctors are at work. The BBC tagline is “Jeremy Corbyn has avoided a showdown over his support for scrapping Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons.” He didn’t want to avoid a showdown – he wanted to have one!

At least, that’s what Faisal Islam reckons.

The lack of a debate at conference means Mr Corbyn has more time to persuade MPs to take his side before Parliament votes on renewing the hugely expensive system, but This Writer would have preferred a decisive result sooner, rather than later.

It seems the unions voted against a debate. It seems some commentators may have to revise their opinions about Corbyn’s relationship with them, now.

Oh well.

That’s democracy for you.

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What’s wrong with ‘Labour’s biggest independent grassroots e-network’?

This blog was going to let Jeremy Corbyn’s Andrew Marr Show interview pass without comment – it’s a BBC show and therefore unlikely to have anything approaching useful to say. It seems others couldn’t bring themselves to exercise such restraint – to their shame.

According to the Graun, here’s Conor Pope of LabourList, which styles itself as ‘Labour’s biggest independent grassroots e-network’:

150927conorpope
What’s he trying to say? That Corbyn should be in another party, not Labour, if he’s going to spout such strong, traditional Labour views?

Corbyn was elected Labour leader with an overwhelming mandate. The Labour Party wants his policies. So, if Mr Pope has different opinions and cannot reconcile them with the prevailing view, perhaps he should go to a different party himself – along with anyone who agrees with him.

And perhaps he should stop writing for LabourList – along, again, with anyone who agrees with him. That site needs to represent the views of the Labour Party, not just a few creeps who think they’re part of some non-existent elite.

I’ve been wondering for some time exactly who LabourList is supposed to represent. Perhaps its time we were told.

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‘If you vote SNP, you can’t expect a Labour government’

Don't they look cosy together: Remember when the SNP was vilifying Labour politicians for appearing in photographs next to Conservatives? How do you think they'll justify this little gem?

Don’t they look cosy together: Remember when the SNP was vilifying Labour politicians for appearing in photographs next to Conservatives? How do you think they’ll justify this little gem?

Scottish voters have been pulled hither and yon over the past few months – mostly by the claims of the SNP.

It is good, therefore, to have clarity from the Labour Party.

The message is clear, as reported by the BBC: “Labour leader Ed Miliband has told party members in Edinburgh … that ‘every one less Labour MP’ made it more likely the Conservatives would be the largest party” after the general election.

The much-maligned Jim Murphy added: “The biggest risk of Scotland getting the government it didn’t vote for is to believe you can get a Labour government while voting for somebody else.”

We’ve had a lot of SNP spin about Scotland’s relevance to the larger picture in general elections. “It doesn’t make any difference,” according to that party and its followers.

In that case, why are they hoping for a minority Labour government that needs SNP support to pass its policies? According to their own argument, this should not be necessary because Scotland “doesn’t make any difference”.

It is obvious that this argument is “pish”, as SNP adherents like to describe anything they don’t like.

Nicola Sturgeon has dropped demands that a minority Labour government must abandon the Trident nuclear weapon system if it is to have SNP support, indicating her own desperation for a deal (although, in reality, it may not make much difference; 75 per cent of Labour Parliamentary candidates oppose Trident out of principle).

The Tories are stupidly calling on Labour to rule out a deal with the SNP on the grounds that Labour would be relying on a party that wants to weaken the United Kingdom and eventually break it up altogether. Grant Shapps said: “Ed Miliband and the SNP have signed the pre-nup and are now half-way up the aisle.” Rubbish, of course.

But Murphy pointed out that the SNP brought down a Labour government in 1979 by opposing it in a vote of no confidence. That is what led to the Conservative governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major.

Labour hasn’t forgotten that betrayal. When somebody comes calling who has stabbed you in the back, you don’t welcome them with open arms.

Meanwhile, the SNP has been stupidly claiming that Labour is considering a coalition with the Tories, based on the flimsy evidence of a tweet from a now-departed Scottish Labour functionary and an off-the-cuff comment from an MP.

That silliness has also been dumped unceremoniously into the grave.

“We’ve got so little in common when it comes to the big issues that that is never going to happen,” said Murphy.

So if you’re Scottish, you’ve got the SNP claiming Labour will do a deal with the Tories (ha ha), and the Tories saying Labour is “halfway up the aisle” with the SNP (ha ha).

Only Labour is making any sense at all.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Are we looking at a return to feudalism?

David Cameron as the villain in Skyfall. Clearly my photo-manipulation skills are poor, but it gets the point across: Is this how the Prime Monster sees himself?

A photofit picture of the real villain in Skyfall. Clearly my photo-manipulation skills are poor, but it gets the point across: Is this how the UK’s Prime Monster sees himself?

Sitting in the cafe yesterday, one of my companions turned to me and said, “You’ve seen Skyfall, haven’t you?”

“The latest Bond movie?”

“That’s the one. You know the sequence where Javier Bardem’s living like a feudal lord on an island that’s been cleared of everyone else, apart from him and his servants?”

“What about it?”

“Did you ever think, that could be a metaphor for what our government wants to do to this country?”

Whoa.

That couldn’t be right, could it?

It sounds crazy. But…

Just crazy enough to have a hint of possibility about it.

Consider this: The UK is currently being run by a gang of Eton posh boys who come from a social class that was known in Ireland as the Ascendancy. In fact, Gideon is a fully-fledged member of that exact group.

The Ascendancy was a minority of landowners, protestant clergy, and members of the professions – all of which are well-represented in the current UK Parliament – who dominated Ireland in political, economic and social terms between the 17th and 20th centuries.

It seems that clashes with the English meant that a large amount of Irish land had been confiscated by the Crown, then sold to people who were thought to be loyal, so English soldiers and traders became the new ruling class, whose richer members were elevated to the House of Lords and eventually controlled the Irish House of Commons.

Now look at what’s happening over here. Iain Duncan Smith’s benefit cuts mean people are going to be forced out of their homes, particularly in the more expensive parts of our cities – and apparently there is a plan now to force the rest of us into using our homes as security to ensure we continue paying our taxes, in a move to extend homelessness into the middle classes.

Those homes wouldn’t go empty for long – they’d be bought up by anyone rich enough to afford it, in an estate-building programme.

Poor people, deprived of their benefits, homes, and ability to support themselves, might be left to survive as best they can in ghettoes filled with squalor and disease, until they are ready to do anything for an improvement in their living conditions. Then they’ll be hired to work on the new estates, servicing their new masters’ needs.

In other words, the UK would split into several ‘islands’, similar to the one occupied by Javier Bardem’s character in Skyfall. There would be a single ‘Lord of the Manor’ with all the power, his family, and their servants – and that’s all. Technological advancements would mean they would not need to support many of those servants – just enough to work the land and maintain the technology that would ensure their continued ‘Ascendancy’.

To my way of thinking, this would weaken the country to the point where it would be ripe for invasion by any foreign nutter with a gun – but then, this government is renewing Trident, isn’t it? And they’re definitely crazy enough to turn anywhere else into a glowing crater, just to keep themselves comfortable.

I know.

It’s crazy. A paranoia-fuelled pipe dream.

But it ticks a lot of boxes.

What do you think is really going on?