Another disappointment from Labour on the Trident front. Today’s manifesto says that ‘A Strategic Defence Review will look at all areas of defence, but we will maintain our independent nuclear deterrent’. In other words, Labour isn’t actually going to consider all areas of defence at all. The sacred cow of nuclear weapons will remain unconsidered, in spite of the fact that significant changes are taking place in the ongoing international process of negotiating and rethinking.
Last week, the world’s largest nuclear powers agreed major disarmament moves. Any real review of the country’s defence needs should re-evaluate our security needs in the light of changed circumstances. Otherwise Labour is pretending that the US/Russian reductions aren’t taking place, ignoring possible progress which may be made at Obama’s nuclear security summit this week, and disregarding the changed context following next month’s NPT Review Conference. This makes it look as though billions are being committed to nuclear weapons not because of any security consideration, but because of a desire to appear ‘tough’ on defence for electoral purposes. Sadly, I am pretty sure that is indeed the reason. But Britain’s best interests should not be secondary to electoral expediency. Don’t they realise the Cold War’s over?