Monday, November 06, 2006

Decisions, decisions

So you've got £76 billion to spare, and you're wondering how to spend it. The UK government wants to blow the lot on the ultimate box of boys' toys, our nuclear 'deterrent'. Just about everyone else thinks that's a crap idea, and would like to spend it on something useful.
An article in last Saturday's Guardian suggests that it might just possibly be a better idea to spend the money on fighting climate change. For the full text, click here.

£76 billion buys you new Trident missiles, new nuclear submarines and 30 years worth of running costs.
On the other hand, £76 billion spent on good stuff such as energy conservation, public transport and sustainable energy projects will reduce emissions by 60% over the next 25 years.

The UK government has stated repeatedly that climate change is the biggest single problem in the world today, yet spends less than £1 billion per year in addressing it. And emissions are still rising. The UK has also spent billions in waging a war which was 'justified' on the basis of ridding the world of weapons of mass destruction, yet is determined not only to keep its own WMD but to update them.

It's time for governments everywhere, not just in the UK, to wake up to the realities of the world we live in today. Dump nukes, spend a bit of the resulting peace dividend on maintaining appropriate conventional forces if you must, but for God's sake DO SOMETHING about climate change.


At 3:51 pm, Blogger Matt Burge said...

I don't know. That Putin fella is a bit dodgy. There's been plenty on the 'security is linked with energy' mantra lately and justifiably so (e.g. Ukraine & Georgia). A good Panorama show last night on the subject, (for a change!).

Putin increasingly tightens his grip on Europe via his energy-mafioso foreign policy agenda. Wouldn't a Britain without a nuclear deterrent be seen as weaker negotiator within these power broking matters? And gas after all, whether we like it or not, is going to be around for some time yet as a significant part of our energy mix.

At 7:00 pm, Blogger Keith Scott said...

And how is having nuclear weapons going to improve our negotiating hand? Do we nuke Moscow if they put the price of gas up? There must be a more sane way of behaving. And do you really think aiming our weapons at Russia encourages them to negotiate or are they happier negotiating with Germany?

At 9:54 pm, Blogger Matt Burge said...

Keith, I'm playing devil's advocate, obviously. We know that might, power, fear and strength are the oxygen that feed governments, especially with foreign policy agendas. Hey, it maybe feasible to have a scaled down 'rapid reaction nuclear capability', cheaper as well. Who knows!

Personally, I come from a country that has banned all things nuclear, even nuclear powered ships from entering our harbours. That country is New Zealand (as you know). It's a policy I fully support. NZ is the only country to have this policy passed as an Act of parliament.It's also however an easy policy for NZ to have because we are so far away from anyone else!

For Europe to have the same policy all parties, inside and outside of Europe must agree to eliminate N-weapons. At the moment it's going the other way, with more countries joining the N-Club. I can't therefore see the UK backing away from the N-deterrent,...realistically.


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