A YouGov poll released today reaffirms what we already knew: a clear majority people simply don't support government plans to build a 'like for like' replacement for the Trident nuclear deterrent.
The poll, undertaken on behalf of think tank Chatham House, found that only 29 per cent of the public backed the government's Trident plans. Amongst opinion formers the level of support fell to a paltry 22 per cent."Spending a £100m fortune that we don't have on a redundant cold war weapon, at the same time as slashing departmental budgets and raising taxes"
Meantime, on the government's spending review consultation website (which urges the public to "share your ideas about how to deal with the debt") there are already more than a few well thought out suggestions about ditching Trident replacement. For instance:
- we could halve our national deficit by cutting it
- it has no military use, according to many senior army officers
- the existing system will last at least another 15 years, during which time we should be taking advantage of new international arms reduction pacts to fulfill our obligations under the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty to gradually reduce and eventually negotiate away all nuclear weapons.
Yet all the indications are that the will of the people - even including Daily Mail readers this time - is to be ignored yet again. Trident replacement has been excluded from the Strategic Defence Review, which would have forced debate on its actual military value. Instead, a 'value for money review' has been hastily cobbled together to give a fig-leaf of legitimacy to the decision to proceed with business as usual.
Since its election this new government has been at pains to insist that the radical cuts programme it is embarking on has been forced upon it, and that there is no ideological motivation behind the swingeing public sector cutbacks it's planning.
But when it insists on spending a fortune that we don't have on a redundant cold war weapon, at the same time as slashing departmental budgets and raising taxes, I think we can be forgiven for concluding that the argument sounds suspiciously like utter claptrap.