The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 17th April 2015
BRITAIN’S current Trident nuclear weapons system is up for renewal and last week Defence Secretary Michael Fallon confirmed that the Con-Dem Coalition has decided to go ahead with replacing the existing fleet of Vanguard-class nuclear submarines with four new Trident nuclear missile carriers.
The total cost of this renewal will be around £100 billion and, apart from the inhumanity of possessing such weapons of mass destruction, thousands of people in Britain believe this money should be better spent.
CND, Stop the War and other peace groups have been busy last week campaigning against this renewal, forming the Scrap Trident Coalition, with demonstrations in Glasgow last week and this week at the nearby Faslane Trident submarine base and in London outside the Ministry of Defence.
Around 300 peace protesters surrounded the Faslane nuclear submarine base on the Clyde on Monday in protest at Government plans to renew Trident. They arrived at 7am and succeeded in closing the north gate, chaining themselves together across the road while comrades set out to block other gates at the site. They promised not to leave until 3pm that afternoon.
Police used cutting equipment to release protesters who blocked the road by chaining themselves together. Witnesses at the scene said it took approximately 40 minutes, and in one case two and a half hours, to release each person from their chain.
There were 34 arrested at the Faslane protest. Organisers described the day as a “huge success”. Police Scotland confirmed that 32 of the arrests were conducted by Police Scotland, while a further two arrests were made by officers from the Ministry of Defence.
A Scrap Trident spokesperson said: “This has been one of the most effective blockades in our experience with so many workers being unable to enter the base and such a relaxed, colourful and upbeat vibe to the whole protest.
“It has been wonderful to have the presence of people ranging in age from five to over 80, to have a member of our own Parliament sitting down with us, and so many others from diverse backgrounds.
“Trident is a hot topic at the general election and this gives us hope that at last we can tackle the British state’s addiction to monstrous and mindless violence.
“We are also aware that even among the workers in the base and the police who attended today there is growing support for removing the WMD stain from our shores.”
Meanwhile in London outside the Ministry of Defence members and supporters of London CND gathered to reinforce the call for Trident to be scrapped.
Speakers included Kate Hudson, Lindsey Graham, veteran Bruce Kent and rapper Potent Whisper.
Britain possesses four Vanguard-class nuclear submarines, one of which is on patrol at any given time. The first of the subs entered service in 1992.
Each Vanguard sub is capable of carrying 16 Trident ballistic missiles, with eight thermonuclear warheads on each missile.
Veteran news broadcaster Jon Snow interviewed former United Nations chief weapons inspector Dr Hans Blix at the Hay Festival in front of 1,600 people.
Snow reported: “Dr Blix talks with huge experience and authority about nuclear weapons. His most explosive statements centred on Britain’s plan, in an age of austerity, to spend vast billions on replacing Trident with a new ‘nuclear deterrent’.
“From a peace and security perspective he described it as ‘a completely pointless exercise’.”
Most wars now are conducted at arms-length by imperialist powers in countries a long way from their own shores. The best defence these victim countries can mount is denounced as “terrorism” by the imperialist powers. But these wars do not contain any nuclear threat against Britain, certainly not one in which Trident could be used in self-defence.
The Trident weapons system in Britain does nothing to defend Britain in any way — it is really the front-line of a system intended to defend the United States.
But, if there were ever another nuclear war — and the US seems to be trying to provoke one with Russia with its interventions in Ukraine, the presence of the Trident base in Britain would make Britain a first target.
In these circumstances any British government that was concerned about the safety of people here would get rid of Trident quickly — and spend the money on rescuing our health and education systems.