Faslane: the place where insanity and cost meet

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Picture by Thiago Isvamsinsk

I remember in the early sixties, we asked our old History teacher if he thought there’d be a war between the US and the USSR. “Well” he said “there’s never in history been a huge stock-piling of weapons between two sides without those weapons eventually being used”. Mercifully he was wrong, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this and you wouldn’t be reading it. Or maybe I should add he’s been wrong so far.

Because the nuclear weapons issue still casts a shadow over us all. There are a number of problems with nuclear weapons. First, they’re the weapons of terrorists. That is, they exist to be used against civilians – witness Hiroshima, Nagasaki. I don’t  know what the Geneva Convention says about that sort of thing but I say it’s totally immoral. If we condemn the attack on the Tullyvallen Orange hall – as we should – then logic demands that we condemn nuclear weapons, both their threat and/or their use. What nuclear weapons say is “We’re going to end civilisation as we know it”.

And this barbaric position doesn’t come cheap. The general figure cited for the life of the Trident nuclear submarines is £100 billion. So the British government is happy to suck £100 billion out of tax-payers’ pockets, in order to improve the quality of weapons which, if used, would lead to the death of hundreds of thousands, probably millions of people. And they tell us to resolve our differences peacefully.

Into this bleak picture step two figures. The first is Jeremy Corbyn. He says that if he is elected, he will address the nuclear weapons issue and end the Trident programme. Money that is planned to be used in creating death-dealing machines would instead be used in the hard-pressed National Health Service, in education and other constructive areas. The Tory response?  George Osborne says Corbyn is a threat to British national security. If you want to see how to brain-wash a people so that no trace of morality or even common sense is left, consider this: 80% of the British population are opposed to unilateral nuclear disarmament.

The other figure of hope is Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the SNP. She wants the Trident submarines removed from Scottish territory and dismantled.  If you ever wanted to see the price that Scotland is paying for being in Union with Britain, just look to Faslane base in Scotland.  The Tory response? Osborne will immediately pump £500 million into Faslane.

Those opposed to unilateral disarmament usually justify their opposition by saying they favour multilateral nuclear disarmament. Well yes, that would be better, guys. But somebody has to break the logjam that’s been in place since the 1950s. Some country has to have the moral courage to say that it’s time that this madness was ended, and lead by example. Once that happens, there’ll be pressure on other countries to follow.

What we have is deeply immoral, vastly expensive and totally unnecessary. Do you think that if Britain were to suffer or even be threatened directly with a nuclear attack, that the US and other countries like France wouldn’t respond? The national security  argument is as fake as a £3 coin.

Immoral, expensive, unnecessary. To which you can add hypocritical. Britain professes itself shocked and disgusted by single beheadings and the destruction of historic sites by ISIS. Meanwhile, Britain herself threatens to wipe out whole civilisations, maybe humankind itself. The stench of hypocrisy and stupidity is overpowering.

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11 Responses to Faslane: the place where insanity and cost meet

  1. Iolar September 1, 2015 at 10:06 am #

    The centenary of the death of Keir Hardie, leader of the Labour Party and first independent Labour Member of Parliament, falls on the 25 September 2015. Hardie maintained a consistent stand against injustice and exploitation. He promoted the need for an eight hour working day and he also supported the work of the suffragettes. Hardie fell foul of the bureaucrats in the Labour Party, puppets who were dancing to the tune of wealthy vested interests. Hardie’s stance, like that of John MacClean (1879 – 1923) against the First World War, was not well received in the corridors of power. The same Machiavellian forces are hard at work endeavouring to sabotage each and every attempt to elect Mr Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party. It is all a matter of priorities, peerages, posts and pensions for those who hope to spend their twilight years in the unelected body that is the House of Lords.

    Mr Osborne has no difficulty pumping millions of pounds into Faslane as the fall-out from bombing raids in Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa and Syria continues to create a humanitarian crisis for the whole of the European Community. Zero hour contracts, foodbanks, beggars and homelessness are facts of life in many inner cities in Scotland, England and Wales.

    Rhetorical questions are being posed within the ranks of the Labour Party as to what Keir Hardie might do about contemporary social and economic conditions. Reactionary forces dismiss Hardie’s legacy and attempt to consign his politics to the dustbin of history. The same reactionary forces have no qualms of conscience when it comes to attempting to turn the clock back on a school of thought that advocates, eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation and eight hours for rest. As Jimmie Reid once remarked, “The rat race is for rats, I am a human being.”

  2. George September 1, 2015 at 10:06 am #

    Jude have you been on the catnip again?

    So we are going to entrust our national security to America and France are we? You did say France didn’t you? – (I’ve just picked myself off the floor laughing at that one!). We are going to ask them to use their nuclear threat against anyone that might threaten us with nuclear weapons? You don’t see that as being a slight moral conundrum in any way?

    I often ponder to wonder whether Hiroshima or Nagasaki would ever have happened if Japan had their own atomic bomb at the time America dropped theirs? If America had considered, for a second, that San Francisco might have been obliterated in the same way that Hiroshima or Nagasaki were, would the Enola Gay have ever taken off?

    Maybe so, maybe not but the point is that America would at least have been forced to consider the consequences of that terrible, terrible action before they dropped those bombs.

    Nuclear weapons are a horrifically expensive anathema to any civilised society. But the role that Britain has adopted in geopolitics make an effective nuclear weapon deterrent a necessary evil for her protection because Britain is a target for some hostile despotic countries in the world in a way that others are not (Ireland or Switzerland, for example).

    Perhaps that is the real question to answer here? Is it about time for Britain to stop positioning herself as the moral guardians of the world alongside the US? Just shut up shop, get their heads below the parapet and let everyone else go to hell in a handcart!

    • Jude Collins September 1, 2015 at 11:32 am #

      Well George, if I can spread a little merriment, I feel my day isn’t totally wasted. Mind you, I was talking amoral politics for those who argue that a nuclear DETERRENT is necessary for Britain. No it’s not – there are lots of other countries – particularly the US – who provide that already for Britain. As I thought I’d made clear, I think someone has to start taking practical (and moral)steps to take us out of this literally MAD situation. I’m against incinerating people by the hundreds of thousands. I’d have thought you were too.

      • George September 1, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

        So you agree that a nuclear DETERRENT is necessary Jude, you just don’t agree that Britain should have one of its own? (I don’t know why we’re capitalising words now but I’ll play along).

        In other words, if Britain had a beef with Russia (to pick an undemocratic, intolerant, expansionist, despotic, nuclear superpower at random) and they fired off an ICBM towards, say, Milton Keynes (ok, maybe not a great example), you would expect Barack Obama to fire off one right back at Moscow on Britain’s behalf?

        Errr – I don’t think so. I think when push (if you’ll pardon the pun) came to shove, Barrack might have some second thoughts about that one. I know we are only playing war games here but I think Barack might just think “oh it’s only Milton Keynes for flip sake – if I do that, Vlad the Mad might just set one off towards New York. Best not – anyone fancy a McDonalds?” As for the French…..

        Hey, you know what else? You’re right – I surely am against incinerating people by their hundreds of thousands (or even ones or two come to think of it). It’s just that we have differing views on what will ensure that event never comes to pass Jude.

        • Jude Collins September 1, 2015 at 6:22 pm #

          Well maybe you’re right, George. Maybe the US would consider not responding to be in its interests. Maybe. I’m NOT (more caps) saying a DETERRENT is necessary – I’m saying they exist; but it’s a very high-stakes poker game to be playing with humanity’s survival. That said, I like the thought of Barack having a big Mac and lovin’ it…

    • Belfastdan September 1, 2015 at 6:16 pm #

      Britain cannot use its nuclear arsenal without America’s permission; so much then for an independent deterrent. Trident is an American system on a British launch platform; the missiles belong to America.

      Then of course Britain if it ever uses these weapons will suffer severe retaliation turning much of the country into a wasteland not to mention the devastating effect it will have on this island. Fallout knows no boundaries,

      Also what use is Trident in dealing with the major crisis of today militant Islam. You cannot nuke Isis nor can you stop the flow of migration much of which has been caused by Britain and America’s illegal military adventures – so much for being “moral” guardians.

  3. Perkin Warbeck September 1, 2015 at 11:25 am #

    Back in the Da-doo-ron-ron days of Ronald Reagan, Esteemed Blogmeister, there was a proposed nuclear defence system to protect the United States from ballistic strategic nuclear weapons.

    Weapons like intercontinental ballistic missiles and also submarine-launched b- missiles. Given the cosy, canoodle-like relationship between Ron the C’mon and Mag the Handbag there is no doubt that the defence of Uncle Sam was not the only consideration: that of Uncle Tam O’Shanter must also have been part of the deal.

    It was lampooned by pacific elements of the media by the moniker ‘Star Wars’.

    One mentions all this, EB, by way of explanation as to why one was at first confused by today’s blog and a snorter of a piece in The Unionist Times this morning, entitled: ‘Beyond belief – why grant Disney’s Skillig’s wish for Star Wars ?’

    Adding to the confusion were the shared Irish roots of both Reagan and Disney: In the soil of Tipperary in the first instance, and Kilkenny in the second. Not to mention the similarity between Faslane and the scribe who authored the snort retort to Luke Skywalker, the scribe known as Fastlane Fintan, for his mental ability to cut to the chase.

    -There is nothing we won’t sell,no line we won’t cross, no aspect or our heritage, that is not available for exploitation’.

    Thundered Fastline Fintan of the lightning quick mind, with a trident in one hand and a strident pen in the other. Mind you, just as there is a whiff of what iffery about the Tory decision to shovel dosh in the direction of a submarine while simultaneously with-holding the dole from those proles who are finding it dfff to keep the wolverine from the door, there is also a certain contradiction in the infuriated piece by the Star Warrior of Skellig.

    So doughty a defender of our heritage, is Fastline Fintan (whose local pub in the depth-charged thinker’s native Crumlin, curiously enough, was, erm, The Submarine) that he curates a weekly series in The Unionist Times called Ireland in 100 Artifacts. That would be, of course, FF-Artworks.

    Which, a-mazingly, actually bodes to include at least 5% which are works in the leprechaun. Which is surely on the high-side for such a deep thinking prole, considering the German Queen’s English has been in the, erm, Ascendancy in OIrland for all of 5 % the length of time that leprechaun held verbal sway.

    The latest of which works was a book of pomes by the leading lady poetess in leprechaun, one Mrs. Conor Cruise O Brien. And equally, b-mazingly, the Heritage High Priest known as Fastlane Fintan had to seek the assistance of another lady, fluent in leprechaun, who took him, as it were, by the surname and guided him through the fairy liosanna of this crock of gold-coloured cac..

    And then, there was a certain crucial contradiction in his interview of adoration on Cyprus Avenue with The Blessed Curmudgeon himself An Sean-Van Deconstruct.

    But that is, like Faslane, a story for another bay.

    Perhaps, even, on periscope.

    • Iolar September 1, 2015 at 1:46 pm #

      It would take tons of biological deterrent to wash some dirty linen in public associated with the conduct of war. An Iraqi Mirage fired two missiles at the USS Stark killing, killing thirty-seven of the crew in 1987. Before the US navy completed an investigation into the incident, Ronald Reagan blamed Iran for the incident. It was the regime in Iraq that invaded other countries, used chemical weapons and started a tanker war, yet according to Reagan, Iran was a barbarous country and the Americans were in the Gulf as peacemakers.

  4. Emmet September 1, 2015 at 11:26 am #

    I just watched a documentary that was very interesting on Nuclear fallout. Human bones changed after 1945, they now contain nuclear materials. All of the tests that occur, all of the nuclear explosions permanently raise the radioactivity of the earth (well for uranium has a half live of over 4 billion years). Even if nuclear war doesn’t wipe us all out the use of nuclear weapons has started to destroy our habitat. I am not sure why people aren’t more angry at the nuclear powers. Nuclear waste is expensive to safely store and we have to pay to store it for billions of years. Every 70 years we will need to build new shelters to protect the reactor fallout at Chernobyl and Fukishima. There are still agricultural areas that will never be able to safely produce food for human consumption. Nuclear technology is on the same scale as suicide if you ask me.

  5. ANOTHER JUDE September 1, 2015 at 2:51 pm #

    I can understand why a country like Britain has to have nukes, what I don`t get is why so many? It is like someone having plastic surgery just for the sake of it, after a while it becomes pointless. The reason Osborne is splashing out the British tax payers money on Faslane is simply to let the uppity jocks know they are still ruled by the Bullingdon boys. Too many complaints from Nicola Sturgeon or Jeremy Corbyn will result in them ending up in a hold all.

  6. Ryan September 1, 2015 at 7:36 pm #

    I’m all for countries ditching their nuclear weapons but I understand that wont happen unless all sides come to an agreement. I don’t believe if say the USA ditched their nuclear weapons that the likes of China would suddenly follow. In the case of Britain, there is basically very little need for Britain to be a nuclear power. I think the problem with the Brits is they still like to think they have the same muscle on the world stage that they had in 1915. But of course the UK is nothing more than America’s poodle, as Tony Blair showed when it came to Iraq.

    Two opposing countries having nuclear weapons, lets use the USA and China as an example, is like those two countries putting a gun in each others face. Who will have the courage (or stupidity) to lower their gun first? Its a case of: If you shoot me, I’ll shoot you. Of course there is no winner in that situation, only two losers. If anyone has watched the 1980’s movie “WarGames”, they will see the point I’m making. The movie is about a super computer that is installed to control the USA’s nuclear weapons. The super intelligent computer plays a game (a real life game) with the nuclear weapons and people race to stop it. The movie concludes with the super computer learning that its impossible to win a nuclear war and suggests playing a “nice game of chess” instead. Its a cheesy 1980’s movie but its still worth a watch.

    In the case of Britain, there is absolutely no need for them to have nuclear weapons. Some people on this forum seem to think that the USA/France would just sit by and watch if Britain, a close EU ally (in the case of France) and part of the “Special Relationship” (in the case of the USA), was attacked by a nuclear power. Of course they wouldn’t, there would be WW3.

    In my opinion, for now, only 2 countries should have nuclear weapons: USA and China. All the rest should dump their weapons. Then an agreement should be made between USA and China to ditch their stockpile together, then, God Willing, the World will be free from the threat of these suicidal weapons.