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The Safety and Cost Concerns of Trident Cannot Be Ignored

25/02/2016 17:26 | Updated 25 February 2016

The people of Spain, Sweden, Canada, Mexico and almost all of the world's other countries didn't wake up this morning and feel unsafe because they don't have nuclear weapons.

They did wake up in a less secure world because of the existence of these hideous weapons of mass destruction.

Trident nuclear weapons don't protect us in Britain, or any other nuclear power, from terrorism, stop the devastating effects of climate change or promote human rights and democracy around the world - the true foundations of future security.

As a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Britain is, or should be, committed to working to rid the world of nuclear weapons - an effort that's been stepped up recently by the Open Ended Working Group (OEWG) on the issue.

It is backed by 138 countries - we were one of the few in opposition. And we did not attend the talks - a disgraceful snub to an important international effort.

We have 1% of the world's nuclear weapons. That's militarily insignificant, even though the missiles on one Trident submarine (what we have operational at one time as standard) could kill 10 million people and start a nuclear winter.

Getting rid of them could have a massive positive impact, a huge boost to rid the world of this danger and move the hands of the Doomsday Clock further away from midnight.

When talking about Trident, it's tempting to focus on the price-tag. The cost, at the latest count of £167billion, is enough to fully fund A&E services for 40 years, employ 150,000 new nurses, build 1.5million affordable homes, build 30,000 new primary schools or cover tuition fees for four million students.

But that isn't the biggest issue here. The biggest issue is the future security of the world.
Despite David Cameron saying he'd use the nuclear button, even the proponents of Trident agree that these are unusable weapons, but their very existence creates the risk of use.

And concerns about the risk of misunderstanding, mishap or hacking leading to the firing of a nuclear weapon are significant. So are safety concerns: William McNeilly, a member of the Royal Navy who was until very recently stationed at Faslane, published a report last May with details of 30 serious breaches.

Trident is a danger, not a security measure.

We're currently in a real period of political change - from the election of (anti-Trident) Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader to the success of the left-wing positioned (and strongly anti-Trident) SNP over rightwing Labour in Scotland - even the surprising progress of Bernie Sanders, with some very different ideas about US foreign policy in the US Democratic race.

And we're coming up to the major decision on Trident replacement.

Now is the time to step up the pressure for Britain to get rid of Trident and not replace it.
That's why I'm confident the CND national demonstration against Trident on 27 February will be big, very big.

Green MP Caroline Lucas will be there, as will many Green Party members.

We've consistently maintained complete opposition to nuclear weapons over decades, in line with our principles and values.

And we've got a government that - having won the vote of just 24% of eligible voters - doesn't have a mandate to make the massive, dangerous decision of replacing Trident.

Please join the call to scrap Trident - on the streets of London, online, in your conversations with friends, classmates, colleagues and family.

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