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Actually, Opposing Trident Doesn't Make You a Pacifist

22/01/2016 14:45 GMT | Updated 21/01/2017 10:12 GMT

If the Tories think that a Labour ditching of Trident would make them unelectable, then they really are ignorant to the concerns and interests of ordinary British people.

Propped up through their newly-established alliance (only marginally less sinister than the Nazi-Soviet pact, 1939) with the BBC, the government have embarked upon an extraordinarily misguided campaign; smearing their allegedly pacifistic opponents for proposing the scrapping of what is an absurdly expensive and wholly unusable submarine system.

The sheer vituperation aimed at politicians such as Jeremy Corbyn (Nicola Sturgeon is let off for strategic purposes) in recent weeks over British retention of Trident has been architected with such intensity that it may seem as if there are no patriotic, reasoned arguments for maintenance cancellation. This, of course, is nonsense, but the extremity of the accusation may persuade those more gullible into buying it.

What the Conservative Party doesn't seem to understand particularly well is that, despite its macho image and devastating military potential, Trident is nothing more than an outdated Cold War defence weapon lacking any substantive geopolitical purpose. Though it may very well have been useful in the twentieth century, its vocation in 2016 is hugely overestimated.

International efforts designed to discourage both the armament and proliferation of nuclear weaponry, such as the 1968 Treaty of Non-Proliferation (NPT), the Lahore declaration and New START (most recent treaty signed by Russia and the United States) have ensured that a globally-coordinated effort to stamp out both usage and production is underway.

By abolishing Trident, which itself is a grotesque technological monstrosity anchored off of the shores of country predominantly opposed to the wielding of a nuclear 'deterrent', Britain will save £2bn each year (around 6% of the annual defence budget) otherwise spent on procurement and other maintenance.

It is also, rather more poignantly, time that the United Kingdom and its politicians faced up to the fact that we are no longer one of the world's superpowers. As a country, we are not powerful, influential or sovereign enough to justify usage, and due to signed treaties and our ridiculously strong bond with American foreign policy, Britain could only conceivably make real use of Trident with the permission of the United States.

The deterrent argument is futile, too. Just whom are we deterring against, and how so with such weaponry? A petty struggle over the Falklands with Argentina is certainly no mandate for missile launch, we've interfered far too much in the Middle East already for politicians to even think about it (we hope), and so the only plausible existential threat to the UK should emanate from countries with conflicting interests inside the European Union.

Unless we are prepared to aim our egotistical little toy at Brussels, I can hardly think of scenario in which usage would be necessary. Britain has the rather useful geographical advantage of island status, making invasion particularly difficult, is a faithful member of NATO and isn't (nor has she ever been) in the remit of Moscow's political interest. Yes, the geopolitical landscape is volatile and can change rapidly, but the aggressive pillaging of both our sovereignty and independence cannot, it seems, be overcome so easily.

The recent development of North Korea's nuclear programme is unsettling to say the least, but just how far along the process is before the rogue state can be considered a nuclear power and just how large the country's stockpile is, remains to be seen. I suspect both China and the United States will cooperate extensively on the matter to avoid inflating tension on the Korean peninsula. Efforts to denuclearise Iran in 2015, too, were fruitful and perhaps the only truly positive event to occur in the Middle East in some time.

So David Cameron and his smarmy front-benchers would do well to consider that maybe, just maybe, it would be time for Britain to let this one go, and instead use the money to restore our ransacked and fabulously trained Armed Forces (cut to the bone by the very government scaremongering about defence). Any true patriot of any country will likely acknowledge the significance of retaining a meaningful and properly-resourced Navy, Army and Air Force.

The true power and legacy of a nation has absolutely no bearing on the size of its nuclear arsenal; rather it has much more to do with how its citizens are treated and how it defends itself without invoking the very real threat of humanitarian and environmental annihilation.

I am no lefty, and nor am I a pacifist, but I think it's time this country got real. We aren't the right player for the upkeep of nuclear defence anymore. That doesn't mean we'll be vulnerable or unable to defend our citizens. It's just reality.