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22/02/2018 11:25 GMT | Updated 22/02/2018 11:25 GMT

How Nuclear Spending Has Affected Defence Spending

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I was very encouraged to see that last week’s Question Time on BBC One talked about Trident and the effect it has had on security and the armed forces spending.

For a while now I have argued that the Trident nuclear weapon system is not an acceptable source of defence and that the UK investment in Trident of over £100,000,000,000 would lead to a decrease in spending on armed forces and essential services for their families.

This has proven to be the case as last year the UK failed to reach its 2% spending target as reported in the “Military Balance” report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies. This means; less care for the families of those who are returning from wars and could mean that the UK armed forces do not have the resources needed to participate at the level expected if there was an attack against any NATO state. This is an unacceptable position for the UK to be in.

Being anti-Trident does not make you anti-defence and I was proud to see two former ex armed forces personnel comment on Question Time; saying we should get rid of trident and invest in the armed forces. You can see the rest of this Question Time episode here.

It seems that people who have been in a high security environment or have worked in the armed forces know the dangers of trident and one of the ex-armed forces personnel even said ‘ it is clear that the government would never use trident’ - something that successive UK governments have said for a long time, so why do we still have it? They went on to say that they would never push the nuclear button and hope nobody ever would.

These are people who risk their lives to protect the country and even they are saying we should disinvest in Trident and invest in traditional armed forces. My grandfather, who was in the Navy under the Allies in the Second World War, would agree with this. If this is what people who would have been at the centre of this defence cut are saying, who are we to say that we know better?

The effects of nuclear weapons on impact are; burning skin, inability to breathe properly and long term effects include loss of limbs and children being born with respiratory problems decades later because of the radiation caused by nuclear explosions. If you doubt this please read or listen to the testimonies of people who lived through the nuclear bomb explosions like in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Setsuko Thurlow is a Hiroshima nuclear bomb survivor, who was invited to accept the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the International Campaign to Ban Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and her writing and videos on the effects of nuclear weapons is quite poignant.

So if people who have experienced this horrific weapon and people who have worked in defence both say this weapon is a huge waste of money, why don’t ban it?

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was opened for signature on 20th September 2017 and although 56 countries have signed this Treaty, the UK is not one of them.

What can you do about it?

Contact you local MP about how much of a waste of money Trident is and how the armed forces are suffering as a result and ask them to raise this as an issue in Parliament. Support ICAN’s campaign to abolish nuclear weapons: http://nuclearban.org/