The cover up over Trident misfire is clear and proof that Trident is far from an ‘independent nuclear deterrent’

Lindsey German


It’s deja vu in the House of Commons. Just like the debate on Trident last year, and that on Chilcot, a line of politicians stand up to agree with the Defence Secretary, that Trident is wonderful, a key deterrent which keeps Britain safe, and that any questioning of its role and safety is both out of order and close to pro-Russian treachery.

It beggars belief that Fallon is allowed to stonewall for an hour by hiding behind secrecy and national security. All previous tests – held successfully – have been marked by promotional videos issued by the MOD. Coincidentally, this one – which failed – not only didn’t have its own video, it was subject to a news blackout. Coincidence two is that it took place only weeks before the Trident renewal debate in parliament, which was a carnival of reaction and mindless defence of nuclear weapons. Coincidence three is that at the very point that Fallon was refusing to admit that a missile launched off Florida and bound for West Africa (why?) veered off course and headed for the US, Donald Trump’s spokesman was admitting that said missile had actually self destructed off the coast of Florida.

The cover up is clear, and goes back to the last days of David Cameron. It is a cover up at the top of government. It is shameful that even given the very limited forms of democracy in the House of Commons, Fallon was allowed to get away with this. But perhaps my greatest despondency is reserved for the sheer level of ignorance and stupidity which permeates parliament on these occasions. As one MP – I think Labour’s Paul Flynn – pointed out, the most likely case where nuclear weapons are used will be by accident. The fact that this missile headed in the opposite direction from which it was intended is a major accident.

Those of us who protested at Trident renewal last year did so for a number of reasons, not least its obscene cost at a time of cuts and austerity. But we have to build awareness of how dangerous and destructive these weapons are, especially at a time when Trump is saying he wants more nukes and more military spending.

If the debate today is anything to go by, with a few honourable exceptions, we will do so with little help from our elected representatives.

23 Jan 2017

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