by Amy Fisher
In his foreword to the Government's white paper on the replacement of the Trident nuclear missile system, Tony Blair writes of the need to "deter" countries who might "seek to sponsor nuclear terrorism". In fact, the system exists for no other reason than to reinforce British imperialism's power to terrorise.
Whilst we oppose apologists for the weapons programmes of countries such as Iran and North Korea, socialists must recognise the hypocrisy of the biggest nuclear powers, Britain and the United States, when they talk of disarmament. The white paper states Labour's "commitment" to the "total elimination" of nuclear weapons in the process of justifying the £25 billion of public money Trident replacement will cost! Maintenance of the the system already costs £1.5 billion a year.
At a time when public services are chronically underfunded, spending billions on bolstering the nuclear capability of the British ruling class is obscene. But cost is not the only issue. It is vital to oppose Trident not just because of the waste of public money, but because of the purpose of nuclear weapons - to murder hundreds of thousands of civilians with bombs seven times more powerful than those dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. Nuclear weapons are not modern "precision" weapons of war and cannot be accurately targeted - they are designed to terrorise ordinary people whilst strengthening the hand of capitalist imperialists across the world. The labour movement must organise to stop the Trident replacement!