roger-godsiffBirmingham MP Roger Godsiff focusses on the practical reasons for opposing Trident as a drain on resources which could be spent constructively on education and healthcare – and an irrelevance in the post-cold war period.

He points out that although there is no longer a serious nuclear threat, we are left with nuclear weapons which are hugely expensive to build and maintain. “Committing £100 billion to renew our nuclear deterrent is ridiculous at a time of austerity when so many of our services, including conventional defence forces, are being dramatically cut”.

Moreover these so-called British weapons only make up a fraction of the power of the American fleet of submarines: ‘our’ weapons are not independent.  Indeed at present they are in the hands of a new and unpredictable president. On his website Mr Godsiff elaborates:

“The first myth is that the system is ‘independent’. The UK has 4 nuclear submarines. Each can carry up to 8 missiles and each missile can carry up to 5 nuclear warheads. The UK does not own the missiles. It leases them from America where they are made, maintained and tested. Our 4 submarines have to go to the American naval base in Georgia to have the missiles fitted. Therefore our nuclear deterrent is totally dependent on America”.

Roger Godsiff said that the real threats these days cannot be addressed by nuclear weapons. For example, when he was MP for Small Heath there was a huge police operation because one house contained a suicide-bomber who had strapped explosives to himself: “This happened some years ago in White Street, Sparkbrook, where a terrorist cell planning to set off bombs in central Birmingham was monitored and the premises raided before any atrocity was carried out. The individuals involved were all convicted and received long prison sentences . . . “the only way of dealing with threats from domestic terrorist groups is to be continually vigilant and to make sure our police and internal security organisations are properly funded to disrupt their activities”.

“How do you deal with a threat like that?” he asked; “Do you nuke Small Heath? Of course not! Yet this is the kind of threat this country is far more likely to face these days. We don’t need nuclear bombs to address this kind of problem – one warhead kills about a million and spreads radioactive material around for a huge distance”.

He was one of forty-seven MPs on the ‘roll of honour’ voting against spending £31 billion to replace the fleet of submarines that carry our nuclear missiles. Others on the list are named on Wales Online.

 

 

 

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