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Boris wants more bombs

Written By: - Date published: 8:05 am, March 19th, 2021 - 50 comments
Categories: boris johnson, Brexit, International, uk politics, war - Tags:

At one level he may be an affable oath.  But at another level he is a dangerous psychopath.

I am talking about Boris Johnson, current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

What makes me say this?

Despite International Law, and the steps that the world has taken over the past few decades to wind back the nuclear threat he wants to increase the United Kingdom’s arsenal of nuclear weapons.  From Jon Stone at the Independent:

Boris Johnson’s plan to increase the size of the UK’s nuclear weapons stockpile amounts to a violation of international law, campaigners and experts have warned.

The government’s integrated defence review said the UK would be lifting the cap on its nuclear arsenal by 40 per cent, to 260 warheads.

The UK had previously been committed to cutting its stockpile to 180 warheads by the mid-2020s, but the review said this policy would be changed “in recognition of the evolving security environment, including the developing range of technological and doctrinal threats”.

The announcement comes despite the UK being a signatory of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which commits the government to gradual nuclear disarmament under international law – a policy successive administrations have stuck to.

The review also says the UK reserves the right to withdraw assurances that it will not use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear armed state “if the future threat of weapons of mass destruction, such as chemical and biological capabilities, or emerging technologies that could have a comparable impact, makes it necessary”.

The NPT rests on the promise of nuclear-armed states that they will never use nuclear weapons on a non-nuclear armed state, as an incentive for the latter not to seek to acquire its own arsenal.

And dear me but the UK Labour Party showed a complete lack of backbone in responding.  Again from the Independent:

Labour criticised the plans to increase the size of the stockpile, though the party supports the renewal of Trident in general.

“I voted for the renewal of Trident and the Labour Party’s support for nuclear deterrence is non-negotiable – but this review breaks the goal of successive prime ministers and cross-party efforts to reduce our nuclear stockpile,” Sir Keir Starmer said in the Commons. “It doesn’t explain when, why, or for what strategic purpose.”

The Labour leader added: “From Europe to the Indian Ocean, this government now has a reputation for breaking international law, not defending it.”

So some nuclear weapons fine, but too many bad?  And what ever happened to a passionate response of the “I can smell the uranium on your breath as you lean towards me” variety?  Spending billions of dollars on refining an existing capability to make the rubble bounce and bounce makes no sense.

Nuclear deterrence is a bizarrely stupid concept.  Its essence is that we need nuclear weapons so that we will not use them, that we are safer if they exist because if they did not exist we may use them.

The United Kingdom is a two bit nation dreaming of past glory.  We should not be surprised that it still harbours thoughts that it is still a major nation.

Where did Boris get the idea from?

Julian Borger at the Guardian has a suggestion:

According to those who have worked for him on the issue, [former US President Donald] Trump is preoccupied with the existential threat of nuclear war, and resolved that he alone can conjure a grand arms control bargain that would save the planet – and win him the Nobel prize.

But at the same time, he is clearly thrilled by the destructive power that the US arsenal gives him, boasting about the size of his nuclear button, and a mystery “super duper” missile he this week claimed the US had up its sleeve.

Administration officials have been left to try to confect a coherent-sounding policy out of such contradictory impulses – so far without success.

“He believes only he has what it takes to make the big deal, if only everyone else – all the experts – would get out of his way,” a former senior official said. “But he just has no idea about how to make it happen.”

And this:

The Trump administration’s arms control policy has been stuck for nearly three years on its insistence that China be involved in any new treaty. Beijing has so far refused to be drawn into negotiations which it believes are the responsibility of the US and Russia, who together possess more than 90% of the world’s stockpile of nearly 14,000 warheads. The Federation of American Scientists estimates China has 320 warheads, which are stockpiled, not deployed.

“The administration continues to stall,” the Democratic senator Chris Van Hollen told the Guardian. “The best way to describe their position is that it’s under review. And the problem of course is this has been under review for a very long time now and the clock is ticking.”

By the accounts of those who have worked for him on the issue, the president remains convinced that he can somehow work out a deal if he was able to speak face-to-face with Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping.

There is a second possibility, that Boris’s sabre rattling is to take the attention off Brexit.  From Polly Toynbee at the Guardian:

Now we know that British exports to the European Union plummeted by a cataclysmic 41% after Brexit on 1 January, what next?This is not the “slow puncture” predicted, but a big bang. Yet so far, it registers little on the political Richter scale.

It should shake the government to the core, but voters are well protected from this unwelcome news by our largely pro-Brexit press. Nor does BBC news, under Brexiteer mortar fire, dare do enough to rebalance the misinformation. Saturday’s Financial Times splashed that killer trade figure on its front page, but the Daily Express splashed “Flying start for US trade deal”. There is no “flying start”. Meanwhile, an EU legal action against Boris Johnson is starting this week, for his reneging on the Northern Ireland protocol and thereby imperilling the Good Friday peace agreement.

The Sun, Daily Mail, Daily Express and Daily Telegraph barely cover the EU trade fiascos, says Dr Andrew Jones, part of an Exeter University team monitoring Brexit media stories since the referendum. Currently, Jones says, those papers’ main Brexit story is Britain’s triumph over the EU on vaccines. That trope always omits the fact the UK could have purchased the same volume while in the EU, but it has become the Brexiters’ clinching case.

In both issues, nuclear stockpile and Brexit jingoistic claims about Britain’s strength have resulted in some pretty crazy policy positions being taken.  Hang on, this is going to get rough.

50 comments on “Boris wants more bombs ”

  1. Gosman 1

    Covid-19 has taken the focus away from the negative impacts of Brexit far more effectively than any discussion around changes to Britain's nuclear deterrence ever could. This is the sort of debate that would only ever get a small part of the country worked up.

    Interestingly the fact the UK had an independent nuclear deterrent influenced the Soviet Union in relation to their military planning about an attack on Western Europe.

    "Curiously, France and the United Kingdom were to be spared nuclear strikes. This is probably because both had independent nuclear arsenals not tied to the United States."

    Based on that it looks like it pays to have independently controlled nuclear weapons when confronted by powers that also have them.

    https://nationalinterest.org/feature/revealed-how-the-warsaw-pact-planned-win-world-war-three-16822#:~:text=In%20%E2%80%9CSeven%20Days%20to%20the,Amsterdam%20would%20also%20be%20destroyed.

    • mickysavage 1.1

      This was a soviet era scenario that thankfully never played out. The UK may have been spared initial strikes but would still have been frozen in the nuclear winter that followed. And an obliterated Poland does not represent a good outcome. The thinking from the report shows how barbaric possession of weapons, even for “deterrence” is.

      • Anne 1.1.1

        Thanks for that succinct history lesson ms @ 1.1

        I look back to that era and recall how badly some of us were treated by the Public Service. It was not uncommon to have promotions stymied on the grounds you were against the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Naturally the reasons given were different. In one of my cases it was a supposed lack of competency due to wrong figures in a research paper. It later transpired some of my [correct] figures had been altered. The PSA had been destroyed by Muldoon so they got away with the behaviour.

        In fact Muldoon was an excellent example of a psychopathic PM who nearly brought NZ to its knees.

      • Gosman 1.1.2

        Except nuclear deterrence worked in that no major direct conflict between known nuclear States has occurred. Conflict has been restricted to proxy wars and low level incidents.

        As for the scenario in question, there would have been less chance of a nuclear winter occurring if nuclear weapon use was restricted to central Europe. There would have been some flow on effect from radioactivity but the prevailing winds are Westerly which is away from the UK

        • Grafton Gully 1.1.2.1

          Is there evidence that major conflict would have occurred without nuclear deterrence ?

          • Grafton Gully 1.1.2.1.1

            No there is not. So what justification could there be ? To control fear and thereby rule.

          • Gosman 1.1.2.1.2

            Given the fact the Soviet Union and Chine (Pre-1970's) were ruled by political parties that believed the Capitalist system that was dominant in the West should be violently overthrown via a global Workers revolution I think it was odds on there would have been a major conventional conflict without the Nuclear deterrent.

      • Michael 1.1.3

        Suspect that scenario only applied until tactical nuclear weapons used on German battlefield. After, loss of control meant quick escalation to strategic use, including UK targets. Believe that dynamic still applies today. UK has decided to increase warhead numbers because Russia has become more aggressive towards it. Don't like the idea of "sub-strategic" deterrent – too dangerous. Better to target Trident warheads at bunkers in and around Moscow (with a few earmarked for Northern Fleet submarine bases). That way, Putin and cronies sign their own death warrants if they fire nuclear weapons at UK.

  2. Anne 2

    Plutocracies and Oligarchies are the natural home of psychopaths. The British Tory party is one such plutocracy.

    It has long amused me how one side accuses the other side of being psychopaths when both are equally psychopathic by nature. For as long as their respective populations continue to elect such politicians to office then we move ever closer to a nuclear catastrophe.

    • alwyn 2.1

      I lean toward the view that the natural home of psychopaths is a political party that wants to be in Government. Any political party with that desire. All political parties with that desire.

      Those with the most pronounced psychopathic tendencies are the people who want to lead such a party.

      I'm only leaning that way mind. I haven't been fully persuaded of the truth of the argument yet.

  3. RedLogix 3

    For all their appallingly catastrophic nature (and yes a full scale nuclear exchange really does justify the catastrophe word) – the hard reality we need to take into account is that we will never uninvent them. They will always be with us. Merely wailing and renting sackcloth over this will not change it.

    Also there is one other aspect no-one is supposed to say out loud, but since the end of WW2 … no direct major power war. The existence of nuclear weapons can take much credit for this. But neither does anyone want to bet on this Faustian deal paying off forever.

    Nuclear weapons have permanently changed the nature of unrestricted war, raising as they do the spectre of mass death at an inconceivable scale, and the potential for a near extinction event. So the question really becomes, how do we adapt to their existence?

    Instead of railing at their existence, we need to be asking the question, what do we have to change so that we can live with them in an orderly fashion? In this we need to start thinking in terms of what it would take for the whole idea of unconstrained war between the sovereign nations – to be entirely off the table.

    • Gosman 3.1

      Exactly. I remember at the height of the Cold War in the 1980's being told by anti-nuclear activists that no arms race ever ended in peace and that nuclear deterrence would not work. Well it did.

      • RedLogix 3.1.1

        Well it has so far – but the bet that it work in our current confrontational global framework indefinitely into the future is not a good one imo.

        Sooner or later we need to start thinking about how to get beyond this. (And just wishing nuclear weapons out of existence seems childish to say the least.)

        • Gosman 3.1.1.1

          Except the nuclear arms race around the Cold war ended in the late 1980's. Anything after this date is not related to that arms race.

          • Michael 3.1.1.1.1

            We survived the Cold war because statesmen on both sides recognised the danger and acted resolutely to reduce it. Danger not eliminated though. In 2021 leaders of nuclears powers are of much lesser stature than in Cold War. Command control, and diplomatic, machinery less reliable. Risk of nuclear war now real again and growing.

            • Gosman 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Yes recognised the danger of MAD. Without MAD there is a good chance some politicians would have thought they could achieve aims via military means. The number of proxy wars that occurred during the Cold war is indicative of tis mindset.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 3.2

      In this we need to start thinking in terms of what it would take for the whole idea of unconstrained war between the sovereign nations – to be entirely off the table.

      Option 1: Take nuclear weapons entirely off the table.

      Option 2: Take sovereign nations entirely off the table.

      Option 3: ???

      They will always be with us. Merely wailing and renting sackcloth over this will not change it.

      Almost anyone can wail, but who has sackcloth to rent? Homo sapiens will outlast functional nuclear weapons, imho, despite the end of ‘Beneath the Planet of the Apes’.

      • RedLogix 3.2.1

        Well the nature of your two options needs to be considered, which gives some insight into which might be more achievable.

        The knowledge of how to make nuclear weapons is an intrinsic aspect of quantum mechanics, which in turn is the basis for all semiconductor based technology and much more. Taking that 'off the table' is never going to happen; once we 'know' something it's impossible to undo.

        Even if you banned their deployment it would make little difference, an efficient and capable nation like say the Germans, could probably knock out a useful number of weapons by lunchtime.

        Therefore it makes more sense to consider your option 2, that the sovereign nations relinquish their right to conduct war. It may sound ambitious, but if you step back and consider the broad sweep of the past 10,000 odd years of known history, it can be considered as a slow, uncertain and patchy process of exactly this – small social units abdicating their right to violence and becoming parts of progressively larger ones. From clan, to village, to tribe, to cities, through empires and eventually the modern nation state.

        Why is it unthinkable then to consider the final logical step – a social and political unity of the entire human race?

        • Drowsy M. Kram 3.2.1.1

          Taking that 'off the table' is never going to happen; once we 'know' something it's impossible to undo.

          Never is a long time RL, and there are many ways in which knowledge can be lost.

          Why is it unthinkable then to consider the final logical step – a social and political unity of the entire human race?

          I believe that neither option is unthinkable; I'd like to think that both are possible.

          • RedLogix 3.2.1.1.1

            and there are many ways in which knowledge can be lost.

            And I'd politely suggest that if we had 'lost' knowledge of quantum mechanics maybe we would have bigger problems to worry about than some measly bombs. Seriously.

            • Drowsy M. Kram 3.2.1.1.1.1

              And I'd politely suggest that if we had 'lost' knowledge of quantum mechanics maybe we would have bigger problems to worry about than some measly bombs.

              Why do you think that? Genuinely curious. Humans managed quite well prior to developing our very recent partial understanding of ‘eternal’ quantum mechanical phenomena/processes.

              Maybe we have different perspectives – I’d politely suggest that losing our (human) knowledge of quantum mechanics is inevitable.

              • RedLogix

                Humans managed quite well prior to developing our very recent partial understanding of ‘eternal’ quantum mechanical phenomena/processes.

                If you think this a good thing, then please get off the internet immediately because QM is what makes it work. And forget about a COVID vaccine – or pretty much anything about your life you've become so complacently accustomed to.

                The idea that humans 'did quite well' prior to modernity is a romantic fantasy that seems to have become remarkably common these days. It's a total nonsense of course – a reversion to the technical conditions of the pre-Industrial era would unwind everything achieved in the past 200 years. (And if you want to stop at the Victorian era, while steampunk is a delightful fantasy- it's just that, a fantasy.)

                Including all the social transformations the left holds so dear.

                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  If you think this a good thing, then please get off the internet immediately because QM is what makes it work.

                  Remembering my pre-internet standard of living, I believe it's true that humans managed quite well – not sure whether it's a good or bad thing. I am fairly certain that "you've become complacently accustomed to" betrays behaviour that isn't conducive to amiable discussion.

                  … a reversion to the technical conditions of the pre-Industrial era would unwind everything achieved in the past 200 years.

                  Once again, we seem to be coming at this from PoVs that are too different to allow for consensus, which is OK – we can agree to disagree. And hopefully we can agree that it's not only “the left” that clings to fantastical notions of social and technological transformation wink

                  • RedLogix

                    betrays an attitude and behaviour that isn't conducive to amiable discussion.

                    The idea that somehow we can abandon modernity and revert to the pre-Industrial era carries within it the direct implication of mass die-off. Without industrialisation and all it's accompanying technologies, there is simply no way in which a world of more than 7.5b humans can survive. It amounts to a death wish on an unimaginable scale.

                    It's kind of hard to be amiable about this.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      It's kind of hard to be amiable about this.

                      Naturally it's hard to be amiable about "The idea that somehow we can abandon modernity and revert to the pre-Industrial era", and honestly I don't understand why you would try to conflate anything I've written in this thread with such an extreme idea.

                      That's what you do, btw – you fabricate extreme points of view and then attempt to attribute them to individual(s) you're corresponding with. You’ve done this repeatedly (I’ve mentioned it before; we can revisit some examples if you like), and I believe it's deliberate.

                      Imho such bad faith behaviour is not conducive to logical debate.

                    • RedLogix

                      and honestly I don't understand why you would try to conflate anything I've written in this thread with such an extreme idea.

                      Well that's exactly what is implied when you suggest we might 'forget quantum mechanics'. It's hard to concisely convey just how deeply this science is entangled into literally everything modern that has happened since the end of WW2.

                      Forgetting QM immediately means no semiconductor based electronics, no computers, no lasers, no fibre optic communications, no internet, no capacity to deliver on any of the myriad of computationally intensive things like climate modelling, modern engineering, industrial processing, genetic analysis, x-rays, ct scans, ultrasound, gps … the list goes on for pages but surely you get the drift.

                      The point is that along with all this myriad of critical tools and methods that to our ancestors would look like absolute magic, and without which the modern world would be utterly impossible – also came the knowledge of how to make the fission bomb. The light and dark side are inseparable.

                      you fabricate extreme points of view and then attempt to attribute them to individual(s) you're corresponding with.

                      Yet twice in the thread above you embraced the idea that maybe we should, or will, 'forget quantum mechanics'. Right here:

                      I’d politely suggest that losing our (human) knowledge of quantum mechanics is inevitable.

                      And you accuse me of fabrication?

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Yet twice in the thread above you embraced the idea that maybe we should 'forget quantum mechanics'. Right here:

                      I’d politely suggest that losing our (human) knowledge of quantum mechanics is inevitable.

                      And you accuse me of fabrication?

                      Thanks RL, that's another excellent and succinct example of your fabrication tendencies. At no point did I embrace or float the idea that "maybe we should 'forget quantum mechanics'". My contention (as the quote conveniently illustrates) is that the loss of this knowledge is inevitable. You have attempted to fabricate the notion that I think this knowledge should be lost, which is a lie.

                      RL, @3:24 pm you wrote:

                      …a reversion to the technical conditions of the pre-Industrial era would unwind everything achieved in the past 200 years. (And if you want to stop at the Victorian era, while steampunk is a delightful fantasy- it's just that, a fantasy.)

                      Prior to that, I had commented about the pre-Internet lifestyle I enjoyed. This was in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. I'm old, but I'm not 'Victorian era old'!

                      What motivated you to fabricate the idea that I might want to "unwind everything achieved in the past 200 years", or that I might "want to stop at the Victorian era." ? It's just so much nonsense.

                    • RedLogix

                      At no point did I embrace or float the idea that "maybe we should 'forget quantum mechanics'". My contention (as the quote conveniently illustrates) is that the loss of this knowledge is inevitable. You have attempted to fabricate the notion that I think this knowledge should be lost, which is a lie.

                      Shoulda, coulda, woulda … you floated the idea that if somehow the knowledge of QM was to go away, it would solve the problem of knowing how to make bombs. Which speaks to the heart of your:

                      Option 1: Take nuclear weapons entirely off the table.

                      and followed up by:

                      and there are many ways in which knowledge can be lost.

                      then:

                      I’d politely suggest that losing our (human) knowledge of quantum mechanics is inevitable.

                      Read together it’s clear you think this would be a good thing, otherwise why propose it? However you want to frame it – unwinding QM is an utterly unrealistic option in any foreseeable timeframe. And even if it were to come to pass in some unknowable future – well as I said I think we'd have bigger problems than nuclear weaponry to worry about.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Shoulda, coulda, woulda … you floated the idea that if somehow the knowledge of QM was to go away, it would solve the problem of knowing how to make bombs.

                      RL, you've fabricated (often exaggerated) assertions and misattributed them to me (and others). The nonsense quoted above is just the latest example – it is you who has floated this idea, not me. It's a dishonest debating strategy, imho.

                      For the last time, I haven't suggested that civilisation should unwind it's knowledge of QM and/or its applications – that's all in your head.

                      What I believe is that it is inevitable that the human knowledge of QM (and not only QM) will (one day) be lost. Whether this occurs first because the human 'experiment' fizzles (either completely or partially/temporarily), or because a large meteor impacts the earth, or because 'our' sun expands, or because of the heat death of the universe, or for some other reason, is unknown.

                      As I wrote @3.2.1.1, "Never is a long time RL, and there are many ways in which knowledge can be lost."

    • Phil 3.3

      Also there is one other aspect no-one is supposed to say out loud, but since the end of WW2 … no direct major power war. The existence of nuclear weapons can take much credit for this.

      Literally millions of people died in various proxy wars between the capitalist and communist blocs over multiple decades. Claiming that the only two global powers still standing after WW2 were not directly in conflict is nothing but semantics.

      I'd also suggest that the lack of major-power conflict has less to do with the existence of nuclear weapons and more to do with economic efficiency, both in terms of (1) the evolving technology and capital-intensive focus of war, and (2) global economic arrangements mean the cost-benefit tradeoff of warfare is fundamentally less attractive to globally connected countries compared to isolationists.

      • Gosman 3.3.1

        More people dies in armed conflict prior to WWII than post. Given the fact the population of the Planet has increased exponentially I think that is a massive achievement don't you?

        • Gabby 3.3.1.1

          I doubt very much whether fewer people have died in wars since 1945 than in the equivalent period before 1945.

      • RedLogix 3.3.2

        Claiming that the only two global powers still standing after WW2 were not directly in conflict is nothing but semantics.

        But still last I looked there has been no open, unconstrained war between the major powers. There has been no nuclear exchange – and this is no mere 'semantics'. We all likely owe very our existence to this reality.

        Proxy wars yes – but as Gosman rightly points out, as deplorable as they have been, before WW2 it was always much worse.

        • Drowsy M. Kram 3.3.2.1

          There are some helpful diagrams and graphs available at ourworldindata.org.

          The deadliest “multicides” are more plentiful in recent centuries, given that there were more people to kill and better ways to kill them on a grand scale. Even so, killings as a percentage of all humanity are probably declining. Below, the sweep of human brutality in a timeline. – Bill Marsh

          • RedLogix 3.3.2.1.1

            Yup. That is an astonishingly good reference site. It really is worth just spending some time browsing around in it – a huge range of articles and data visualisations across a wide range of themes of interest.

    • Sanctuary 3.4

      No major power wars, just endless proxy wars – and that was when the world was stalled in the post-WW2 cold war settlement.

      It is remarkably short term (and complacent) to think nuclear weapons have been the main reason the world has prevented "major power" war, by which I assume you actually mean superpower conflict since the only two nations that counted from 1945-91 were the USA and the USSR. The careful legalism of this binary alliance world frozen along the cease-fire lines of WW2 was what kept the peace, along with the clear understanding that nuclear war between the superpowers, or the risk of a local proxy war escalating into one, offered no upside to either alliance. That post WW2 situation was most untypical of most historical eras and we are entering into a new and far more "usual" and more unstable era.

      In particular, major coalition conflicts usually break out not because one alliance perceives an opportunity but because all sides fear they risk even greater disadvantage if they don't fight now. The Great War represents a far more "normal" set of responses that led to a massive conflict simply because the governing class in every state saw the assassination of Franz Ferdinand as an opportunity to settle matters sooner rather than later, when they all perceived they would be even further disadvantaged vis-a-vis their opponents. In that sense, a (relatively) declining USA seeking to prolong it's hegemony is quite analogous to situation of the British Empire seeking to prolong it's hegemony against a rising German Empire in the two decades leading up to 1914, while a China that perceives it has reached a high water mark of power (due to demographic decline, economic headwinds, etc) relative to the enemies that surround it may behave in a manner similar to the Germans in 1914, who worried about the nascent industrialisation of Russia and relative decline closing the window on any opportunity to wage a successful war.

      The British threat to use their nuclear weapons against non-nuclear state is surely the most wild act of a decadent nation in serious decline, one that has chosen the nostalgic delusion of grandeur propped up with nuclear weapons should anyone dare lay bare the reality of their feeble and dessicated state.

      The ridiculous sabre rattling about sending a fleet to the east to confront China also has to be seen in these comforting fantasies of the British ruling class. A British carrier force steaming into the East China sea looking for trouble would be like a rogue support act of clowns rushing onto the stage of an opera just as the main participants (Japan, USA, China) are clearing their throats for the main event, but at least they'd die in a very noble and British fashion.

  4. JO 4

    The most apt oath for Boris's Colonel Blimp impression is not affable at all.

  5. Sanctuary 5

    Mention to a Brit that the Japanese Navy is twice the size of the Royal Navy and would be five times the size if Japan spent the same % of GDP on the military as the UK does four times out of five the Brit will riposte "Ah, but we've got nukes" which exactly explains why the British cling to them.

    The old saying – "The United States is a super power with nuclear weapons, the USSR is a superpower because they have nuclear weapons" can easily be adapted to add "…the USSR is a superpower, and the UK is a great power, because they have nuclear weapons."

    • RedLogix 5.1

      "Ah, but we've got nukes" which exactly explains why the British cling to them.

      In reality everyone with an advanced industrial base 'has nukes'. It's just a matter of strategic necessity and some time.

  6. Adrian Thornton 6

    Well at least Micky savage and I totally agree on something..

    "At one level he may be an affable oath. But at another level he is a dangerous psychopath.
    I am talking about Boris Johnson, current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom."

    I would like to remind readers of this very good piece by MS that the Corbyn was the only leader of a serious UK political party to openly stand against Trident…unfortunately that anti nuclear stand did not run though out the UK Labour party.

    Support Jeremy Corbyn: No to nuclear weapons! No to Trident!
    https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/support-jeremy-corbyn-no-to-nuclear-weapons-no-to-trident

    • Pierre 6.1

      Yeah, Corbyn was pretty clear about it in 2015.

      I am opposed to the use of nuclear weapons. I am opposed to the holding of nuclear weapons. I want to see a nuclear-free world. I believe it is possible.

      Asked if he would ever use authorise the use of nuclear weapons, he said: “No.”

      Unfortunately things have changed since then, and as Micky Savage points out above, the commitment to nuclear weapons and NATO is apparently non-negotiable now. As far as I know that's not the position of the last Labour conference and it's not the collective position of the national executive (on which there are at least two CND members). The Welsh Party of Labour also calls for a nuclear-free Wales. But hey, it would be too much to expect right-wing social democrats to respect basic party democracy.

      For anyone in Britain, I got the latest copy of Tribune last week, there's an excellent article in there by Andrew Murray taking apart the 'progressive militarism' of the Open Labour group. Some revealing details on how Corbyn's leadership team were forced to negotiate their peace agenda against the modern jingoists.

      • Adrian Thornton 6.1.1

        "progressive militarism"…yes lots of that going on these days it seems, though I would say Liberal militarism would be a more accurate description.

  7. Ad 7

    +1000

    Disgusting defence move.

    I just can't stand Boris Johnson.

  8. woodart 8

    think most on here miss the point. its all about money and politics. huge amounts of public money will be funneled into two or three large corporations to pay for this, and a few hundred-thousand? (depends on which paid expert does the math) jobs created. usually try and do these things in the nth of u.k. for job creation. as a defence tactic, having yet more warheads is stupid, as a job creator, its not cost effective, but as a means of wealth transfer, its nearly unbeatable. no doubt, u.s. firms like westinghouse will be lining up ,for a turn in the trough.

  9. RedLogix 9

    Nuclear deterrence is a bizarrely stupid concept. Its essence is that we need nuclear weapons so that we will not use them, that we are safer if they exist because if they did not exist we may use them.

    It's stupid not because of the nuclear weapons aspect, the knowledge of these is an inescapable aspect of the modern world, but of the idea that 'deterrence' is necessary.

    There lies the real issue.

    • Adrian Thornton 9.1

      "but of the idea that 'deterrence' is necessary.
      There lies the real issue."

      Exactly right, you hit the nail squarely on the head right there.

      Probably the only country in the world that would possibly face serious threat without it's nuclear weapons deterrent would be North Korea.

  10. David 10

    The wider lens and not coveted here is that the increase in stockpile is linked to a scale back of the 1970s Halbrook warheads used in the current trident programme and the scale up on new warheads to replace Halbrook as the new trident programme is implemented There will of course be an overlap between the two.

  11. RP Mcmurphy 11

    all because the hegemonic power wants to tax everyone. hmmmmm

  12. Byd0nz 12

    Hope Scotland becomes independent and sends the nukes back to Boris.

    Wha needs uranium tae seep intae anes cranium

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  • New Zealand provides support to Timor-Leste for flooding and COVID-19 surge
    New Zealand is providing further support to Timor-Leste following severe flooding and the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today. “Our thoughts are with the people of Timor-Leste who have been impacted by the severe flooding and landslides at a time when the country is ...
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    1 hour ago
  • WHANAU OF MĀORI BATTALION SOLDIERS REUNITED WITH MEDALS
    A ceremony has been held today in Gisborne where the unclaimed medals of 28 (Māori) Battalion C Company soldiers were presented to their families.   After the Second World War, returning service personnel needed to apply for their medals and then they would be posted out to them.  While most medals ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • SolarWinds compromise attributed to Russian state actor
    New Zealand has today added its voice to the international condemnation of the malicious compromise and exploitation of the SolarWinds Orion platform. The Minister Responsible for the Government Communications Security Bureau, Andrew Little, says that New Zealand's international partners have analysed the compromise of the SolarWinds Orion platform and attributed ...
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    2 days ago
  • Queenstown roading project given fast track approval
    An expert consenting panel has approved the Queenstown Arterials Project, which will significantly improve transport links and reduce congestion for locals and visitors in the tourism hotspot.   Environment Minister David Parker welcomed the approval for the project that will construct, operate and maintain a new urban road around Queenstown’s town ...
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    2 days ago
  • Screen industry secures landmark project
    Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash says a landmark deal has been agreed with Amazon for The Lord of the Rings TV series, currently being filmed in New Zealand. Mr Nash says the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) secures multi-year economic and tourism benefits to New Zealand, outside the screen ...
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    2 days ago
  • Report into review of health response to lead contamination released
    The Government welcomes the findings from a rapid review into the health system response to lead contamination in Waikouaiti’s drinking water supply. Sample results from the town’s drinking-water supply showed intermittent spikes in lead levels above the maximum acceptable value. The source of the contamination is still under investigation by ...
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    2 days ago
  • NZ Upgrade Programme revs up economic recovery
    Transport Minister Michael Wood today marked the start of construction on the New Zealand Upgrade Programme’s Papakura to Drury South project on Auckland’s Southern Motorway, which will create hundreds of jobs and support Auckland’s economic recovery. The SH1 Papakura to Drury South project will give more transport choices by providing ...
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    2 days ago
  • Speech releasing the Digital Council's report 'Towards Trustworthy and Trusted Automated D...
    CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY  E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā karanga maha o te wa, tēnā koutou, tēna koutou, tēna tātou katoa. Ki ngā mana whenua, ko Ngāi Tahu, ko Waitaha, ko Kāti Māmoe  anō nei aku mihi ki a koutou. Nōku te hōnore kia haere mai ki te ...
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    2 days ago
  • Green light for 10 minute e-bus to Auckland Airport
    Transport Minister Michael Wood today marked the completion of upgrades to State Highway 20B which will give Aucklanders quick electric bus trips to and from the airport. The State Highway 20B Early Improvements project has added new lanes in each direction between Pukaki Creek Bridge and SH20 for buses and ...
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    2 days ago
  • Review into greyhound racing announced
    The Government is putting in place a review of the work being done on animal welfare and safety in the greyhound racing industry, Grant Robertson announced today. “While Greyhound Racing NZ has reported some progress in implementing the recommendations of the Hansen Report, recent incidents show the industry still has ...
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    2 days ago
  • Road safety boosted by increased penalty for mobile use while driving
    The infringement fee for using a mobile phone while driving will increase from $80 to $150 from 30 April 2021 to encourage safer driving, Transport Minister Michael Wood announced today. Michael Wood said too many people are still picking up the phone while driving. “Police issued over 40,000 infringement notices ...
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    2 days ago
  • Pacific mental wellbeing supported across Auckland and Wellington
    Pacific people in New Zealand will be better supported with new mental health and addiction services rolling out across the Auckland and Wellington regions, says Aupito William Sio.  “One size does not fit all when it comes to supporting the mental wellbeing of our Pacific peoples. We need a by ...
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    3 days ago
  • Fresh approach proposed to Smokefree 2025
    New measures are being proposed to accelerate progress towards becoming a smokefree nation by 2025, Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced. “Smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke kills around 12 people a day in New Zealand. Recent data tells us New Zealand’s smoking rates continue to decrease, but ...
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    3 days ago
  • Govt expands Mana Ake to provide more school-based mental wellbeing support
    More children will be able to access mental wellbeing support with the Government expansion of Mana Ake services to five new District Health Board areas, Health Minister Andrew Little says. The Health Minister made the announcement while visiting Homai School in Counties Manukau alongside Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate ...
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    3 days ago
  • Record Number of People Move Into Work
    The Government’s COVID-19 response has meant a record number of people moved off a Benefit and into employment in the March Quarter, with 32,880 moving into work in the first three months of 2021. “More people moved into work last quarter than any time since the Ministry of Social Development ...
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    3 days ago
  • Significant global progress made under Christchurch Call
    A stocktake undertaken by France and New Zealand shows significant global progress under the Christchurch Call towards its goal to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online.  The findings of the report released today reinforce the importance of a multi-stakeholder approach, with countries, companies and civil society working together to ...
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    4 days ago
  • New chair of interim TAB NZ Board appointed
    Racing Minister Grant Robertson has announced he is appointing Elizabeth Dawson (Liz) as the Chair of the interim TAB NZ Board. Liz Dawson is an existing Board Director of the interim TAB NZ Board and Chair of the TAB NZ Board Selection Panel and will continue in her role as ...
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    4 days ago
  • Government to phase out live exports by sea
    The Government has announced that the export of livestock by sea will cease following a transition period of up to two years, said Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “At the heart of our decision is upholding New Zealand’s reputation for high standards of animal welfare. We must stay ahead of the ...
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    4 days ago
  • Workshop on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems – opening remarks
    WORKSHOP ON LETHAL AUTONOMOUS WEAPONS SYSTEMS Wednesday 14 April 2021 MINISTER FOR DISARMAMENT AND ARMS CONTROL OPENING REMARKS Good morning, I am so pleased to be able to join you for part of this workshop, which I’m confident will help us along the path to developing New Zealand’s national policy on ...
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    4 days ago
  • Inter-prison kapa haka competition launched
    For the first time, all 18 prisons in New Zealand will be invited to participate in an inter-prison kapa haka competition, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. The 2021 Hōkai Rangi Whakataetae Kapa Haka will see groups prepare and perform kapa haka for experienced judges who visit each prison and ...
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    4 days ago
  • Government takes step forward on counter terrorism laws
    The Government has introduced the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill, designed to boost New Zealand's ability to respond to a wider range of terrorist activities. The Bill strengthens New Zealand’s counter-terrorism legislation and ensures that the right legislative tools are available to intervene early and prevent harm. “This is the Government’s first ...
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    5 days ago
  • Carbon neutral government a step closer
    Coal boiler replacements at a further ten schools, saving an estimated 7,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide over the next ten years Fossil fuel boiler replacements at Southern Institute of Technology and Taranaki DHB, saving nearly 14,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide over the next ten years Projects to achieve a total ...
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    5 days ago
  • Appointment of Chief Parliamentary Counsel
    Attorney-General David Parker today announced the appointment of Cassie Nicholson as Chief Parliamentary Counsel for a term of five years. The Chief Parliamentary Counsel is the principal advisor and Chief Executive of the Parliamentary Counsel Office (PCO).  She is responsible for ensuring PCO, which drafts most of New Zealand’s legislation, provides ...
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    5 days ago
  • Emissions report shows urgent action needed
    Every part of Government will need to take urgent action to bring down emissions, the Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw said today in response to the recent rise in New Zealand’s greenhouse emissions. The latest annual inventory of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions shows that both gross and net ...
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    5 days ago
  • NZ becomes first in world for climate reporting
    Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark says Aotearoa New Zealand has become the first country in the world to introduce a law that requires the financial sector to disclose the impacts of climate change on their business and explain how they will manage climate-related risks and opportunities. The Financial ...
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    5 days ago
  • Awards celebrate the food and fibre sector employer excellence
    Exceptional employment practices in the primary industries have been celebrated at the Good Employer Awards, held this evening at Parliament. “Tonight’s awards provided the opportunity to celebrate and thank those employers in the food and fibres sector who have gone beyond business-as-usual in creating productive, safe, supportive, and healthy work ...
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    6 days ago
  • Tourism Infrastructure Fund now open
    Applications are now invited from all councils for a slice of government funding aimed at improving tourism infrastructure, especially in areas under pressure given the size of their rating bases. Tourism Minister Stuart Nash has already signalled that five South Island regions will be given priority to reflect that jobs ...
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    6 days ago
  • Electricity Networks Association (ENA) Annual Cocktail Speech 2021
    Tēnā koutou e ngā maata waka Tenā koutou te hau kāinga ngā iwi o Te Whanganui ā TaraTēnā koutou i runga i te kaupapa o te Rā. No reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tatou katoa.  It is a pleasure to be here tonight.  Thank you Graeme (Peters, ENA Chief ...
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    6 days ago
  • Construction Skills Action Plan delivering early on targets
    The Construction Skills Action Plan has delivered early on its overall target of supporting an additional 4,000 people into construction-related education and employment, says Minister for Building and Construction Poto Williams. Since the Plan was launched in 2018, more than 9,300 people have taken up education or employment opportunities in ...
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    6 days ago
  • Youth Justice residence offers new pathway
    An innovative new Youth Justice residence designed in partnership with Māori will provide prevention, healing, and rehabilitation services for both young people and their whānau, Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis announced today.  Whakatakapokai is located in South Auckland and will provide care and support for up to 15 rangatahi remanded or ...
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    6 days ago
  • The Duke of Edinburgh
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today expressed New Zealand’s sorrow at the death of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. “Our thoughts are with Her Majesty The Queen at this profoundly sad time.  On behalf of the New Zealand people and the Government, I would like to express ...
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    1 week ago
  • Five Country Ministerial Communiqué
    We, the Home Affairs, Interior, Security and Immigration Ministers of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States of America (the ‘Five Countries’) met via video conference on 7/8 April 2021, just over a year after the outbreak of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Guided by our shared ...
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    1 week ago
  • Inspiring creativity through cultural installations and events
    Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni has today announced the opening of the first round of Ngā Puninga Toi ā-Ahurea me ngā Kaupapa Cultural Installations and Events. “Creating jobs and helping the arts sector rebuild and recover continues to be a key part of the Government’s COVID-19 response,” Carmel ...
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    1 week ago
  • Drug-testing law to be made permanent
    Interim legislation that is already proving to keep people safer from drugs will be made permanent, Health Minister Andrew Little says. Research by Victoria University, on behalf of the Ministry of Health, shows that the Government’s decision in December to make it legal for drug-checking services to operate at festivals ...
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    1 week ago
  • Better rules proposed for freedom camping
    Public consultation launched on ways to improve behaviour and reduce damage Tighter rules proposed for either camping vehicles or camping locations Increased penalties proposed, such as $1,000 fines or vehicle confiscation Rental companies may be required to collect fines from campers who hire vehicles Public feedback is sought on proposals ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government backs Air New Zealand as Trans-Tasman bubble opens
    The Government is continuing to support Air New Zealand while aviation markets stabilise and the world moves towards more normal border operations. The Crown loan facility made available to Air New Zealand in March 2020 has been extended to a debt facility of up to $1.5 billion (an additional $600 ...
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    1 week ago
  • Building gifted for new community hub in Richmond red zone
    Christchurch’s Richmond suburb will soon have a new community hub, following the gifting of a red-zoned property by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) to the Richmond Community Gardens Trust. The Minister for Land Information, Damien O’Connor said that LINZ, on behalf of the Crown, will gift a Vogel Street house ...
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    1 week ago
  • Pacific languages funding reopens
      Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says the reopening of the Ministry for Pacific Peoples’ (MPP) Languages Funding in 2021 will make sure there is a future for Pacific languages. “Language is the key to the wellbeing for Pacific people. It affirms our identity as Pasifika and ...
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    1 week ago
  • ERANZ speech April 2021
    It is a pleasure to be here tonight.  Thank you Cameron for the introduction and thank you for ERANZ for also hosting this event. Last week in fact, we had one of the largest gatherings in our sector, Downstream 2021. I have heard from my officials that the discussion on ...
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    1 week ago
  • Strengthening Māori knowledge in science and innovation
    Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods has today announced the 16 projects that will together get $3.9 million through the 2021 round of Te Pūnaha Hihiko: Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund, further strengthening the Government’s commitment to Māori knowledge in science and innovation.  “We received 78 proposals - the highest ...
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    1 week ago