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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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  • Additional MIQ for Christchurch
    An additional hotel will be added to our network of managed isolation and quarantine facilities, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “I have approved and Cabinet is in the final stages of signing off The Quality Hotel Elms in Christchurch as a new managed isolation facility,” Chris Hipkins said. ...
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    19 mins ago
  • NZ COVID-19 response earns another major digital investment
    Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications Dr David Clark welcomes Amazon’s Web Services’ (AWS) decision to establish a Cloud Region on New Zealand shores, further boosting New Zealand’s growing digital sector, and providing a vote of confidence in the direction of New Zealand’s economic recovery. “Amazon is the second ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • New Zealand invests in cutting edge cancer R&D
    Scaling up the manufacture of CAR T-cell cancer therapy for clinical trials Advancing New Zealand’s biomedical manufacturing capability Supporting future international scientific collaborations Transforming cancer care with targeted, affordable solutions Research, Science and Innovation Minister Hon Dr Megan Woods has announced that the fight against COVID-19 will not stop the ...
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    3 hours ago
  • Expert group appointed to lead New Zealand’s future health system
    An outstanding group of people with extensive and wide-ranging governance and health experience have been appointed to lead the Māori Health Authority and Health New Zealand, Health Minister Andrew Little says. “This Government is building a truly national health system to provide consistent, high-quality health services right across the country. This ...
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    6 hours ago
  • Funding to help clean up contaminated sites
    The Government is supporting the clean-up of contaminated sites in Northland, Dunedin and Southland to reduce risk to people’s health and protect the environment. Environment Minister David Parker said the funding announced today, through the Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund, will help us turn previously hazardous sites into safe, usable public ...
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    9 hours ago
  • Predator Free apprenticeships open up new job opportunities
    The expansion of a predator free apprenticeship programme is an opportunity for more people to kick-start a conservation career, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “The Predator Free Apprenticeship Programme is focused on increasing the number of skilled predator control operators in New Zealand through a two-year training programme. “The Trust ...
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    23 hours ago
  • Further NCEA support confirmed for Auckland students
    The number of Learning Recognition Credits for senior secondary school students will be increased for Auckland students, Education Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. This recognises the extended time these students will spend in Alert Levels 3 and 4. “It means students in Auckland will have a fair opportunity to attain ...
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    1 day ago
  • Long-term pathway next step to better mental wellbeing for New Zealanders
    The Government is taking a new approach to support people who experience mental distress, Health Minister Andrew Little says. “Kia Manawanui Aotearoa – Long-term pathway to mental wellbeing (Kia Manawanui) is the first 10-year plan of its kind that targets the cause of mental distress and also sets out how ...
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    1 day ago
  • Keeping our Police safe to keep our communities safe
    The Government is committed to keeping our frontline police officers safe, so they in turn can keep New Zealanders safe – with one of the largest investments in frontline safety announced by Police Minister Poto Williams at the Police College today.   The $45 million investment includes $15.496 million in ...
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    1 day ago
  • Clean Vehicles Bill passes first checkpoint
    The Land Transport (Clean Vehicles) Amendment Bill will help New Zealand drive down transport emissions by cleaning up the light vehicle fleet, Transport Minister Michael Wood says. The Bill passed its first reading today and will establish the legislative framework for key parts of the Government’s Clean Car Package, including ...
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    2 days ago
  • Funding boost supports ongoing Māori COVID-19 response
    The Government is responding to the need by whānau Māori and Māori Health providers to support their ongoing work responding to COVID-19 and to continue increasing rates of Māori vaccination, Associate Minister for Health (Māori Health), Peeni Henare and Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson announced today.   This increased ...
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    2 days ago
  • Significant increase to COVID-19 penalties
    Penalties for breaches of COVID-19 orders are set to significantly increase from early November 2021 to better reflect the seriousness of any behaviour that threatens New Zealand’s response to the virus, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Throughout this Delta outbreak we’ve seen the overwhelming majority of people doing ...
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    2 days ago
  • Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill returns to Parliament
    The Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill has returned to Parliament for its second reading in an important step towards giving enforcement agencies greater power to protect New Zealanders from terrorist activity. “The Bill addresses longstanding gaps in our counter terrorism legislation that seek to protect New Zealanders and make us safer,” Justice ...
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    2 days ago
  • Joint Statement: New Zealand and Australian Trade Ministers
    Hon Damien O'Connor MP, New Zealand Minister for Trade and Export Growth, and Hon Dan Tehan MP, Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, met virtually on Monday 20 September to advance trans-Tasman cooperation under the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (CER). CER is one of the most ...
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    3 days ago
  • Prime Minister’s Post Cabinet Press Conference/COVID-19 Update opening statement
    ***Please check against delivery***   E te tī, e te tā, nau mai rā [To all, I bid you welcome]   As you will have seen earlier, today there are 22 new community cases to report; three of which are in Whakatiwai in the Hauraki area, and the remainder in ...
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    3 days ago
  • Major milestones for Māori COVID-19 vaccine rollout as new campaign launches
    Whānau Ora and Associate Health (Māori Health) Minister Peeni Henare acknowledges two major milestones in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme for Māori. “I am very pleased to announce more than 50 percent of eligible Māori have received their first dose and 25 per cent are now fully vaccinated,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government funding to fight infectious diseases
    $36 million for research into Covid-19 and other infectious diseases The investment will improve our readiness for future pandemics Research will focus on prevention, control, and management of infectious diseases The Government’s investing in a new Infectious Diseases Research Platform to boost Aotearoa New Zealand’s Covid-19 response and preparedness for ...
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    4 days ago
  • Quarantine-free travel with Australia to remain suspended for a further 8 weeks
    Suspension to be reviewed again mid to late November Decision brought forward to enable access from Australia to first tranche of around 3000 rooms in MIQ Air New Zealand working at pace to put on more flights from Australia from October    The suspension of quarantine-free travel (QFT) with Australia has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Extra support for Ethnic Communities to share vaccination information
    Extra support is being made available to Ethnic Communities to help them share COVID-19 vaccination information within their communities, Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities Priyanca Radhakrishnan said. “We know we need to get every eligible person in New Zealand vaccinated. A fund being launched today will allow for ...
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    6 days ago
  • School holidays remain unchanged for Auckland region
    School holidays in Auckland will continue to be held at the same time as the rest of the country, starting from Saturday, 2 October, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “I’ve carefully considered advice on the implications of shifting the dates and concluded that on balance, maintaining the status quo ...
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    6 days ago
  • Government continues crackdown on gangs and organised crime
    Operation Tauwhiro extended until March 2022 Since it was launched in February, Operation Tauwhiro has resulted in:   987 firearms seized $4.99 million in cash seized 865 people charged with a firearms-related offence Gangs and organised crime groups will continue to be relentlessly targeted with the extension of Police’s successful ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Speech to Body Positive 'HIV Treatments Update Seminar 2021'
    E ngā mana E ngā reo E ngā iwi Tēnā koutou katoa Ka huri ki ngā mana whenua o te rohe nei. Tēnā koutou. He mihi hoki ki a tatou kua tau mai nei I raro I te kaupapa o te rā. Nō reira tēnā koutou katoa Acknowledgements It’s a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Power bill changes bring fairness to charges
    A key recommendation of an independent panel to make electricity charges fairer across all households will be put in place, the Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods has announced. “Phasing out the regulations on ‘low-use’ electricity plans will create a fairer playing field for all New Zealanders and encourage a ...
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    6 days ago
  • NZ economy’s strong momentum will support rebound from Delta outbreak; COVID fund replenished
    The economy showed strong momentum in the period leading up to the recent Delta COVID-19 outbreak, which bodes well for a solid economic rebound, Grant Robertson said. GDP rose 2.8 percent in the June quarter, following on from a 1.4 percent increase in the previous March quarter. This was a ...
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    1 week ago
  • Projects create benefits into the future
    Making a well-known lake swimmable and helping to halt the decline of the endangered hoiho/yellow-eyed penguins are among a suite of new projects being supported by the Government’s Jobs for Nature programme across the southern South Island, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “It’s no secret that many of our most ...
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    1 week ago
  • Opening statement for Whāriki Indigenous Small Business Roundtable
      Kei ngā tōpito e wha o te āo e rere ana te mihi maioha ki a koutou nō tawhiti, nō tata mai e tāpiri ana ki tēnei taumata kōrero mo te ao hokohoko arā mā ngā pākihi mo ngā iwi taketake Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa – Pai Mārire.  ...
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    1 week ago
  • New members appointed to Kāpuia
    The Government is adding four additional members to Kāpuia, the Ministerial Advisory Group on the Government’s Response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch mosques. “I’m looking forward to having Pamela MacNeill, Huia Bramley, Melani Anae and Katherine Dedo  join Kāpuia and contribute to this group’s ...
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    1 week ago
  • Timeline confirmed for Emissions Reductions Plan
    Cabinet has agreed to begin consulting on the Emissions Reduction Plan in early October and require that the final plan be released by the end of May next year in line with the 2022 Budget, the Minister of Climate Change, James Shaw confirmed today. “Cabinet’s decision allows organisations and communities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pay parity pathway for early learning teachers confirmed
    Pay parity conditions and higher funding rates for education and care services will come into force on 1 January, 2022, Minister of Education Chris Hipkins confirmed today. The Government signalled this work in Budget 2021. “From 1 January, 2022, centres opting into the scheme will receive government funding and be ...
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    1 week ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Nurses Organisation Conference 2021
    Kia Ora tatau katoa.   Ka tuku mihi ki nga nēhi, He pou Hauora o Aotearoa, E ora ai tatou.   Whakatau mai  I runga i te kaupapa o te ra Te NZNO conference.   Tena koutou tena koutou Tena tatou katoa   Good morning, and thank you inviting me ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government investment in farmer-led catchment groups sweeps past 150 mark
    171 catchment groups have now been invested in by the Government 31 catchment groups in the Lower North Island are receiving new support More than 5,000 farmers are focussed on restoring freshwater within a generation through involvement in catchment groups  Government investment in on-the-ground efforts by farmers to improve land ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Fight to protect kauri on track
    The Government is pitching in to help vital work to protect nationally significant kauri forests in Auckland, Minister of Conservation Kiri Allan says. “Ensuring the survival of these iconic trees for future generations means doing everything we can to prevent the potential spread of kauri dieback disease,” Kiri Allan said. ...
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    1 week ago
  • Joint statement of Mr Bernard Monk; Hon Andrew Little, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry,...
    [Note: The Parties have agreed on terms to fully and finally settle the proceeding and will jointly issue the below statement.] At the heart of this litigation are the lives of the 29 men tragically lost at the Pike River mine on 19 November 2010 and to whom we pay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More financial support for businesses
    Today’s decision to keep Auckland in a higher COVID Alert Level triggers a third round of the Wage Subsidy Scheme which will open for applications at 9am this Friday. “The revenue test period for this payment will be the 14th to the 27th of September. A reminder that this is ...
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    1 week ago
  • Aotearoa New Zealand provides further humanitarian support for Afghanistan
    Aotearoa New Zealand is providing a further $3 million in humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today.  “There is significant humanitarian need in Afghanistan, with the crisis disproportionately affecting women and girls,” said Nanaia Mahuta. The UN has estimated that 80% of the quarter of a million ...
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    1 week ago
  • Innovative te reo prediction tool announced in Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori
    A new Māori language prediction tool will play a key role in tracking our te reo Māori revitalisation efforts, Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson announced today. He Ara Poutama mō te reo Māori (He Ara Poutama) can forecast the number of conversational and fluent speakers of te reo Māori ...
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    1 week ago
  • Further Government support for people to access food and essential items
    The Government is responding to need for support in Auckland and has committed a further $10 million to help people access ongoing food and other essential items, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced today. This latest tranche is targeted at the Auckland region, helping providers and organisations to distribute ...
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    1 week ago
  • Half a million Pfizer vaccines from Denmark
    The Government has secured an extra half a million doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines from Denmark that will start arriving in New Zealand within days, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “This is the second and larger agreement the Government has entered into to purchase additional vaccines to meet the ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Inland Revenue providing essential COVID support for businesses
    Inland Revenue is seeing increased demand for Resurgence Support Payments and other assistance schemes that it administers, but is processing applications quickly, Revenue Minister David Parker said today. David Parker said the Resurgence Support Payment, the Small Business Cashflow (loan) Scheme and the Wage Subsidy are available at the same ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand marks 20th anniversary of 9/11 attacks
    New Zealand is expressing unity with all victims, families and loved ones affected by the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks, and all terrorist attacks around the world since, including in New Zealand. “Saturday marks twenty years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, which killed nearly 3,000 people ...
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    2 weeks ago