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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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  • Statement on the death of Sir Murray Halberg
    New Zealand has lost one our true sporting icons with the passing of Sir Murray Halberg, Grant Robertson, Minister of Sport and Recreation said today. “Sir Murray was an extraordinary athlete. His gold medal in the 5000m at the Rome Olympic Games in 1960 has been immortalised as part of New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Ministerial talks in Canberra to progress trans-Tasman relationship
    The importance of cooperation in the Pacific to support the region’s recovery and resilience will be a focus of formal talks in Canberra tomorrow between the Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta and her Australian counterpart Penny Wong. Nanaia Mahuta will meet Senator Wong for the second formal Foreign Ministers’ Consultations following ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Iwi and Government partnership delivers more rental homes for Pāpāmoa whānau
    Associate Minister of Housing (Māori Housing) Peeni Henare attended the official opening of 10 new rental homes built for working whānau of Ngā Pōtiki ā Tamapahore in Pāpāmoa today. “The Bay of Plenty region is one of many regions facing significant housing challenges and this Government is taking action by ...
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    11 hours ago
  • Government investment to support growth of Māori businesses and jobs in the primary sector
    Total exports by Māori businesses have grown by 38% since 2017 to $872 million, with the majority from the food and fibre sector Launch of Rautaki mo te Taurikura action plan to support the continued growth of Māori food and fibre sector Support for Māori agribusiness innovation and workforce development ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Government to address child abuse system failings
    The Government is adopting the majority of recommendations from an independent review into the actions of government agencies leading up to the death of 5-year-old Malachi Subecz, Minister for Children Kelvin Davis announced today. Following Malachi’s murder at the hands of his caregiver in 2021, Dame Karen Poutasi was appointed ...
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    13 hours ago
  • More tools to help Police deal with fleeing drivers
    Increase the maximum driver licence disqualification period for a second offence of failing to stop or remain stopped, from 12 months to between 12 months and 24 months; Amend the Sentencing Act 2002 so that a vehicle can be forfeited on conviction for failing to stop. Offenders could have their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Govt books solid as global situation worsens
    The Crown accounts are in a solid position thanks to the Government’s careful financial management through a deteriorating global environment. For the four months to the end of October, the Operating Balance before Gains and Losses (OBEGAL) recorded a deficit of $2.8 billion, $274 million lower than forecast at Budget ...
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    15 hours ago
  • Expanded Dental Grants Available From Today
    ·       Increased Special Needs Grants for dental treatment are available to eligible New Zealanders available from today ·       New criteria means more Dental Treatment covered ·       People can now receive more than one grant in a year (any 52-week period), up to the maximum of $1,000 ·       Recent increases to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Exports tracking towards new record high growth
    Primary industry exports to reach new record high of $55 billion in 2023 Forecasts $2.9 billion higher than in June 2022 Tracking strongly towards a 4 per cent increase in the year ending June 2023, despite global downturn New Zealand’s record food and fibre export revenue is projected to reach ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • New guidance for climate action at the local level
    The Government has released new guidance to support stronger links between New Zealand’s climate change goals, and local and regional planning. From today, it has become a legal requirement for local governments to consider the Government’s National Adaptation Plan and Emissions Reduction Plan when preparing or changing regional policy statements, ...
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    1 day ago
  • World-first bedside blood test good for people, good for health system
    A single blood test that can diagnose heart attacks in minutes instead of hours, saving the health system millions of dollars and getting patients treated faster, is being rolled out in New Zealand hospitals, says Health Minister Andrew Little. “This research, led by emergency doctors at Christchurch Hospital, is ground-breaking,” ...
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    1 day ago
  • New rongoā workstream announced alongside Therapeutic Products Bill
    A new workstream has been established within government to consider how rongoā might be protected in legislation. This comes as the Therapeutic Products Bill is introduced in Parliament today, Associate Minister for Health (Māori) Hon Peeni Henare said. “Under Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the Crown has an obligation to actively ...
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    2 days ago
  • Therapeutic Products Bill introduced
    Legislation to modernise the way medicines, medical devices and natural health products are regulated has been introduced in Parliament today. The Therapeutic Products Bill replaces the Medicines Act 1981 and Dietary Supplements Regulations 1985 with a comprehensive regulatory regime that is fit for the future. Health Minister Andrew Little said ...
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    2 days ago
  • New Climate Action Centre to support farmers maintain international edge
    New Climate Action Centre launched to support farmers reduce ag emissions through R&D investment 50:50 joint venture between Government and agribusiness to accelerate product development First Centre projects launched to get farmers the emissions reducing tools sooner Indicative funding commitment rising to $35 million per year by Joint venture partners, ...
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    2 days ago
  • Progress on firearms register and safety authority
    The launch today of a new firearms regulator to ensure the legitimate possession and use of firearms, and an online portal to apply for licences, marks a significant step towards modernisation and improvements in gun safety, Police Minister Chris Hipkins says.     Police is moving from being an administrator of ...
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    2 days ago
  • Government sets out next steps for on-farm sequestration strategy
    Government to work with primary sector on developing a sequestration strategy Government confirms today it will bring all scientifically robust forms of sequestration into the Emissions Trading Scheme, starting from 2025. This will be done at full value, rather than at a discount, so farmers can realise the true potential ...
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    2 days ago
  • Prime Minister concludes bilateral talks with Finnish PM
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin have concluded their first in person bilateral meeting in Auckland this morning. The Prime Ministers reiterated how their respective countries shared similar values and reflected on ways to further strengthen the relationship between New Zealand and Finland. “New Zealand and Finland ...
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    2 days ago
  • Plan to boost value & lift sustainability of NZ forestry sector
    Sector ITP to grow domestic processing and low-carbon wood products Grow the wood processing sector by 3.5 million cubic metres (25%) by 2030 Grow export earnings from value-added wood products by $600 million by 2040 Increase the use of domestic timber in construction by 25% by 2030 The Forestry and ...
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    2 days ago
  • Government supports more energy-saving projects to help more Kiwis save money
    17 community energy-saving education projects share $1.7 million Builds on success of previous Government projects that have supported more than 13,000 households and 440 energy education events with more than 80,000 LEDs distributed Helping households to reduce their energy bills and make their homes warmer and more energy-efficient, is the ...
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    2 days ago
  • Govt funds new 80-bed mental health unit for Canterbury
    The Government has granted final approval for a new 80-bed acute mental health facility at the Hillmorton Hospital campus, Health Minister Andrew Little says. “This is the second stage of Hillmorton’s major infrastructure redevelopment programme and is one of the largest investments ever made in New Zealand’s mental health infrastructure ...
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    2 days ago
  • Māori education momentum rolls on with new wharekura
    A new Year 1-13 wharekura will extend Māori Medium Education into Porirua West from 2027, Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. “The establishment of Te Kākā Kura o Ngāti Toa Rangatira will over time provide a local option for up to 200 tamariki and rangatahi on the western side ...
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    2 days ago
  • Easing administrative burden on farmers through new integrated farm planning projects
    37 new investments to simplify planning and reduce paperwork for farmers and growers Targeted projects for Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Manawatū-Whanganui, West Coast, Canterbury, and Otago Resources, a digital wallet and template tools to help farmers develop and integrate their farm planning. The Government is ...
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    2 days ago
  • New Commerce Commission Chair appointed
    Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Dr David Clark has today announced the appointment of Dr John Small as the new Chair of the Commerce Commission. “Dr Small has made a valuable contribution to a broad range of the Commission’s work in his roles as associate member and member, which he ...
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    3 days ago
  • Realising housing dreams for the Kāpiti Coast
    Much needed public housing is on the way for the Kāpiti Coast thanks to the Government’s purchase of a large vacant plot of land at 59-69 Raumati Road in Raumati Beach. “This purchase will ultimately mean more families have a place to call home and demonstrates our commitment to resolving ...
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    3 days ago
  • Decarbonisation industry milestone reached in Timaru
    A pioneering boiler conversion project is now up and ready to go, using woodchips to make potato chips, while slashing emissions. “McCain’s newly converted coal boiler will reduce CO2 emissions at its Timaru factory by 95% and is an excellent example of the great climate gains we can achieve through ...
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    3 days ago
  • Fiftieth Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations With China
    Chinese Embassy Reception Te Papa, Wellington   Tēnā koutou katoa, Da jia hao Let me first acknowledge Ambassador Wang Xiaolong, thank you for the invitation this evening, it is a pleasure to be here. I would also like to acknowledge current and former Parliamentary colleagues, as well as members of ...
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    3 days ago
  • Govt keeps AM on the air in Northland
    Minister of Broadcasting and Media Willie Jackson and Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty today announced a $1.48 million package to fund the repair and replacement of three transmission masts in Northland to ensure AM radio can stay on air in the region. “This funding will secure the reinstatement of ...
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    3 days ago
  • Multi million dollar package to tackle retail crime and reoffending
    A multi million dollar package to tackle retail crime and reoffending is the most significant crime prevention financial package in recent memory  New fog cannon subsidy scheme set up. Government to provide $4000 for all small shops and dairies in New Zealand who want a fog cannon installed, with shops ...
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    3 days ago
  • Funding boost to support NZ’s game development industry
    New Zealand’s game developers will receive an immediate funding boost to help support the growth of local studios beyond the current Dunedin centre. “New Zealand’s game development sector has been rapidly growing. The latest data from the New Zealand Game Developers Association shows the total revenue for the industry is ...
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    4 days ago
  • A new strategy for Pacific housing
    New and existing housing initiatives are being brought together to improve home ownership for Pacific people said Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio. Fale mo Aiga: Pacific Housing Strategy and Action Plan 2030, launched today, is the Government’s targeted response to the housing challenges faced by Pacific Aotearoa. Minister ...
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    4 days ago
  • Government takes action on pay parity for healthcare workers
    Thousands of frontline community health workers – including nurses in aged-care facilities - are in for a pay rise as the Labour Government takes action on pay parity in the health sector. “I’m pleased to announce that Cabinet has agreed to on-going funding of $200 million a year so that ...
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    4 days ago
  • World’s first algae-based local anaesthetic another step closer to reality
    A partnership between the Government and the Cawthron Institute has delivered a breakthrough in the production of a potent microalgal ingredient for the world’s first algae-based pain medication, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced.  “Scientists at Cawthron Institute in Nelson have developed a reliable and commercially scalable method for producing neosaxitoxin, ...
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    6 days ago
  • Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri and the Crown sign Agreement in Principle| Ka waitohu a Ngāti Mutunga o...
    Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri and the Crown have signed an Agreement in Principle marking a significant milestone towards the settlement of their historical Treaty of Waitangi claims. Ngāti Mutunga are based on Wharekauri/Chatham Islands and are the second of two iwi/imi to reach agreement with the Crown. “Today’s signing follows ...
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    6 days ago
  • Further ACC reforms introduced to Parliament
    New reporting requirements on access to ACC Earlier access to minimum rate of compensation Refinement to ACC purpose to focus on supporting all eligible injured people to access ACC The Accident Compensation (Access Reporting and Other Matters) Amendment Bill which aims to improve access to ACC for all injured people, ...
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    6 days ago
  • Government supports Chatham Islands' resilience
    The Government is supporting the Chatham Islands’ resilience to extreme weather events and natural hazards through a grant to secure safe drinking water, Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty said. “Many households in the Chatham Islands lack easy access to drinking water and have been forced to get water to ...
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    7 days ago
  • New Chief Coroner appointed
    Coroner Anna Tutton has been appointed as the new Chief Coroner, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. Anna Tutton was appointed as a Coroner in January 2015, based in Christchurch, and as Deputy Chief Coroner in 2020.  After the previous Chief Coroner, Judge Deborah Marshall, retired Ms Tutton took on the ...
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    7 days ago
  • DIRA Amendment Bill passes third reading
    The Government has passed an Amendment Bill today to support Fonterra’s move to a new capital structure and the continued success of New Zealand’s dairy industry. The Dairy Industry Restructuring (Fonterra Capital Restructuring) Amendment Bill will allow the Fonterra co-operative to make changes to its capital structure, as well as ...
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    1 week ago
  • Minister Whaitiri to attend Food Ministers’ Meeting with Australian counterparts
    Minister for Food Safety Meka Whaitiri will attend the Fourth Australia and New Zealand Food Ministers’ Meeting in Melbourne on Friday. It will be the first time the meeting has been held in person since the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted international travel. “The Food Ministers’ Meeting sets the policy direction for ...
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    1 week ago
  • New Kiwibank parent appoints directors
    David McLean and Sir Brian Roche have been appointed as the first two directors of the newly incorporated Kiwi Group Capital Limited (KCG), the parent company of Kiwibank. In August, the Government acquired 100 percent of Kiwi Group Holdings, which also operates New Zealand Home Loans, from NZ Post, ACC ...
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    1 week ago
  • Defence Ministers meet in Cambodia
    Minister of Defence Peeni Henare attended the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) in Siem Reap, Cambodia. “The first face to face meeting of the ADMM-Plus members is an opportunity for me to highlight New Zealand’s position on key regional security matters,” Peeni Henare said.  “In ...
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    1 week ago