On Monday the House of Commons debated the renewal of Trident. It was entirely predictable that the House would vote to renew the weapons of mass destruction. It was entirely predictable that all but one of Scotland’s MPs would vote to oppose it but Scotland’s going to get Trident anyway. And it was entirely predictable that most Labour MPs would use the occasion as an opportunity for attacking their own party leader instead of opposing the Tories.
It wasn’t really a debate of course. Debates imply that some participants are open to changing their minds. But then the UK’s independent nuclear deterrent is neither independent nor a deterrent, so a pretend debate on a pretend independent deterrent was perfectly appropriate.
What transpired in the House of Commons on Monday is what Westminster politicians mean when they tell us that remaining a part of the UK gives Scotland certainty. We can be certain that the second rate politicians who lead the Tory party will happy spend £200 billion as an ego boost so they don’t have to come to terms with the fact that the UK is a second rate power. We can be certain that the Labour party is as effective in protecting the nation as the uselessly expensive Trident missiles that they’re so fond of. And we can be certain that Scotland is going to get screwed over.
Our caring sharing new Prime Minister, the one who wants to represent the human and humane face of Conservatism, didn’t hesitate to say Yes when asked whether she’d press the nuclear button and condemn millions of civilians to evaporation, and millions more to long painful lingering deaths. A woman who has participated in a government which has destroyed workers’ rights and opportunities and presided over the explosive growth of foodbanks is all of a sudden posing as the champion of jobs.
Faslane costs Scotland jobs. In exchange for the 520 civilian jobs which the MoD admits the base creates, the MoD insists that the oil reserves in the Firth of Clyde remain unexploited. Scotland could have enjoyed a West coast oil boom during the 1980s, but it was prevented by the direct intervention of the MoD who didn’t want oil companies interfering with the passage of their precious nuclear submarines. All the focus on the BBC is on the jobs at Faslane, allowing talking heads to quote the fantasy figure of 12,000 jobs, a figure which includes several thousand military personel who do not live locally, a figure which rises every time the BBC report on the issue. But they never discuss the real high skilled high value jobs that the existence of the nuclear base prevents from being realised. And the never discuss the immense damage that radioactive pollution could be doing to a coastal area right next door to the largest city in Scotland.
The impression beloved of Westminster politicians that the UK is a world power is as laughable as the idea that Alberto Costa MP is a serious politician. For those who are unaware of the existence of Alberto, I can only say what lucky lucky people you are. He’s the Scottish born Tory MP for South Leicestershire, who has enthusiastically adopted oleaginous toadyism as a career path. Every time the mental scars of Alberto’s last appearance on our telly screens begins to fade, he pops up again with his wee fat face like a bursting plook. His contribution to the Trident debate was to remind opponents of renewal that we must renew Trident because nuclear weapons can’t be uninvented. Next week Alberto will be arguing for the renewal of the UK’s stocks of iron maidens, thumb screws, chemical and biological weapons, and those Klackers which were so effective in breaking the arm bones of 1970s school children.
Labour MPs took it in turn to stand up and interrupt their own leader’s speech against Trident renewal to side with the Tories. What about the jobs? They cried. As though a ruinously expensive weapon of mass destruction was really a job creation scheme. Because the most effective and useful way of spending over £200 billion of taxpayers’ money on creating employment is to spend it on missiles that can blow up half the planet and render the other half as much as a desolate wasteland as an Angela Eagle mass supporters’ rally. Trident is a job creation scheme, it’s just that it’s a job creation scheme for former defence secretaries, directors of defence companies, and the boards of the banks who loan the money and profit from the weapons’ construction.
Labour’s Vernon Coaker tells the House that threats like ISIS are a reason why the UK needs its nuclear deterrent. Because if some madman decides to drive a lorry into a crowd of people the best way to stop him is with a nuclear missile fired from a submarine. Vernon thinks that renewing Trident is so important that it’s worth any cuts to public services it might cause. One after another Labour’s discredited MPs stand up to mouth their nonsense, supporting the Tories instead of supporting their constituents.
The independent nuclear deterrent of the United Kingdom is every bit a ruinous fantasy as the reveries of a heroin addict. The UK keeps paying through the nose for its expensive nuclear medicine to stave off the harsh reality that its life is going nowhere except down the tubes, and it has no future except one of decay and irrelevance. Trident is a 20th century weapons system designed to counter a 20th century threat. The world has moved on, but the British state hasn’t. It’s still desperately clinging on to the glory days of the early and mid 20th century when the UK was still a player on the world stage and not an embarrassing and xenophobic little island perched off the north west coast of Europe, a mini-me America without the weather, the resources, or the clout. A country that can’t afford to be in Europe, that can’t afford to cooperate with our neighbours, but which can afford the weaponry to blow them off the face of the Earth.
If you want to know why so many people hold Westminster in such utter contempt you don’t need to look further than today’s Trident debate. Guff substitutes as fact. Idiocy takes the place of reason. Simple minded platitudes are proferred as profundities. One after another Tories and Labour politicians got up and spoke of the need to spend hundreds of billions on a useless weapons system which pollutes and endangers all of Scotland, and whose sole purpose is to make those self-same politicians feel important.
Audio link to this blog, courtesy of @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/a-fantasy-commons-debate-for-a-fantasy-deterrent-wee-ginger-dug-18th-july-2016
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