Monday, December 04, 2006

A clear and present danger

The priorities couldn’t be clearer. While climate chaos goes unchecked, while hospitals cut services, while the retirement age is pushed back and back, while millions can’t access affordable housing, while train fares soar, New Labour has spoken. Britain will spend at least £25 billion, and probably a lot more, on a new generation of nuclear weapons. Even if some New Labour MPs somehow discover the courage to vote against, the proposals will go through because the Tories support New Labour’s plans announced today. Not even the Archbishop of Canterbury’s characterisation of nuclear weapons as "evil" will halt Blair from imposing his nuclear legacy. The Trident replacement programme raises several questions. With an effective New Labour-Tory coalition on everything from trust schools to nuclear weapons, the rights of voters are being ground into the dust. That only reinforces the fact that the idea of parliamentary democracy is just that – an idea. Decisions are taken in secret and imposed on parliament by party leaders acting in the interests of the "nation". Most MPs are too cowardly to oppose the executive because they fear for their well-paid jobs. Principles do not run too thick in the blood of the average MP.

Because the existing nuclear submarine fleet will function until at least 2024, the decision to replace it also reveals the way the British state sees the next four decades. The not-so-rosy prospect being held out is one of increasing military tension between states and the possibility of a catastrophic war. Kate Hudson, from the anti-nuclear pressure group, CND, was right when she told BBC Five Live: "If we go ahead with developing new nuclear weapons, we can be absolutely certain that many other countries will proliferate nuclear weapons and we are going to end up with a situation of nuclear war." That war could result from the emerging world economic slump and the struggle for dwindling resources such as oil and uranium. So if climate chaos doesn’t get you, there is always a chance that nuclear fall-out will. Petitions, prayers and protest clearly have minimal impact on New Labour and the market state. They represent a clear and present danger to society and international peace as well as a barrier to future human progress so long as they maintain their power.

Paul Feldman, communcations editor

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