Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Nick Clegg, Trident and the faint aroma of hand-woven yoghurt

From the BBC News website:

Nick Clegg has called for the Trident nuclear deterrent to be scrapped, saying it is too expensive and no longer meets the UK's defence needs.

The Lib Dem leader is the most senior politician to say Trident should not be renewed when it expires in 2024.

The UK still needed a deterrent, he told the BBC, but a "like for like" replacement was out of the question.

Well done, Nick.

He is right to oppose the renewal of Trident. And he is right to use the arguments he has. During the last Liberal Democrat leadership election, when Chris Huhne made this call and Nick Clegg opposed it, I wrote:

Traditionally, Liberals who have opposed Trident have used two arguments.

The first is that nukes are really, really awful and if only you knew how really, really awful they are you would agree with me.

It does not occur to them that their opponents may know just as much about nuclear weapons as they do.

The second is that if Britain gives up its independent nuclear weapons then it will set an example that other countries will follow because they are so impressed by our superior morality.

To which the only possible answer is "bollocks".

Or, to put it more politely, Britain's scrapping of Trident would have not effect on anyone. Which, come to think of it, is a good argument for scrapping it.

I also said that Lib Dem defence policy should not consist in repeating CND platitudes from 50 years ago. It should lose what I called "the faint aroma of hand-woven yoghurt".

Incidentally, after Chris Huhne had lost his first Lib Dem leadership election I pointed out that many of his policy positions in that contest were becoming party policy. The same things seems to be happening after his second defeat.


Rod Duncan said...

Reading the title of this blog article on Twitter made me chuckle. So I followed it up. And I'm delighted to say that the article itself was just as enjoyable.

Shows the value of a good title.


Letters From A Tory said...

Huhne must be wondering where it all went wrong. Clegg continues to shuffle and fudge his way through policy debates.

crewegwyn said...

We have never been shy of a good phrase in the Liberals.

A favourite of mine from a party assembly in 1981 or 82 [the only ones I ever attended] :

"Small may be beautiful but, to too many people round here, inept is better"