Freethinkeruk’s Weblog

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Archive for the tag “Trident”

Choices

Let’s face it this country is in a mess! It’s like a ship in a raging storm heading towards rocks and the captain shouts “Hold this course!” His Lieutenant who hopes one day to become captain shouts “Hold this course but slow down a bit.” The little cabin boy can see the rocks but feeling helpless crawls into  his hammock and puts his hands over his eyes and cotton wool in his ears, holding on to a blind trust in the madness of the officers because to do otherwise would require him to DO something.

The UK, along with other Western nations, owes money, a lot of money and so it was rightly decided to reduce this debt and this is where our witless leadership went wrong. They had no one with vision or moral integrity and so they set about taking money from those who had little, those without, they believe, power, attacking the sick, the pensioners, students, the lower paid workers who actually produce the wealth that makes us the 6th richest nation on Earth. They chose not to rein in the bankers and financial directors, they chose not to go after those who avoid paying their proper share of taxation amounting to tens of billions each year because they themselves belong to, or aspire to belong, to that elite band. They chose not to save up to £200billion by cancelling the Trident nuclear weapon system which will never be used and deters no one simply because this would deprive them of a seat at the top table of the United Nations. Instead of strutting they may have to walk like the rest of humankind.

They chose not to invest in a massive social housing programme that is desperately needed for millions of our citizens and would create and safeguard hundreds of thousands of jobs. In it’s wake this would generate spending power for the workers thus creating more employment and in addition, tax revenues. A bi product would also be a likely reduction in ever increasing housing rental costs which (some) greedy landlords are reaping in such places as London where tenants are now to be evicted because of government cuts to housing benefit. Instead they chose borrowing even more to fund rapidly increasing unemployment which is a tried and tested method of keeping wage increases to a minimum. Not such a surprising choice either when many of those currently in power like Chris Grayling, are indeed wealthy property owners.

We too though have choices. Even in this poor democracy of ours we do not have to be like the cabin boy; the power ‘they’ hold is in reality, our power that we lend to them. They stick together but they are only a few, we are millions and if only we can stick together and demand a new way, a new vision, then we can take back our power and steer our ship away from the rocks, into calmer waters of fairness, justice, democracy, co-operation and peace.

But have we the guts?

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Trident Replacement

This new government is quite obviously incapable of thinking things through as can be seen by the Child Benefit debacle but they have excelled themselves on Trident.

Liam Fox has just announced that they will be replacing the Trident nuclear missile system at a cost of £20bn. Yes £20bn at a time when we are told there are huge cutbacks in social services to be made. We all know as well that a government estimate for cost usually doubles particularly when it comes to defence spending.

Even the most fevered mind would be hard put to come up with a scenario in which a British Prime Minister would actually give the order to destroy 10’s of millions of people. As for being an independent system everyone knows that it depends entirely on the USA for the missiles and for the guidance system that can be switched off at any time. Even the regular refurbishment of the nuclear warhead carried out at Aldermaston is done by an American owned company.

Apart from France no other mainland European country has these weapons; are they all shaking in their boots because they haven’t got some? I suggest not, they are spending their £20bn plus on better lives for their citizens.

Finally this decision  is nothing more than encouragement to countries, like Iran, to develop their own nuclear capability on the grounds that if Britain says that they are essential for it’s defence then it must also be essential for theirs. There was an acronym for this idea during the cold war; MAD, Mutually Assured Destruction. The madness goes on.

Nuclear Progress?

President Obama of the USA and President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia have signed an agreement to reduce their respective stock of nuclear weapons. This is of course to be welcomed and it’s a START (Strategic Arms Reduction Talks) However, let’s not get too carried away. Currently they have well over 2000 nuclear bombs each and they have now agreed to reduce the numbers to over 1500 each; progress, yes but still sufficient to destroy the entire globe.

The time must be right for the UK to contribute by not replacing Trident which has never been ‘independant’ anyway while at the same time saving us a massive £70 billion that we can certainly do with in the present economic climate.

No to Trident


Your Choice

The NHS is facing a serious shortfall in funding from 2011 onwards. This is due to our quite rightly, rising expectations and the cost of new innovative drugs. The estimated shortfall is £8bn – £10bn for the three years from 2011.

It’s not a party political matter, although doubtless it will become so but a simple matter of finance which will have to be addressed by who ever is in power. It is down to us, all of us, to make a choice and to insist on our wishes to be carried out. If like me, you believe the tens of billions of pounds about to be spent on huge, fancy aircraft carriers and on Trident nuclear missiles, which will de facto, be under the control of the US could be far better spent on our NHS then say so. Make the demand so insistent, so powerful, that no Party can deny you.

It’s our choice; better health for us all or weapons that in all probablility will never be used and if they were, would in all probablilty bring about the end of civilisation as we know it. It’s your choice, you can sit back and do nothing, or you can write your first letter to your MP or to the local paper, just do something.

What Now for New Labour?

It’s anyone’s guess at the moment whether Gordon Brown will be able to survive the current political crisis although I suspect that he may hang on until the bitter end next year and the end will indeed be bitter.

When New Labour with Tony Blair were elected in 1997 the electorate would have given power to anyone rather than the Tory’s and at that point a golden opportunity was lost. With a huge majority Blair, with Brown as Chancellor, could have transformed the UK into a far better nation. Together they wasted the first two years by sticking with the economic plans put in place by the previous administration and then proceeded to expand the ‘free market economy’ and embraced and encouraged the money grubbing, me first culture of  profit before people. They increased the gap between the rich and the poor by deviously cutting the taxes of the wealthy and increasing the taxes on the less well off. They believed their own spin that the City of London could go on creating money from thin air and that house prices would increase exponentially for ever. They took us into an illegal war costing billions of Pounds and tens of thousands of lives and into another futile and expensive escapade in Afghanistan from which we have yet to be extradited. They have progressively introduced draconian state control of our citizens by way of surveillance, police powers and data linkage. Yes, they have done some good things and improvements to the NHS and Education spring to mind but even they are tarnished by the Public/Private Finance Initiative which will result in a huge outpouring of money into the private sector over many, many, years.

So what now for Gordon Brown and New Labour? The next election is lost so with nothing to lose why not make some real change in the time that is left. The MP’s expenses must of course be sorted out and pushing through some form of PR in time for the General Election would be mostly popular and have the advantage of limiting Labour’s losses. Abandon the ridiculous and unpopular ID Card Scheme along with Trident replacement and huge aircraft carriers, thus saving tens of billions of pounds. Recognise that killing Afghan tribesmen and devastating villages is an unwinnable war and in any case will do nothing to protect us from terrorist attacks here and in fact will make such attacks more likely. Some of the cash saved could be used to increase pensions towards the poverty line (£165) per week as pensioners are more likely to spend it and so help in the recovery of  industry and employment.

All of this could be done prior to the General Election and may go some way to ensuring a wiser Labour re-election in maybe five years rather than our nation suffering once again under a Tory government for ten or fifteen or more years.

Nuclear Weapons Sell Off

Without it even being announced in Parliament let alone debated there, the government has sold it’s remaining 1/3 share in the Atomic Weapons  Establishment to Jacobs Engineering, a US company.

US companies now control 2/3rds of AWE and any last remaining myth that our nuclear weapons are independent have disappeared into thin air along with £billions of our money to America.

AWE is currently undergoing the biggest investment programme in recent decades with operators boasting it to be ‘on the scale of Heathrow Terminal 5’. Spending on capital programmes, over and above routine running-costs has mushroomed from £24m in 2000 to £420m last year.

If you ever wonder what happens to your taxes or why there isn’t enough cash for decent pensions or repairs to your local school and so on, then look no further than the billions wasted on nuclear weapons and their means of delivery. There are no circumstances in which we would use them because to do so would likely bring about our own demise so why do they waste 100’s of £billions of our hard earned money on them? We must demand an end to these toys for the boys.


The Budget

There can be little doubt that the Government should have seen the crash in the banking system and the housing market along with the approaching recession long ago. That though is now history and yesterdays budget was probably about the best that could be done in the circumstances.

There does seem to be however, a failure of government to recognise fully the seriousness of the situation and therefore a failure to make savings where they could easily be made and a failure to look at the bigger picture. For example, they could have cancelled the ridiculous I.D. Card scheme which is estimated to have a price tag of £15billion. This nation does not need two gigantic aircraft carriers at a current estimate of £6billion and defence estimates usually double by their completion. Equally we do not need to replace Trident nuclear submarines at even more billions of Pounds. We do not need either, to be fighting a futile war in Afghanistan at vast cost in cash and lives.

Virtually every household in the UK will be looking at where savings can be made and Government should do nothing less.

Financial Commonsense

With the Government spending countless billions of Pounds on rescuing banks from their excesses and the financial costs of the economic downturn, it is surely time for them to look at some of their own excesses and look to make savings.

Biometric Identity Cards for a start. The excuse for these is that they are an essential tool in protecting the UK from terrorists. Anyone but a fool can see that against a probably ‘home grown’ terrorist or any other, who is quite happy to die for his/her beliefs they are absolutely useless. As a means of adding to the control and surveillance of us all though, they are quite effective when linked with all the other systems that have crept in during the last decade. The cost is likely to be around £15billion. Well, that’s a good savings starter.

Two new aircraft carriers have been ordered complete with aircraft at an estimated £6bn and we all know that when it comes to most government projects the estimate usually doubles.

Replacement of the Trident nuclear submarines and their nuclear missiles comes in at £78bn for their 23 year life. We know we will never use them against a nuclear armed country and bring about the end of civilisation and neither will we use them against a non nuclear country in violation of International Law to be condemmed by the whole world.

We must learn that the UK is now just another small country in Europe, we stole an Empire in the past but now must move forward in a different and peaceful role. The aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines may make the admirals and air marshalls and politicians feel powerful but they are costing our nation far, far too much.

Taken from British American Security Information Council

“…cancelling the [Trident and aircraft carrier] programmes would
allow the Government to:-
•Take 1.2 pence off the basic rate of income tax; or
•Pay the capital and running costs of around 200 new hospitals; or
•Pay the capital and running costs of around 1,000 new secondary
schools in moderate /high cost areas, with 1,000 pupils each; or
•Pay £10-11 per week real increase in the basic state pension.”

Brown ‘bashed’

In yesterday’s by-election in Crewe and Nantwich the Conservatives took control. There is little doubt that the electors wanted to give Gordon Brown a ‘good hiding’ which is understandable and being a Socialist I have little affection for our leader.

However, he is getting the blame for fast rising fuel and food prices, products over which he has little control. To gain popular support he could reduce the fuel duty by, let us say, 50p per litre but this wouldn’t slow the increases and would leave a huge hole in the State finances which would have to be filled by other taxes and so back to square one. So what could he do? Well, he could get us out of the mess, created by his predecessor, in Iraq & Afghanistan and also reduce our military to purely defensive numbers. This would save many billions of Pounds. He could cancel the totally useless Trident replacement programme and save at least £65billion on current estimates and impose a ‘windfall tax on the oil companies whose profits are rising exponentially, not through any extra endevour but due to market prices. Scope there then to ease the pain, particularly for rural voters who have no choice at all other than to drive.

It’s all too easy to forget life under the Conservatives and Margaret Thatcher, so let’s hope this kick up the backside is just that and not translated into a General Election victory for ‘New Tory’.

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