September 25, 2009

What you need is sustained outrage...there's far too much unthinking respect given to authority – Molly Ivins

"The evidence that our democracy is failing is overwhelming and yet those with the biggest interest in sustaining the current system - the Westminster village, the media and particularly the political parties - are the groups most in denial about what is really happening to our democracy." says Greg Dyke former director general of the BBC, “They don't want anything to change. It's not in their interests."

These are words echoed around and around the world. Ordinary people are driven to near despair by the ineptitude of their governments. We know that political parties feel beholden to the big money which put them in office, and it’s just not good enough. Democracy is either for the good of the people or an expensive game which the people will ultimately reject.

In the UK Trident renewal is up for grabs. That represents £96 billion of public money and rising. We are not fooled by the shrouded olive branch of trading 4 old submarines for 3. The cost of the new 3 will be far in excess of the old 4, and more to the point is not exactly going to scare Al Qaeda or any other form of privatised terrorism out for whatever they can get. Bulking up a nuclear deterrent is outdated political posturing.

Currently each Trident missile has a range of nearly 5000 miles and is accurate to within a few feet. Roughly 86 missiles with 4 warheads apiece are available at any one time and the destructive power of each of them is estimated to be the equivalent of eight Hiroshimas – what possible use does any country have for that level of destruction?

It is a fallacy that the UK nuclear capability is independent. The blueprints, engines, fuel and guidance systems are American. Lockheed-Martin, a US corporation, is one of the three companies managing Aldermaston. The missiles can't be fired without information from American satellites.

Total UK borrowing has now passed £800 billion and increasing faster than in other rich nations. The economic problem has not been solved, it has simply been postponed. Just to pay the interest on its ballooning debts the Government must find more than £30 billion a year. This money is going to be raised from British taxpayers whether they like it or not.

Trident is a nasty, expensive joke which we neither need nor can afford. Democracy is not a spectator sport. It is up to the people of the UK to either tell their MP’s how they feel and stop the Trident renewal programme before it starts, or bury their heads in the sand as usual. What will you do?

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