by Stephen Tall on October 29, 2007
Chris Huhne has lit the touchpaper with his announcement that he would seek to re-open the decision agreed (by a slender margin) at the Lib Dems’ 2007 spring conference to take no decision on renewing Trident until after the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty talks.
Speaking to The Observer, Chris confirmed:
he favoured a less powerful, ‘minimal’ deterrent, even if that meant it would be ‘more vulnerable’ to attack by other nuclear powers.
The old Cold War presumption of a threatened Soviet first strike no longer made any sense, he argued. The current threats came from ‘rogue states’ or ‘terrorists’ and did not require a system like Trident to provide a deterrent.
‘It would be ridiculous to replace the system with something of equivalent power, strength and lack of vulnerability. It will also make us dependent for decades to come on the US for maintenance,’ he said.
This position is further clarified on the LibDems4Chris website:
… for the record, Chris is not a doctrinaire unilateralist; he thinks Trident is a poor purchase for Britain on cost and benefit and that it will squeeze the resources available to conventional forces. A smaller independent deterrent could be in the frame.
The Lib Dem blogosphere has been positively aglow since Chris’s intervention: reactions range from enthusiastic agreement to total opposition. Here, in chronological order, are those who have responded so far:
LibDems4Chris: here, here, and here;
Linda Jack: here, here, and here;
Iain Rubie Dale;
If I’ve missed any, please use the comments to provide the links.