LDV readers say: big yes to Nick Clegg's Trident U-turn

by Stephen Tall on June 23, 2009

A week ago, Nick Clegg announced his decision to become the first mainstream party leader to declare openly his opposition to the UK renewing the Trident nuclear deterrent: “the world has changed, the facts have changed, you’ve got to change with them. So like-for-like replacement for Trident is just not right.”

We asked LDV readers to tell us what you thought of the Lib Dem leader’s change of heart (in the 2007 leadership campaign he clashed with Chris Huhne on the issue, arguing the UK should wait until the 2010 non-proliferation talks before deciding whether or not to renew). The question we posed was: Do you agree with Nick Clegg’s decision to rule out a like-for-like replacement of Trident?

Here’s what you told us:

  • Yes – Trident is the wrong deterrent and too expensive: 81% (245 votes)
  • No – we should defer a decision until after the 2010 talks: 9% (26)
  • No – we should commit now to renewing Trident: 10% (29)
  • Other: 1% (4)
    Total Votes: 304. Poll ran: 17th-22nd June 2009
  • So an overwhelming four-fifths of LDV readers who voted back Nick’s decision, suggesting he won’t have too much trouble overturning existing party policy when it’s put to the vote at the 2009 autumn conference.

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    A sensible move. The previous fudge was pointless and made the party look indecisive and confused. Unfortunately in politics it is rarely a good idea to say you don’t know.

    by William on June 23, 2009 at 10:03 pm. Reply #

    I believe that Trident is an expensive deterrent and fully applaud Nick Clegg`s stance at looking for a cheaper for Britain alternative, in preparedness for the renewal date.

    I recall Nick Clegg stating that he is not a pacifist and wants Britain to find an alternative to Trident and in that vein, has asked Sir Ming Campbell, to report to Conference, on his findings.

    by Cllr Patrick Smith on June 23, 2009 at 11:15 pm. Reply #

    There is a multilateral round of talks in 2010. We could put trident on the table and then get something in return from the Russians. Good politics, but bad policy to announce these things before that.

    by Simon R. on June 24, 2009 at 3:02 pm. Reply #

    “We could put trident on the table and then get something in return from the Russians.”

    What would be the practical benefit of “getting something in return from the Russians”?

    by Herbert Brown on June 24, 2009 at 3:11 pm. Reply #

    Less nukes in the world.

    by Simon R. on June 24, 2009 at 3:34 pm. Reply #

    Well, yes, obviously. But does it really make any practical difference if the Russians reduce the size of their nuclear arsenal by a small percentage? Beyond saving the Russians some money, of course.

    by Herbert Brown on June 24, 2009 at 5:03 pm. Reply #

    Gorbachev kick-started a major disarmament process and the end of the cold war by doing something rather like what Clegg seems to be proposing. That is, to commit to multilateral negotiation, to avoid wholesale unilateral disarmament, but nevertheless, to offer to take the first disarmament step forward. It broke the log-jam of distrust.

    Of course we are tiny by comparison, but not without influence on the US, as sadly Iraq demonstrated. As part of a process involving and encouraging Obama to get disarmament moving again, who knows what we might achieve?

    by David Allen on June 24, 2009 at 5:37 pm. Reply #

    But with Trident we could obliterate the whole of Eastern Europe!

    by Sir Humphrey on June 24, 2009 at 9:11 pm. Reply #

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