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What Gordon really said

Nick Robinson | 09:53 UK time, Thursday, 22 June 2006

Did Gordon Brown really say anything new?

After all, the Tories say that he was just repeating what's in Labour's manifesto. The defence secretary seemed to agree when he said that what he was saying was "entirely consistent" with the manifesto. So where does that leave people like yours truly who insist he is saying something significant?

In terms of what Gordon Brown actually said I can only point to the four words - "in the long run" - which the chancellor added to the manifesto commitment to maintain Britain's independent nuclear deterrent. Manifesto commitments last only one Parliamentary term. Trident can't simply be maintained in the long run. It must be either updated or replaced. Thus Gordon Brown is saying something that the manifesto did not say - that he's ready to spend billions doing that.

Then you add to that what he didn't say, but which I've been told. The chancellor is ready to back the advice of military leaders, and he expects the decision to be taken in principle before the end of the year.

Why on earth - you may ask - didn’t he just say that explicitly instead of relying on people like me to explain what he really meant? Why allow the doubt? Does he want "deniability"?

Well, he could not say "I am committed to updating Trident" because it's not his announcement to make. He is not - in case you've forgotten - the prime minister. Furthermore, ministers have not yet sat down to take this decision - even though they have been discussing the need to take it for several years. Thus he used journalists to spell out what he did not. Believe you me, I wish he would use code and spin less and speak in plain English a little more. Then we could focus on the real debate.

That debate should focus on whether Britain's nuclear deterrent is, as one Labour backbencher says, "unacceptably expensive, economically wasteful and militarily unsound".

The name of that rebel? Gordon Brown speaking in 1984.


  • 1.
  • At 10:06 AM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Scott C wrote:

It is a heavy cost to bear, but I feel it's one we will need too, in todays current state of world affairs.

  • 2.
  • At 10:11 AM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Daniel Hale wrote:

Hiya Nick,

You said that "Trident can't simply be maintained in the long run. It must be either updated or replaced."

And why can't we skip the nuclear deterrent altogether? Didn't we sign a non-proliferation treaty? And doesn't Government posturing on handguns and knives look a bit shaky when it wants to go all gung-ho on wholesale replacement of our pretty pointless nuclear capabilities?

This isn't the Cold War anymore; we need to be grown up and leave the international gun-totting to others.

  • 3.
  • At 10:12 AM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Tom Scott wrote:

This is a real slap in the face for those who believe Brown would offer a more left-wing agenda than Blair. Brown is 'new Labour' (ie right wing) to his fingertips. It is sheer madness to contemplate spending up to £25 billion on a nuclear arsenal. Apart from the financial profligacy, how on Earth can we hope to persuade other countries to remain non-nuclear if we go down this road ? All we will be doing, at vast expense, is making the world a more dangerous place. This country should set an example by getting rid of its nuclear weapons. Incidentally, Nick, please stop using the politicians' words by referring to an "independent nuclear deterrent". It's not independent - we cannot operate it without permission from the Americans. Nor is it a deterrent. Quite the opposite - it just encourages the continuation of a nuclear arms race which, if unchecked, will eventually destroy our planet.

  • 4.
  • At 10:14 AM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Nick Thornsby wrote:

I believe you rather than any of the politicians and there is a lot of hypocrasy in what Gordon Brown says- a full debate and vote is definitely necessary on this issue

Nick, given that you're suggesting that he speak in plain English, your'e a tad misleading in your penultimate paragraph when you say "as one Labour Backbencher says"... Surely 'said' would be more accurate?

  • 6.
  • At 10:36 AM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • James Lawrence wrote:

I think that this situation neatly exposes two related issues. The first is the implicit acceptance of the government that, in this country at least, the left has all but lost the philisophical argument of which side of the political spectrum we should be governed (note that this specifically does not discount the benefits to our society from having such an argument - the NHS is a good example of this, despite its problems) and thus it is perfectly natural to see ministers now eshew the beliefs they previously held. The second, and more pertinant, point is that the reason that no minister can do other than speak in code on this subject is that the party as a whole still holds them back, and until they sort this out, their governance will remain shambolic, and we will, alas, still need Nick's help to explain what is being said in place of making us a part of what is an important debate.

  • 7.
  • At 10:41 AM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Matthew wrote:

Never mind the economics, what about the ethics? To keep a "nuclear deterrent" means being realistically prepared, under some circumstances, to use a nuclear weapon. Nuclear weapons are good for one thing only - killing vast numbers of non-combattants. That's a sufficiently abhorrant thing to do, that I don't think we should even be keeping the capacity to do so.

  • 8.
  • At 10:47 AM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Mike Didymus wrote:

Amusing to put that note in about what Brown said in 1984, but that WAS 22 years ago - people are allowed to change tack over time, and science, especially with regard to efficiency and safety in the nuclear industry, has come a long way since. The important point is whether this is a good option for our country now and in the future, not whether it was a viable one in the early 80's.

  • 9.
  • At 10:59 AM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Stefan Stern wrote:

That's a slightly self-serving piece of reportng Nick. Surely just about everything we get from the Lobby is in code. Are you going to bother to provide a similar gloss on every story? It's not just Gordon Brown who delivers a text and encourages others to amplify it - they all do it. Sure, this is a big policy decision, but it is unfair to criticise the Chancellor in this way unless you are going to reveal what Cameron's and Ming's spinners tell you after every speech as well.

  • 10.
  • At 11:08 AM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • James wrote:

No - not what one backbencher 'says' but what one backbencher 'said' and 22 years ago might I point out. People are allowed to alter their opinions radically in the space of 22 years you know.

Your disdain of Gordon Brown couldn't be made clearer. The majority of the British people would find it disasterous if Britain ever lost it's nuclear deterrant. You should be focusing on the Lib Dem official line which wants an open debate on the issue and inevitably a policy which gets rid of Trident.

Thank God Brown has the common sense to recognise how to handle this important issue.

I'm not in principle opposed to the UK having a nuclear deterrent if a real need for one can be shown however Blair has spent years telling us that the threat no longer comes from nation states but men with suitcases packed full of WMD.

In that case - and of course he wasn't telling us the truth - a rather large nuclear submarine or rocket would be rather pointless as there would be no nation to aim it at.

It's also going to be interesting to see how Blair is going to sell the concept of a renewed nuclear arsenal when he seems to be following George Bush in upping the rhetoric against Iran for their claimed desire to posess a nuclear bomb.

But given how we're all going to be told this is vital for the nation's defence and security perhaps before we spend billions on a new submarine we could spend a few million ensuring all our troops in Iraq have body armour and reversing the shameful and opportunistic slashing of regiments during Blair's tenure?

John Reid is reported to have said he hoped British troops could leave Afghanistan without firing a single shot and Blair keeps telling us that the situation in Iraq is improving. So when you next interview our beloved leader could you ask him why - if these war zones are so safe - we never see him helping man a check point outside the so-called green zone in Iraq or patrolling in Afghanistan?

Finally, given the current recruitment adverts portray a career in the army like an extended 18-30 holiday I find it remarkable that, unlike our Princes William and Harry, we don't see the Blair children being encouraged to sign up. Odd that...

  • 12.
  • At 11:19 AM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • A brummie wrote:

Someone tell me why we should trust this mad man?

  • 13.
  • At 11:34 AM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Dan wrote:

First of all, the nuclear deterrent is an unfortunate option we have to consider due to the present day situation, and global dis-armament is simply inconcievable. Secondly, it is an option we HAVE to take, considering "developing" nations now also have the deterrent themselves. Eradicating our program would simply be disastrous for the UK and it's long term sovereignty.
Gordon Brown is only human and comments made 20 years ago as a backbencher are not relevant. After all, "if only we knew then what we do now"?!

  • 14.
  • At 11:47 AM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Neil Griffiths wrote:

I agree with Tom Scott that Trident is not an independant nuclear deterrent, we gave up our independant nuclear deterrent when the RAF were to no longer carry nuclear bombs - disarmament for which we seemed to have gained little credit. Nuclear weapons exist, and European nations may some day need them, so we need to renew them, but come on Gordon! We are paying the Americans for the privilidge of letting them tell us we can/cannot use them - if the other European nations had this veto right, the right wing press would be frothing at the mouth.

  • 15.
  • At 12:06 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Martin wrote:

It has been a deterrent, Tom. Potential aggressors have been deterred from strategic conflict for 50 years. Who knows what is going to happen in the next 50 years? How likely is some sort of conflcit with China over Taiwan, for example? And what of our permenant seat on the UN Security Council? Whether it's £10bn or £25bn that would be a reasonable price.

Nuclear techonology cannot be disinvented. More and nore states are going to acquire it eventually. Why should we give it up? For what? A promise of good behaviour from the likes of Iran?

  • 16.
  • At 12:09 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • chris wills wrote:

Brown is being realistic. Britain needs a nuclear deterrent, not because we may need to use it, but because without it we would no longer be invited to sit at the top table. I think that is worth 25 billion pounds in trade alone.

  • 17.
  • At 12:11 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Cliff H wrote:

who will we use it against scott C? and why ahs switzerland managed without one?

  • 18.
  • At 12:15 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Pete S wrote:


I listended to some of Gordon's speech and was intrigued by his accent. He seems to be getting less Scottish by the day. Can you confirm whether he is having voice coaching lessons ?

  • 19.
  • At 12:25 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Dave wrote:

It is an independent deterrent because the UK does not have to ask permission to fire it, indeed the subs are technically able to independently launch following loss of contact with the UK - the MAD scenario. The UK needs US co-operation to maintain the missile part of the system (but not the warhead) via the Kings Bay facility in the US etc. Even if that was suddenly withdrawn then the UK could still, for a few months at the very least actually fire the things. The independence is in the fire control, not in the maintenance of the capability.

  • 20.
  • At 12:27 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Adam wrote:

Of course Brown has no choice but to replace Trident. While France has the bomb, how could we possibly leave ourselves undefended?

At least, I assume he's worried about the French now that the Soviet Union is no longer the target of Trident.

Yes Prime Minister once did an episode which pointed out every flaw with the nuclear 'deterent'. It doesn't work (like much of what the armed services buy), will never be used, costs a fortune and ultimately will not deter anyone (not that there is anyone to deter at present) - because everyone knows it would be suicide to use.

The one thing nuclear weapons do is preserve a little of our diplomatic influence - although it also alienates other countries. Updating the system won't improve the former, but will harm the later. Morevoer, has anyone asked why the system 'needs' updating? Is it really a technical necessity? I seriously doubt it.

  • 22.
  • At 12:41 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • James wrote:

Replacing Trident will be the only positive thing this Government will have done for this country since coming to power in '97, as with everything else they have surpassed even my expectations in causing immense damage to this country. I am only surprised there has not been a suggestion to base our nuclear arsenal in France or Germany to save labour costs. To the writer that claims Trident is not independant, you are sorely misguided. Although Trident is an American system it may be operated entirely independantly, (should America be obliterated first in a high yield nuclear-strike). It is of course highly unlikely that the UK would ever utilise such weaponary unless we or our allies were under attack, but this does not mean that we should abandon the deterrent and by doing so send a signal to all rogue states (North Korea, Iran et al) that we are a sitting duck waiting for them to make a statement. And what a statement it would be, have any of you ever seen 'Threads'? WE have the smallest arsenal of nuclear weapons in the world and are arguably the most responsible country that possesses them, therefore the suggestion that we should abandon them is completely unreasonable, at least until everyone else does the same.

  • 23.
  • At 01:22 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Glen Green wrote:

Tom Scott,
Just because Brown wants to spend £25,000,000,000 on nuclear weapons doesn't make him right-wing.
If I recall correctly the USSR had quite a substantial pile of nukes and, if I remember correctly, they were just a tad left of centre!

  • 24.
  • At 01:45 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • john wrote:

We don't really have a country to point these horrible weapons at. Iran, Ukraine, Syria, Latvia, Georgia etc etc have a much better case than we do for "needing" them as they can identify specific possible enemies that already have nuclear weapons. We should get rid of ours to help them justify not joining the nuclear "club".
? what would Jesus do ??

  • 25.
  • At 02:25 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • James wrote:

Furthermore, the notion that nuclear submarines are useless aginst faceless terrorist organisations like Al Quaeda, and that we should get rid of our arsenal on that basis alone, is ludicrous when we are gradually seeing the balance of power move from West to East with countries like China on a quest for world domination, and India spawning over a hundred million people every year - both of whom are already nuclear armed powers. I do not wish to die a horrible death so that the ever-growing band of fanatical liberal idiots can fulfil their niaeve and selfish life ambitions.

  • 26.
  • At 02:27 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Davinder Singh wrote:

Is the War on terror the main reason why Gordon Brown has changed his mind on the validity of the U.K nuclear deterrent?
If so, this illustrates a gross lack of imagination on the part of the leader-in-waiting, as well as deficient understanding of what indeed the war on terror actually is.(E.g. Nuclear missiles can not deter/obliterate ideology)

Maybe this decision is a reaction to the perceived threat of so called 'rogue' states with ambitions to join the nuclear club. As a signatory of the non-nuclear proliferation treaty, the U.K must honour this commitment and demonstrate to the world that a nuclear deterrent does not always equate to national security. Only then can we abolish the hypocrisy that cripples dialogue with countries such as Iran and North Korea.
The cold war has many lessons to teach the politicians of today.
Lets just hope these politicians never have to face a 'Bay of Pigs' scenario.

  • 27.
  • At 02:38 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Rich wrote:

I don't like the idea of nuclear weapons any more than any right minded individual should, but I think it would be a mistake to get rid of them now as we don't know what enemies we could be facing in 20 years, which is the timescale we are for replacing trident.

However, the problem is that it seems a bit rich of us to be replacing our nukes and telling the likes of Iran that they shouldn't have them (while ignoring Israel, Pakistan and India).

  • 28.
  • At 02:49 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Lucifer wrote:

Get rid these "horrible weapons"??


Why don't we just paint all the buildings in london into one massive dart board??

  • 29.
  • At 03:23 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Simon wrote:

Perhaps I am being a little dim but do inter continental ballistic missiles really become obsolete - The plutonium must have a half life of a million years or something? Is there a "sell-by" date on them somewhere?

  • 30.
  • At 03:32 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Rob wrote:

Technically there are other uses for warheads with a yield as small as our missiles use, than mass slaughter. For example look at the french fleets redployment with long range 'tactical strike'nukes, that use EMP to disable communications. An admittedly dangerous move in a MAD treaty world.

Personally I do want to know why we need a fleet of euro fighters, another one of second hand apaches, and now an upgraded nuclear arsenal. Did we win a £100 billion lottery and not tell anyone? Perhaps we intend to reclaim Brittany?

  • 31.
  • At 03:44 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • John, Devon wrote:

At last we being to see the reality of what a Brown premiership would mean. "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss..." - but it seems we WILL get fooled again!

  • 32.
  • At 03:44 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Dominic Burbidge wrote:

In terms of international relations, it is abusive to be involved in other sovereigns for the reason that you hold a greater power. What matters on the international level is a commitment to legitimate power. In the case of Western democracies, this support comes from the electorate. However, when action is extended to the level of international intervention, it can only come through the war being just, necessary and with the support of international bodies, such as the UN. Nuclear weapons do not promote this kind of legitimacy. What they can do is undermine a country's prudence in making war, as the country is in some way, "above the need for legitimacy".

  • 33.
  • At 04:04 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Barney wrote:


Iran and North Korea (especially) are well on the way to developing numissiles capable of reaching our interests. We are committed to a 'no first strike' policy. Which is exactly why they are a deterent.

John, the hope is that they will never be used. That is the entire point. They deter others from attacking us, as has been shown by the Cold War. Yes, they cannot be used against terrorists, but neither can any other convention for of warfare.

Finally, to those that say there is present no country threatening us - quite right. But who can predict what threats will be facing us in 20 years when the current system reaches the end of its life? Iran, Korea? China? Russia is expanding is defence expediture and developing new missile systems, while at the same time rolling back democracy. If we do not consider replacing the deterent now, by the time any new threat manifests itself it will be too late.

  • 34.
  • At 04:05 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Gary Elsby wrote:

Nothing that Gordon is saying is inconsistent with Labour views.

The potential to blow up the world and re-distribution of wealth for the poor, go hand in hand with Labour Government policy.

Historically, Labour has tried to sell the idea of re-distribution with Nuclear pacifism before, but the public always decided otherwise.

For the time being, This Country is sold by the view of Nuclear continuation, if not proliferation.

So why give Gordon a hard time?
Everything he said sounds reasonable to me. As long as re-distribution is main game in Town, then I don't see why an incy wincy little bit of Nuclear annhilation should get in the way.

  • 35.
  • At 04:05 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Barney wrote:


Iran and North Korea (especially) are well on the way to developing numissiles capable of reaching our interests. We are committed to a 'no first strike' policy. Which is exactly why they are a deterent.

David, the hope is that they will never be used. That is the entire point. They deter others from attacking us, as has been shown by the Cold War. Yes, they cannot be used against terrorists, but neither can any other convention for of warfare.

Finally, to those that say there is present no country threatening us - quite right. But who can predict what threats will be facing us in 20 years when the current system reaches the end of its life? Iran, Korea? China? Russia is expanding is defence expediture and developing new missile systems, while at the same time rolling back democracy. If we do not consider replacing the deterent now, by the time any new threat manifests itself it will be too late.

  • 36.
  • At 04:33 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • A brummie wrote:

Rather than spending £38bn on strategically obsolete technology, how about investing some of that money re-building the armed forces into somthing more suited to today's threats.

I am talking about an integrated armed forces (Airforce, Navy, Army) capable of deploying anywhere fast and nuetralising any threat. An armed force for the 21st century.

Oh yes this should also be done along home nation lines so when the dissolution of the Act of Union comes each country has a decent defence force in place.

  • 37.
  • At 05:22 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Charlie G wrote:

I understand the Trident system cannot be operated without American consent. The implication being we fall under the American defence umbrella automatically in nearly all concievable situations.

In the highly unlikely event that America factors us out of its strategic defence policy, it is not going to be much use to have a system that can only operate with their consent. In this hypothetical situation it might serve us well to have a small token nuclear arsenal for unlikely deadlocks. Given this, what possible use to us the Trident system provides is beyond me...

The only people it seems to serve are the Americans - it is defence they don't have to pay for.

  • 38.
  • At 06:39 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Nurse wrote:

Mr Brown is an old socialist in a cleft stick as regards Trident.

But he is certainly redistributing wealth. The NHS in Oxford is feeling the squeeze of his 'funding formula' with nurses facing redundancy.

You might like to report on the petition from Oxford that went to Downing Street today.

But then again who really cares?

  • 39.
  • At 07:15 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Alexander wrote:

What happened at Hiroshima and Nagasaki should prompt people that these and all weapons are a abomination to mankind.
"Thou shall not kill."

  • 40.
  • At 08:59 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Tom Scott wrote:

My critics are kidding themselves if they believe that we have a genuinely "independent" nuclear capability. Trident submarines and warheads are made to US design, the missiles are bought from the US and return there for servicing, and the firing systems are US controlled. Apart from the technical dependence, it is simply inconceivable that the UK could use nuclear weapons without the blessing of the US Government. As for Glen Green's point, in this country support of nuclear weapons in certainly associated with the political right. And, make no mistake, Brown is a right-winger. He may actually have scored a spectacular own goal. The comments today of Clare Short and others make it highly likely that, far from enjoyed a coronation, Brown will face a strong challenge for the Premiership from someone who does not share his enthusiasm for these evil, and incredibly costly, weapons of mass destruction.

  • 41.
  • At 08:50 AM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • Andy Walker wrote:

"Trident can't simply be maintained in the long run."

I find it staggering that the above statement is taken unquestioningly by so many people. The problem at the moment is that statements are taken to be open and accurate - when people do not challenge the basic premice the spin merchants have won - the agenda is changed to what GB said.

If it can me maintained now what is going to change that will prevent it being maintained in years to come?

Will Trident not kill enough people in the future?

Yes Minister !!!!

  • 42.
  • At 09:34 AM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • Dave Jones wrote:

People say we have no enemies who are likely to invade us... but can we really say that said status quo would have been achieved without our possetion of a nuclear deterrant? Likewise to those people who say we already have a lot of international influence... based on the status quo of us having a nuclear deterrant, yes we do. If we lost it it would be seen as a desire to step down from the realm of power politics: and that would be letting down the British people and, based on the decisions we've seen other world leaders make, letting down the world.

Andy Walker. Have you ever noticed that old cars break down and require fixing more often than brand new cars? How many 25 year old cars are still on the roads... and how many of those will still be economical to keep working in 15 years time? Now consider that a Trident missile has at least 50 times as many components as a car, all of which will have much tighter tollerances than the eqivallent car parts...
That is why Trident cannot be maintained in the long run: because past its planned lifetime it will rapidly become more expensive to maintain than to replace.

  • 43.
  • At 09:41 AM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • Russell Long wrote:

The idea that any of Britain's military is 'independent' is hogwash - nuclear or otherwise. Britain's armed forces have been involved in no military campaign on their own since 1939/41. The Suez debacle was scuppered by the Americans. Our forces in Korea were linked to American supplies. We relied on Sidewinder missiles in the Falklands, and we have been a part of a US-led force in every engagement we've been involved in.

Getting all hot under the collar about the independence or otherwise of Trident is pointless unless you are prepared to make significant investments over decades in the armed forces. We would require independent logistics, heavy lift capability, naval power projection, air power projection, etc - costing billions every year. This would have the lefties frothing at the mouth and claiming spurious figures about the mountains of dead babies caused by owning an aircraft carrier.

  • 44.
  • At 12:33 PM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • Nick wrote:

This debate merely illustrates how nuclear weapons are status symbols.

The West has cause to fear proliferation as there are genuine security/geo-political considerations (look at Iran, N Korea, etc).

However, in terms of established nuclear weapons (official or not but excluding N Korea) concerns about MAD have declined - there is less to fear from Russia afterall, even if it does remain a slightly awkward customer.

The key questions as part of this debate is not whether this money would be better spent on the NHS, whether it is needed, whether it is ethical, whether we should be setting an example, etc. Instead, the question simply comes down to this: how much status do we want the UK to be accorded in international affairs?

Consider the scenario if we chose not to replace Trident and instead became a non-nuke power: sure, we would win plaudits (from those who would genuinely praise, such as the Nordics countries, while we would also receive fake praise from the likes of France, Iran and N Korea). Do you really think that other existing nuclear countries would follow our lead? NO. Do you think that the likes of Iran, countries who are actively seeking nukes, would give up their pursuit? NO. You'd be living in cloud cuckoo land to seriously advocate the 'leading by example' justification for abolishing our capability.

While I have no time for naievety, we should ask whether the status is something we could do without. Would we rather decline in terms of world power to Sweden's or Australia's level? Can we live with that? This is the real area for discussion.

  • 45.
  • At 01:08 PM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • Charlie G wrote:

Andy Walker,

The one thing that will change in the future is speed of delivery systems. With the development of SCRAMjets etc ICBMs will be able to circumnavigate the globe in a couple of hours. There is no point in having nuclear weapons at all if they do not present a credible threat to potential enemies.

Perhaps we should be spending this money on US-UK collaborative efforts for missile defence? Better to have a status quo on the basis of defence capabilities than offensive, given the risks nuclear technology entails.

  • 46.
  • At 02:00 PM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • Oxonian wrote:

Anyhow, Gordon Brown is hardly the worst offender when it comes to flip-flopping.

Take a recent example:

David Cameron seems to have changed his mind on an issue as important as Iraq in the space of less than 6 months.

In January he wrote a letter saying he agreed with the Lib Dem stance (i.e. anti war) but tonight on Jonathan Ross he apparently comes out in favour of the war (once again).

Surely that's worth a post all to itself, Nick? Or do we not do stories that are negative about Cameron?

  • 47.
  • At 02:39 PM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • Malcolm wrote:

The discussion about the need for a nuclear deterent is much the same as that on arming of the police. Either you want safety and security or you don't. If you do, then you need the armed forces to have the most effective up-to-date kit available. In this unstable world that includes the nuclear deterent- it is the only thing that kept the cold war cold!

The argument put forward by opponents is that there is no threat to the UK now. Maybe, but unless you have second sight who knows what threats we may face in years to come. No-one saw the Falklands war coming did they?

The Falklands also gives the lie to those who claim the UK needs American approval for its defence policy. Left to them the task force would never have sailed south, but it did anyway. No sensible person wants to see nuclear weapons used, but like it or not, we have to deal with the world as it is, not as we would like it to be. Of course what Gordon Brown says he will do, and what he actually does, haven't always been the same thing. Let's hope this time at least he was telling it straight.

  • 48.
  • At 11:32 AM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • Pip wrote:

Hi, what I want to say is that, being a member of the forces has really opened my eyes in the way that the government and the public see us and the job that we do. They may be politics and bosses at the end off the day, but, how many off them have actually put their lives on the line for the sake of the Queens and their country? How many off them have families miles away, that worry about them night and day, day in and day out? It amazes me that they can sit around and discuss our every move and what we need to do our jobs. Yet we are one of the poorest military in the world. Remember when we were proud of our armed forces and they used to be the very best? The guys and girls on the ground in the offices are the same and they deserve recorgnition for all they have done to make this great nation of ours great. I know that there has been bad news as well as good coming from the frontline but they are still our forces. Give them better pay and better equipment for them to do their jobs. God bless them all. I have just left the forces myself but my best days off my life has been spent in the service of my country in her armed forces.

  • 49.
  • At 01:57 PM on 21 Feb 2007,
  • gustoff wrote:

i agree with what u are saying it is true tht they act as a detterent

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