Thursday, June 22, 2006

Blair and Britain's Nuclear Deterrent - II

In an earlier post, back in May, I wrote about remarks made by Tom Baldwin on C-SPAN concerning Britain's nuclear policy, and the prospect that Gordon Brown would be less likely than Tony Blair to favour a renewal of the Trident nuclear deterrent. Now, however, Brown has given a Mansion House speech in which he signalled that he does intend to keep and renew Britain's independent nuclear deterrent. The chorus of criticism is coming from the usual sources - CND, the left wing of the Labour Party, and also some unusual ones - surprisingly, perhaps, the newly assertive Conservatives, whose line on the whole issue is a little hard to follow except as an indicator of their continuing resentment about being excluded from power. However, the fact that the criticisms are coming in thick and fast is actually a good sign, for it suggests that Brown, as Blair's most probable successor, may really be in earnest about his government's intentions for the future of Britain's security.

Blair is now promising a debate on the issue of renewal - if Conservatives come into line with Labour, the measure will pass through parliament without difficulty. But there's still likely to be a heated squabble within the Labour Party itself, while the position of the Liberal Democrats is not all that clear, and probably opposed to renewal.
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