Aaron SteinModernization Molehill

The United Kingdom is having an election in May. Inexplicably, the issue of whether London can afford to replace its fleet of nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarines is shaping up to be a major issue, especially if there is a hung parliament. Actually, the debate is getting downright nasty. The Tory defense secretary has already warned the Labour’s Ed Milliband would “barter away our nuclear deterrent in a backroom deal with the SNP,” adding that Milliband “stabbed his own brother in the back to become Labour leader. Now he is willing to stab the United Kingdom in the back to become prime minister.”

Jeffrey and Aaron are joined by Toby Fenwick (@Tobbes73), a Middlebury College alum who has written a monograph entitled Retiring Trident: An Alternative Proposal for UK Nuclear Deterrence. We were also joined, briefly, by Toby’s neighbor. That was weird. But very polite.

Toby Fenwick, Retiring Trident: An Alternative Proposal for UK Nuclear
, CentreForum, 2015. (PDF)

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  1. Bradley Laing (History)

    I listened to the whole thing for Toby’s neighbor. When is it on the podcast?

    When the dishes rattled?

    • Jeffrey (History)

      It’s the crazy lady saying “hello” at the beginning!

  2. Bradley Laing (History)
  3. Ben (History)

    Miliband not Milliband. Don’t worry, everyone does it.

  4. Scott Herbert (History)

    While the argument is an interesting one I’m not sure I agree with Toby on the likely-hood of a (Liberal Democrats) LibDem-Someone collation.

    Currently the LibDems are polling around 7/8% (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_2015_United_Kingdom_general_election#2015 ) they have been hit very badly by their collation with the current Conservative government (It is seen that they have given lots of their ground for very little).

    It is (worryingly IMHO) more likely that the Conservative’s will form a pack with UKIP (currently polling at around the 15% level) and neither UKIP nor the Conservatives have any issue renewing trident (other than maybe the cost).

    There is also IMHO a greater chance of a Labour/SNP agreement then Toby gave credit for. Yes both parties have said their in it to win, but since the Labour parties poll drop is due mostly to their support of the “No” campaign in the Scottish referendum it would be a tactical mistake for the SNP to come out in support of a deal at this stage. That said once the elections out the way, the SNP could form a formal pact with Labour, or, as they have suggested themselves support a minority Labour government, on an issue by issue basis and since removal of trident from Scottish waters is one of the key SNP polices it is likely that will be (one of the) cost(s) of the SNP’s support.

    Either way it will be an interesting election (as in the Chinese curse), but sadly for the LibDems I don’t think they will be in a position to make any calls on trident, or anything else.

  5. J_kies (History)

    My source on UK politics and history argues pretty strongly that the Conservatives have dismantled the UK military capabilities more than any other UK party. Arguing that Labour would reduce capabilities is a counter-factual based on historic precedence.

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