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FORMER defence secretary Lord Browne came out against Trident renewal yesterday, accusing decision-makers of avoiding discussions on security threats posed by the nuclear programme.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s World at One show, the Labour peer argued that nuclear weapons have been outgrown by other systems, including technologies developed in Britain.
His comments came a day after 60,000 people marched in London against Trident.
Lord Browne highlighted the concerns of Labour politicians and trade unionists regarding the risk to jobs if the Trident system isn’t renewed. But he said: “I understand that decisions have consequences for jobs, I do understand that, but candidly and with all due respect, the worst possible reason for building a military system like this is for jobs.
“There are questions that have to be asked about whether it will do that in 15, 20 or decades’ time, when these boats will actually come into service, then we have a duty to the public to consider that.
“And my concern is that unless we do that now, then complacency may lead us to take decisions that do the opposite to enhancing our security, that they give us a weapons system that in future years is so vulnerable that it becomes a cause of instability.”
The vice-chair of the Nuclear Threat Initiative added that while countries once relied on hiding nuclear submarines in the sea, this was no longer a reliable strategy due to new hacking systems.
Saturday’s national demonstration was the largest anti-nuke demonstration in a generation, with leaders of the SNP, Plaid Cymru, Greens and Labour speaking at its closing rally.
Jeremy Corbyn closed the event with a speech that saw thousands chanting and screaming his name.
The Labour leader told the crowd: “We live in a world where so many things are possible.
“Where peace is possible in so many places. You don’t achieve peace by planning for war, grabbing resources and not respecting each other’s human rights.
“Today’s demonstration is an expression of many people’s opinions and views. I’m here because I believe in a nuclear-free Britain and a nuclear-free future.
“Thank you for coming to this demonstration, thank you for showing that you care and thank you showing you want a peaceful future for this country and the rest of the world.”
What the crowds were saying:
I’m here to stop Trident and save millions of lives. We just thought it was such a massive cause that it was worth travelling, no matter how many hours.
I’m here today with my family, to make it clear that the youth are relevant and they care about these things as well.
I’ve come down here because I’m against nuclear weapons and nuclear power. They are all part of the same thing and they are bad news. It’s good to meet up with other people, you know, power in strength. And it just feels good to feel the atmosphere here and know that you’re not alone and that lots of other people feel the same about the corrupt government we have.
I’m here today because I believe there is a hell of a lot better things to spend money on than nuclear weapons. They can’t build schools, they can’t build homes, they can’t do anything but destroy. It’s very easy to stay at home and say it’s got nothing to do with me, there’s lots of other people who will go there, but it takes you the barest amount of effort to come out here, put on some warm clothing and you get a good community feeling. It’s the first time I’ve been to something like this. It’s good — even if nothing happens straight away.
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