A Missing Debate

Published: October 18, 2013

Tudor Griffiths Every community and every individual is affected to a greater or lesser extent by government cutbacks.

But there is one area of public spending that appears to be attracting little attention and debate, and that is the cost of replacing Trident. This is our submarine-based nuclear deterrent, and within a couple of years, a final decision will be needed about whether or not it should be replaced. The absence of current debate suggests that this will go through without a great deal of public discussion. The Government’s lowest estimated cost of replacing Trident is £15 billion. Greenpeace argues that this is more likely to be in the region of £34 billion. I wonder whether this level of expenditure is justifiable in a time of cuts?

As well as questions about renewing a system that was designed for the Cold War era, there are questions about the morality of nuclear deterrence. Just who are we deterring? And how is Trident, and ‘son of’ Trident, effective here?

I do wonder why this is not even being addressed by our major political parties; and I wonder what has happened to the radical Church that produced ‘The Church and the Bomb’ in 1982, provoking the political establishment at that time.

Reading the prophet Isaiah (see chapter 2) recently reminded me that the technology we invest in clearly expresses our values. Isaiah points towards a complete trust in God; now how is that particular value expressed in technology? I rather think that Trident sits uncomfortably.

by Canon Dr Tudor Griffiths, Rector of St Mary’s with St Matthew’s, Cheltenham

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