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V487 - Nuclear Weapons Abolition Bill watch

  • View Poll Results: Should this bill be passed into law?
    As many are of the opinion, Aye
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    On the contrary, No
    42.50%
    Abstain
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    V487 - Nuclear Weapon Abolition Bill, TSR Labour


    Nuclear Weapon Abolition Bill


    Nuclear weapons are an unnecessary waste of public spending, and this act seeks to disarm the UK of it's nuclear arsenal.

    BE IT ENACTED by The Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Commons in this present Parliament assembled, in accordance with the provisions of the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949, and by the authority of the same, as follows:-


    1. Nuclear Disarmament
    (1) Trident nuclear weapons will be safely dismantled at the end of their working life in 2020.
    (2) There will be no renewal of the Trident nuclear programme.


    2. Commencement, short title and extent
    (1) This Act may be cited as the Nuclear Weapon Abolition Act 2012
    (2) This act shall extend to the UK; and
    (3) Shall come into force three years following Royal Assent.


    CostingsThe cost of British nuclear weapons.

    1. One off costs

    The cost of renewing the UKs stockpile of nuclear weapons is estimated at around £15bn to £20bn by the government, and around £34bn by Greenpeace, as stated in this article. Taking an average of these two figures comes out at the CNDs figure of a one-off saving to the UK government of £25bn.

    The costs of nuclear disarmament to the UK is estimated to be around £1.75bn for the decommissioning of nuclear submarines and £3.5bn for the AWE nuclear liability costs including decommissioning of redundant facilities and dismantling of warheads, totalling to a one-off cost of £5.25bn.

    In total, this constitutes to a one-off saving to the UK government of:

    £25bn - £5.25bn = £19.75bn

    2. Running costs

    As cited in the Defence White Paper, the yearly running costs of the UK's nuclear arsenal is £1.6bn - £2bn, or around 5-6% of the UK's defence budget. I'll take the average of this, so that amounts to a yearly saving, on top of the one off cost of renewal, to the UK government as:

    £1.8bn


    NotesEffects of nuclear disarmament

    The removal of these weapons needn't result in a weaker armed forces for the UK. As shown in the costings, this bill provides a £19.75bn one-off saving to the UK government, as well as a £1.8bn saving every year. Some of this money could be invested back into the armed forces, to create a more modern, up to date, specialised armed forces, to keep up with in the 21st century to some of the threats that may face us, such as terrorism or cyber-attacks. Not to mention the increase in funding that could go towards non-military causes, such as creating a better education and health system in this country.

    Legality of nuclear weapons

    The International Court of Justice concluded that:
    • In paragraph 2E: "the threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, and in particular the principles and rules of humanitarian law"

    • In paragraph 78: "states must never make civilians the object of attack and must consequently never use weapons that are incapable of distinguishing between civilian and military targets"
    On top of this, any use of nuclear weapons would be in breach of Protocol I in the Amendments to the Geneva Convention 1977:
    • Article 35 bans the use of weapons which "cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering" and warfare that "cause widespread, long-term, and severe damage to the natural environment" (which nuclear weapons would easily fall into).

    • Articles 51 and 54 ban using technology, such as nuclear weapons, whose scope cannot be limited which would affect the civilian population.
    From this evidence, what use is having nuclear weapons which we could never use? The common argument used for this is for "deterrent", but how can having weapons we cannot use deter anyone?

    Further, the renewal of nuclear weapons could constitute a breach of Article 6 of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.


    Speaker's Note: Aj12's vote has been changed from 'Aye' to 'No', as per his request via PM.
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    Aye. Great bill Labour.
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    Abstained, see my posts in the thread as to why.
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    Absolutely no way. Our policy of MAD has worked for around six decades now. Given that Trident represents a tiny fraction of the overall budget and effectively ensures against any attack on the United Kingdom then I am willing to accept it.
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    Aye absolutely! And may I add the arguments against this Bill have been extremely disappointing and insubstantial at times in my opinion.
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    Absolutely not.

    Should this bill pass i will seek to immediately repeal it next term.
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    I don't like nuclear weapons (who does?), I don't like their cost, and I don't like an overactive foreign policy either... but we do need to defend ourselves.

    Quite frankly, I am not willing to give up our nuclear deterrent when we have insane Commie *******s like the DPRK stockpiling weapons like these. The world is growing ever more unstable, we have DPRK like I mentioned, then we have Iran and that whole Middle Eastern region - we can't know for sure exactly what the world will be like ten years down the line or even five years. We have to be prepared. I wouldn't want our nuclear weapons ever to be used, but we need some kind of missile system, so that our enemies have something to lose if they use theirs. Mutually Assured Destruction does work, it's why America and the Soviets didn't blow each other to kingdom come in the Cold War.

    I'd rather live in a world of nuclear weapons where Britain has some, than live in a world of nuclear weapons where Britain has none.

    If we're ever going to go for nuclear disarmament it has to be done internationally. Don't think for a moment that we can set an example by doing it on our own, no-one cares what we do, it's something we have to push others to do with and alongside us, not after us. Though I have doubts that it'll ever happen. But like I just said, so long as there are still nuclear weapons in the world, we need to have them too.
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    It's a shame people are resorting to negging others on both sides, simply for stating their opinion.
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    Aye
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    I think as lovely as getting rid of nuclear weapons are the ramifications for our international political power will be detrimental to our trade interests and the perception of the UK as a strong bold nation. A market works on confidence how can a market be confident if it does not have symbolic nuclear weapons, I don't like it but that is just how it is. It is impractical to abolish our nuclear weapons and not in the UK interest to do so.

    Power is important and the UK needs to be powerful, to be powerful one must have an image of power that others can buy into unfortunately nuclear weapons are still a muscle flexing power exercise that helps us pursue British interests overseas. We need mutual global disarmament so no one has the benefit of nuclear weapons, we cannot disarm until everyone disarms.
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    Heres an idea that most could agree to, why not replace trident but only have say 50 warheads rather than 200+.
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    (Original post by Rhadamanthus)
    Absolutely no way. Our policy of MAD has worked for around six decades now. Given that Trident represents a tiny fraction of the overall budget and effectively ensures against any attack on the United Kingdom then I am willing to accept it.
    Exactly
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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    Heres an idea that most could agree to, why not replace trident but only have say 50 warheads rather than 200+.
    I disagree. Most may agree to that, yes, but a lot of those people, like me, would only see it as a stepping stone towards ridding ourselves of nuclear weapons entirely. Reducing it to 50 isn't really a compromise, we either have nuclear weapons or we don't, so as far as a lot of people who voted yes to this would say yes to that as well, it doesn't necessarily mean they agree with it.
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    (Original post by Rhadamanthus)
    Absolutely no way. Our policy of MAD has worked for around six decades now.
    Interesting, could you give this House an example of when 'our policy of MAD' has stopped a country from launching a nuclear attack on us (with the exception of the Cold War, which had very little to do with the United Kingdom)?
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    (Original post by eff01)
    Interesting, could you give this House an example of when 'our policy of MAD' has stopped a country from launching a nuclear attack on us (with the exception of the Cold War, which had very little to do with the United Kingdom)?
    My cat doesn't have a tentacle on her head and my eyes aren't glowing green. Nor is The Enclave battling with the Brotherhood of Steel over the water supply. I think that's pretty good proof.
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    (Original post by eff01)
    Interesting, could you give this House an example of when 'our policy of MAD' has stopped a country from launching a nuclear attack on us (with the exception of the Cold War, which had very little to do with the United Kingdom)?
    What a difficultly posed question. It suffers from the fallacy of Parmenides', which "occurs when one tries to assess a future state of affairs by measuring it against the present, as opposed to comparing it to other possible futures." This may also be true of the reverse. For example, Reagan asked the general public, "are you better off now than you were before I came to office?" What he should have asked was, "are things better now than they would have been had you elected my opponent four years ago?" Of course, no one knows the answer to this. It is hard to assess how things may look had we not adopted nuclear weapons, but during the arms race such a decision would have been disastrous. I do not agree with your position that the UK had "very little to do" with the Cold War. We were a key ally of the United States, a peacekeeper in Europe, a member of NATO and a staunch opponent of the Reds. It isn't absurd to suggest we needed a line of defence, and it is not absurd to suggest that in the twenty-first century, amid weapons proliferation in the Middle East and the Korean peninsula, that we should abandon it and hope everyone else follow suit.
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    I have sympathy for reducing military spending in general, but I feel this is the absolute worst place to do it. Trident is not expensive. It is a few percent of the defence budget, which in turn is only 2% of GDP. There is no large one-off saving; those are life-cycle costs over 20-30 years, so the actual saving is around £2-3bn/year at the outside, and that is taking figures from Greenpeace and the CND (really?) at face value.

    That wouldn't make abolishing it a bad idea if Trident were useless, but it's the only plausible way Britain could maintain its sovereignty against an attack by any great power. I agree no such attack is on the horizon today, but when the time to re-arm may be in the decades, that is a very short sighted view. From a serious national defence point of view, it makes more sense to abolish the army before abolishing Trident. The army, unlike Trident, stands no realistic chance of defeating a Russian invasion of Europe, and is used almost entirely for discretionary overseas interventionism. It is also more expensive.

    For the legality, it's simply naive to think this has any bearing. If we ever get to the point nuclear weapons might be used, I don't think anyone in power is going to be particularly frightened of the The Hague. But more sensibly, the point is that their very existence means situations like that are avoided in the first place without the need to issue any specific threat let alone actually fire the missiles.


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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    Heres an idea that most could agree to, why not replace trident but only have say 50 warheads rather than 200+.
    This doesn't work, unfortunately. The bottleneck isn't warhead number, it's submarine number. Any fewer than three (which would be really pushing it; we currently have four) and it can't be guaranteed that there will always be at least one on patrol at any one time. So to ensure there isn't a gap in coverage transferring missiles, they have to be on at least two boats at any one time, which means four submarines give 25 warheads guaranteed at sea. This is just barely a credible deterrent and may become worthless if ballistic missile defence starts working. But most importantly for this, because you still have the submarines, still have the R&D, still have the bomb factory, still have to buy missiles, etc. it works out as hardly any cheaper for a big loss in capability.


    (Original post by eff01)
    Interesting, could you give this House an example of when 'our policy of MAD' has stopped a country from launching a nuclear attack on us (with the exception of the Cold War, which had very little to do with the United Kingdom)?
    I actually found an awesome demonstration of this the other week, not just of MAD stopping nuclear attack, but war in general. It takes a few minutes to watch, but it's well worth it:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrhLHIpBsEg

    This is the evolution of European borders for the past ~1,000 years compressed into three and a half minutes. Notice that there are changes in pretty much every frame until 1945. Then it stops. I know you arbitrary wrote the UK out of the Cold War probably for that reason, but I invite the viewer to draw his own conclusions.
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    The Ayes have it! The Ayes have it!
 
 
 
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