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New poll shows public opinion split on Trident Watch

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    (Original post by AlwaysWatching)
    Vietnam was neither a major conventional war, or one involving directly two opposing nuclear armed nations. Learn the definitions and the different types of warfare.


    I ask again, please point to a war between Russia and the USA, or failing that, a conventional war between any nuclear powers.

    Stop sidestepping, you've been to both a private school and Oxford, so you're quite capable enough to answer the question.
    You're both side stepping.

    It is highly possible Nukes stopped the powers directly attacking each other. Which is good if you live in a western country or Russia I guess. I also don;t want world war two to happen again in Europe.

    But the Vietnam war clearly is a full blown war. Nukes did not stop the Iron Curtain expanding or America installing murderous Juntas in poorer countries. In the case of Vietnam these two super powers enacted a full on war over that country.

    If you lived in Latin America for example during the Cold War you were a bit ****ed to say the least. It's easy siting on our fat western arses and dismissing all that but that isn't how they see it over on the otherside of our borders. Nuclear weapons blatantly did not stop all that **** from happening. Since it happened.
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    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    Anyone who believes that it's really an independent system has got to come up with something better than saying it is because that's what politicians have called it for the last 50 years. They lie about it.

    A key point is, given that the US provide this system to the British (the nukes are made by Lockheed) would they really do this if they didn't remain under US control?
    http://david-morrison.org.uk/nuclear...ndependent.htm

    Would a superpower like the US really let them be used by another state that had genuine independence and could decide (theoretically) to target a US ally or interest with them?

    It's clear that the answer must be no and that means there must be some form of joint control, US veto or US override.

    Secondly, the myth/fantasy that Prime Ministers love to see spread, that they have their 'finger on the nuclear button'. In reality, they are under NATO control and NATO is under US control.

    Really, the onus is on the 'independent' believers to prove it, as it's so obviously tripe.
    You just don't get it do you?

    There is no US interference in the bureaucratic system of launching British nuclear weapons. There is no override. Once they are launch they cannot be destroyed in anyway other than being shot down by another aircraft, which is near impossible anyway. There is no US "confirmation" button, there is no lines to the pentagon, there is no lines to NATO HQ. The launch system is entirely independent and only involves the Prime minister via the MoD and the Royal Navy.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hc1L6dCjhwQ


    The above link is the procedure/ drill that submariners go through after being alerted and ordered by the Prime minister. Watch it.
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    Please help me to understand your argument.

    Premise: In the second half of the 20th century, countries with nuclear weapons were never attacked by other countries, nor fought wars on their own soil.

    Premise: In the second half of the 20th century, countries without nuclear weapons were turned into warzones by countries with nuclear weapons, resulting in megadeaths and mass destruction of property.

    Conclusion: The UK would be better off without nuclear weapons.

    Is that right?
    Technically it isn't true that countries with nuclear weapons were not attacked at home - China and the Soviets for example fought each other conventionally and crossed borders along their frontier. We could argue that 9/11 was such an attack, albeit a highly asymmetric one. Argentina plunged into the Falklands knowing full well about our nuclear subs. Yes, those islands are not in London, but they were surely British territory.I understand the point you mean to make though, but are you really saying that wars would stop if every single country on the planet had nukes?
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    (Original post by AlwaysWatching)
    You just don't get it do you?

    There is no US interference in the bureaucratic system of launching British nuclear weapons. There is no override. Once they are launch they cannot be destroyed in anyway other than being shot down by another aircraft, which is near impossible anyway. There is no US "confirmation" button, there is no lines to the pentagon, there is no lines to NATO HQ. The launch system is entirely independent and only involves the Prime minister via the MoD and the Royal Navy.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hc1L6dCjhwQ


    The above link is the procedure/ drill that submariners go through after being alerted and ordered by the Prime minister. Watch it.
    We've had this discussion before on TSR. The problem is that the decision to attack comes before all that stuff. We don't leave it to submarine captains (at least, let's hope not) to declare nuclear war or to launch a secret first strike against the Bahamas. That is a political and a supreme military HQ decision. It's extremely implausible and actually very childlike to think that somehow that could happen in No 10 and No 10 alone. The reality is that the US and NATO would have to be consulted.

    In fact, it's much more likely that the Pentagon considers itself to be in charge of them. I would guess that is the case, not that they will ever tell us - for some reason, this comforting myth of the 'independent deterrent' appears to be critical to making the British taxpayer pay through the nose and nothing and nobody can be allowed to get in the way.
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    (Original post by ChaoticButterfly)
    You're both side stepping.

    It is highly possible Nukes stopped the powers directly attacking each other. Which is good if you live in a western country or Russia I guess. I also don;t want world war two to happen again in Europe.

    But the Vietnam war clearly is a full blown war. Nukes did not stop the Iron Curtain expanding or America installing murderous Juntas in poorer countries. In the case of Vietnam these two super powers enacted a full on war over that country.

    If you lived in Latin America for example during the Cold War you were a bit ****ed to say the least. It's easy siting on our fat western arses and dismissing all that but that isn't how they see it over on the otherside of our borders. Nuclear weapons blatantly did not stop all that **** from happening. Since it happened.
    Proxy wars in Vietnam, or Latin America or east Asia are far better than a full blown major conventional war.

    Vietnam was a large war yes, but it was not a major conventional conflict.

    There have been no direct conventional conflicts between two nuclear powers.

    Nuclear weapons aren't there to prevent proxy wars. Saying "it happened" is irrelevant unless you are referring to a major conventional conflict, which it hasn't.
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    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    Technically it isn't true that countries with nuclear weapons were not attacked at home - China and the Soviets for example fought each other conventionally and crossed borders along their frontier. We could argue that 9/11 was such an attack, albeit a highly asymmetric one. Argentina plunged into the Falklands knowing full well about our nuclear subs. Yes, those islands are not in London, but they were surely British territory.
    On this level, though, he is correct: the PRC and the USSR (not sure they did fight after the PRC got the bomb, but whatever) were never going to fight a WWIII to the total destruction of one or the other, they fired a few shots at border outposts in the middle of nowhere. In the Falklands War, there was never any question that either Britain or Argentina would be conqured. A few hundreds died over a largely worthless territory.

    Between states with nuclear weapons, there never was a major war. The sensible objection to nuclear weapons is that, while they reduce the frequency of wars between the most powerful countries, they greatly increase the damage that such a war would cause. Someone who favours abolishing nuclear weapons has to make the argument that having more (survivable) WWIIs is better than having even one (possibly civilisation-ending) WWIII. But they never make this argument; they never recognise that their position would have any downsides at all.

    I understand the point you mean to make though, but are you really saying that wars would stop if every single country on the planet had nukes?
    I believe that intentional wars outside of the Islamic world and Israel would stop. A larger number of nuclear powers does introduce a larger possibility of accidents, though.
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    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    We've had this discussion before on TSR. The problem is that the decision to attack comes before all that stuff. We don't leave it to submarine captains (at least, let's hope not) to declare nuclear war or to launch a secret first strike against the Bahamas. That is a political and a supreme military HQ decision. It's extremely implausible and actually very childlike to think that somehow that could happen in No 10 and No 10 alone. The reality is that the US and NATO would have to be consulted.

    In fact, it's much more likely that the Pentagon considers itself to be in charge of them. I would guess that is the case, not that they will ever tell us - for some reason, this comforting myth of the 'independent deterrent' appears to be critical to making the British taxpayer pay through the nose and nothing and nobody can be allowed to get in the way.
    Wrong again. The Captain of the Submarines can make a decision to fire the nuclear weapons if he deems the situation to be right. If there is no communication from the British government, and the Captain believes that the UK has been attacked with nuclear weapons, he opens the letter and one of the options is for the Captain to use his discretion. This means he can fire if he deemed it necessary. The Prime minister has placed the weapons operation in the hands of the Captain, rather than telling him whether or not to attack.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letters_of_last_resort

    Clearly and obviously the Prime Minister will talk to allies before using it, if that is possible. That's a pretty stupid and irrelevant point because it's taken as a given. However ultimately, the decision is with the prime minister. The USA could say don't fire, and the Prime minister disagrees and fires anyway. It's an irrelevant point to make. However, if there are no communications with Washington, because of a nuclear attack on US soil, the prime minister could choose, if he so wished, to attack, entirely from his own opinion. Whether he does or not without consulting allies is irrelevant because the ability to attack without dialogue with allies is there.

    I don't see what there is to misunderstand. The UK has the ability to operate the weapon independently.

    You might not like it, you might wish it not to be true, you might want to change it, I don't care. That's the fact.
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    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    Anyone who believes that it's really an independent system has got to come up with something better than saying it is because that's what politicians have called it for the last 50 years. They lie about it.

    A key point is, given that the US provide this system to the British (the nukes are made by Lockheed) would they really do this if they didn't remain under US control?
    http://david-morrison.org.uk/nuclear...ndependent.htm

    Would a superpower like the US really let them be used by another state that had genuine independence and could decide (theoretically) to target a US ally or interest with them?

    It's clear that the answer must be no and that means there must be some form of joint control, US veto or US override.

    Secondly, the myth/fantasy that Prime Ministers love to see spread, that they have their 'finger on the nuclear button'. In reality, they are under NATO control and NATO is under US control.

    Really, the onus is on the 'independent' believers to prove it, as it's so obviously tripe.
    http://webarchive.nationalarchives.g...lear190705.pdf

    I am going to trust the words of every UK government since 1962, the MOD and countless officials, members of the armed forces and historians who have reviewed the program over you that launch authority lies solely with the UK government. Also if you want to get really technical it is the Sub Captain who decides whether to launch or not.

    Yes, because believe it or not the Americans like the idea of at least two European nations contributing something to their own defence. If they were going to maintain launch authority then why bother going through the motions of the program? They get little from it, the money is loose change and the weapons would be developed anyway.

    Yes because the concept that we'd go and launch the US is madness. Even if tensions sunk to some sort of Euro-US war MAD would apply.

    Your conclusions show a complete ignorance of the Trident and Polaris programs and of US-UK military cooperation since 1945.

    We have proved it is independent as far as launch authority goes. Countless times, with many different users pointing the same facts to you, again and again. Your head could not be deeper in the sand.
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    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    We don't leave it to submarine captains (at least, let's hope not) to declare nuclear war or to launch a secret first strike against the Bahamas.
    If Radio 4 goes down that's exactly what happens.
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    (Original post by Aj12)
    Your conclusions show a complete ignorance of the Trident and Polaris programs and of US-UK military cooperation since 1945.
    Hardly surprising, though.
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    (Original post by AlwaysWatching)
    Proxy wars in Vietnam, or Latin America or east Asia are far better than a full blown major conventional war.

    Vietnam was a large war yes, but it was not a major conventional conflict.

    There have been no direct conventional conflicts between two nuclear powers.

    Nuclear weapons aren't there to prevent proxy wars. Saying "it happened" is irrelevant unless you are referring to a major conventional conflict, which it hasn't.
    Just making sure we have agree don that. Although i think I used proxy war incorrectly there. America got directly invoked in vitamin so doesn't count as a proxy. Nor does Soviet Union invading Afghanistan. Would it have stopped Russia fighting in Ukraine via proxy if Ukraine had nukes? This is one of the reasons I am bringing it up. People have said on the pro nuke side saying that if Ukraine had nukes none of the mess over there would have happened.

    It;s the super power focus that I have problem with. It is incredibly major and "conventional" if you lived in Vietnam. So from a moral point of view nukes do not stop a hell of a lot of bloody conflict that kills millions of people and wrecks countries from happening. We need to be clear on that.

    Although maybe Vietnam should have had nukes? Would not have been invaded then. Why not give nukes to everyone? Why not Iran? Israel has them. If every single country had nukes there would no proper "conventional wars" ever. Since no one would dare. Would Saudi Arabia be bombing Yemen if Yemen had nukes? Just like America didn't dare invade Russia and vice versa. We should be handing out nukes to everyone? If nukes are purely there for deterrent/stopping conflict and are not about super powers remaining dominant and being able to dictate what happens in geopolitics, we should be supportive of as many countries having nukes as possible.

    You speak about the long term game here. You say the world in unpredictable. What happens if a country that has nukes goes rouge and is now in control of something like ISIS? Something that is fine with nuclear war happening? That is always a long term possibility. Say an disaster event happens and causes major economic turmoil and scarcity not seen before. Animals backed in corners do desperate things.
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    (Original post by ChaoticButterfly)
    Although maybe Vietnam should have had nukes? Would not have been invaded then. Why not give nukes to everyone? Why not Iran? Israel has them. If every single country had nukes there would no proper "conventional wars" ever. Since no one would dare. Just like America didn't dare invade Russia and vice versa. We should be handing out nukes to everyone.

    You speak about the long term game here. You say the world in unpredictable. What happens if a country that has nukes goes rouge and is now in control of something like ISIS? Something that is fine with nuclear war happening? That is always a long term possibility. Say an disaster event happens and causes major economic turmoil and scarcity not seen before. Animals backed in corners do desperate things.
    Well first off, I support a first strike against ISIS if they got their hands on nuclear weapons. MAD doesn't work with irrational actors, so we should annihilate them before they got the chance to do the same to us. A million or so Iraq innocent citizens dying as a result is far better than the tens of million of western citizens dying as a result of ISIS Attack and our inactivity, if it came down to that choice. Might be a war crime, it might be looked down on by contemporary hippies and left wing politicians like Diane Abbot who has never had to make a hard decision in her life, but I'll leave it to the historians to judge.

    Secondly, no not everyone should have nukes. Why? Because we should not give enemies or potential enemies the upper hand in conflict. We want the ability to interfere and invade and displace regimes whenever we want, and not the other way round. Selfish I know, but I'm not a pacifist and I believe that war in some cases is justified. For example, if Saudi Arabia got nuclear weapons, we would never invade them. However, if they don't, the opportunity is still there. I want the ability to invade Vietnam, and not the other way round. I want the ability to interfere with Vietnam's politics, if they threatened the UK, whilst Vietnam would not be able to because of the threat of nuclear retaliation. That's how realpolitik works.


    My concern and priority when it comes to international security and conflict is only the British people, given that the British people are people I live with, am related to and have friends with. I don't have that connection with Russians, or Iraqis, so frankly, I don't care. I'm not an idealist who has concerns about "one love for the human race" or unilateral disarmament, because it isn't going to happen and our enemies don't care either.
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    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    it couldn't be fired without US permission and therefore is part of the US arsenal anyway
    That's an urban legend, often pushed by the CND.

    There is no American control over the UK Trident system. The submarines and the warheads are developed and built in the UK; the ballistic missiles are leased from a common pool shared with the US Navy.

    There is nothing in the Trident fire control system that allows the US to exercise any form of permission control over a launch, given all the communication with the submarines is one-way (broadcasts from Northwoods with their orders, and possibly firing orders, along with launch codes). It's not like Trident subs are linked up to HQ on a wifi network that would allow someone to simply switch off the submarine if they don't like what's about to happen.

    There is no Permissive Action Link on UK Trident submarines; that is, the submarine technically doesn't need the launch codes to fire. The launch codes are simply a crypto tool that allows the submarine commander to verify that the order itself is valid. As long as the captain and XO agree, the missiles can be fired.

    The only way the US could exercise any form of control is to shut off the transmission of weather data and GPS co-ordinates that assist the guidance system of the missile, however the missiles are designed to operate without those and it would merely mean that the Circular Error Probable of the re-entry vehicles (the radius of a circle within which 50% of warheads will land) might increase from perhaps 90 meters to around 400 meters. Given Trident missiles carry 100 kiloton warheads, that reduction in accuracy doesn't stop them being a significant and powerful weapons system. I'll copy below here the effects of a 100 kiloton warhead and allow you to decide whether the reduced accuracy would really be any sort of veto

    Fireball radius: 380 m (0.46 km²)
    Maximum size of the nuclear fireball; relevance to lived effects depends on height of detonation. If it touches the ground, the amount of radioactive fallout is significantly increased. Minimum burst height for negligible fallout: 350 m.

    Air blast radius (20 psi): 1.31 km (5.38 km²)
    At 20 psi overpressure, heavily built concrete buildings are severely damaged or demolished; fatalities approach 100%. Optimal height of burst to maximize this effect is 0.84 km.

    Radiation radius (500 rem): 1.82 km (10.5 km²)
    500 rem radiation dose; without medical treatment, there can be expected between 50% and 90% mortality from acute effects alone. Dying takes between several hours and several weeks.

    Air blast radius (5 psi): 3.23 km (32.8 km²)
    At 5 psi overpressure, most residential buildings collapse, injuries are universal, fatalities are widespread. Optimal height of burst to maximize this effect is 1.45 km.

    Thermal radiation radius (3rd degree burns): 4.62 km (66.9 km²)
    Third degree burns extend throughout the layers of skin, and are often painless because they destroy the pain nerves. They can cause severe scarring or disablement, and can require amputation. 100% probability for 3rd degree burns at this yield is 9.9 cal/cm2.
    From a political and diplomatic perspective, of course we are unlikely ever to use them without US agreement given they'd only be used in a situation where their use is completely obvious and without requiring any argument. But from a technical perspective, we can use them and it discredits the unilateralist movement that they constantly push this myth of the need for US permission to launch
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    People say Trident is a waste of money but Corbyn's proposal is a far bigger waste of money. I mean let's spend billions on submarines and then decide to render them useless from day one by not arming them. Next he'll be advocating sending our troops into battle without bullets. Either build the subs and arm them, or don't build them at all. The case for building them is far stronger than the case for not building them however.
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    (Original post by LeoAngliae)
    That's an urban legend, often pushed by the CND.

    There is no American control over the UK Trident system. The submarines and the warheads are developed and built in the UK; the ballistic missiles are leased from a common pool shared with the US Navy.

    There is nothing in the Trident fire control system that allows the US to exercise any form of permission control over a launch, given all the communication with the submarines is one-way (broadcasts from Northwoods with their orders, and possibly firing orders, along with launch codes). It's not like Trident subs are linked up to HQ on a wifi network that would allow someone to simply switch off the submarine if they don't like what's about to happen.

    There is no Permissive Action Link on UK Trident submarines; that is, the submarine technically doesn't need the launch codes to fire. The launch codes are simply a crypto tool that allows the submarine commander to verify that the order itself is valid. As long as the captain and XO agree, the missiles can be fired.

    The only way the US could exercise any form of control is to shut off the transmission of weather data and GPS co-ordinates that assist the guidance system of the missile, however the missiles are designed to operate without those and it would merely mean that the Circular Error Probable of the re-entry vehicles (the radius of a circle within which 50% of warheads will land) might increase from perhaps 90 meters to around 400 meters. Given Trident missiles carry 100 kiloton warheads, that reduction in accuracy doesn't stop them being a significant and powerful weapons system. I'll copy below here the effects of a 100 kiloton warhead and allow you to decide whether the reduced accuracy would really be any sort of veto



    From a political and diplomatic perspective, of course we are unlikely ever to use them without US agreement given they'd only be used in a situation where their use is completely obvious and without requiring any argument. But from a technical perspective, we can use them and it discredits the unilateralist movement that they constantly push this myth of the need for US permission to launch
    I think an intelligent and educated reader will want to know how a US built nuclear warhead can be franchised out by the US to another state without them retaining some pretty solid form of control.

    The core of that is that the US regards the UK as a client state and offshore military base. However, beyond the client/master relationship, there undoubtedly must be technical controls as well. It's laughably unlikely that the scenarios of control you regurgitate from the published MoD propaganda tell the whole story. It's much more likely that everyone knows that without US pre-authorisation, they simply cannot be used.

    Several past US presidents have thrown UK Trident into arms reduction talks with Russia or the Soviets. They could not have done that without regarding them as 'their weapons'.

    If on the other hand, perversely, it turned out to be genuinely true that the sub captain and first officer could decide completely independently to wage nuclear war, then that in itself is deeply troubling and points a huge finger at the instability and profound dangerousness to the human race of managing such systems balancing on a pin of human fallibility.

    It's all complete trash. The simple truth is that these are US systems run by the US, which the UK taxpayer has to overpay for, with a network of myths, legends and dubious PR endlessly trotted out by the comfortably padded budget hawks in the MoD, their friends in the arms industries and the politicians dozy or egotistical enough to buy into it.
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    (Original post by Sephiroth)
    People say Trident is a waste of money but Corbyn's proposal is a far bigger waste of money. I mean let's spend billions on submarines and then decide to render them useless from day one by not arming them. Next he'll be advocating sending our troops into battle without bullets. Either build the subs and arm them, or don't build them at all. The case for building them is far stronger than the case for not building them however.
    It was a daft statement by Corbyn, he was responding to the usual clamour from the Trident staff unions, which frankly is best ignored. Instead he found himself in the usual bind of pre-Thatcher Labour politicians who felt obliged to not confront any union, no matter how daft the case. The simple fact is that if Trident renewal does not go ahead, a load of workers will lose their jobs and Corbyn should have come clean about that right away. It isn't a bad thing in the long run, like any defunct industry, a lot of people would need retraining and reskilling.
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    (Original post by Drewski)
    If Radio 4 goes down that's exactly what happens.
    More propaganda and 1950s Cold War fairy tales. Does Radio 4 even still broadcast on Long Wave? Or are they relying on wifi and the iPlayer? :teehee:
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    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    I think an intelligent and educated reader will want to know how a US built nuclear warhead can be franchised out by the US to another state without them retaining some pretty solid form of control.

    The core of that is that the US regards the UK as a client state and offshore military base. However, beyond the client/master relationship, there undoubtedly must be technical controls as well. It's laughably unlikely that the scenarios of control you regurgitate from the published MoD propaganda tell the whole story. It's much more likely that everyone knows that without US pre-authorisation, they simply cannot be used.

    Several past US presidents have thrown UK Trident into arms reduction talks with Russia or the Soviets. They could not have done that without regarding them as 'their weapons'.

    If on the other hand, perversely, it turned out to be genuinely true that the sub captain and first officer could decide completely independently to wage nuclear war, then that in itself is deeply troubling and points a huge finger at the instability and profound dangerousness to the human race of managing such systems balancing on a pin of human fallibility.

    It's all complete trash. The simple truth is that these are US systems run by the US, which the UK taxpayer has to overpay for, with a network of myths, legends and dubious PR endlessly trotted out by the comfortably padded budget hawks in the MoD, their friends in the arms industries and the politicians dozy or egotistical enough to buy into it.
    You literally haven't got the faintest clue about how Trident operates have you?

    & yes, the sub captain has the ability, if necessary, to launch nuclear strikes - independently or as ordered. And it's not the first officer, it's the weapons engineer officer (who isn't the first officer)

    Did you even watch that documentary link I sent you?
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    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    More propaganda and 1950s Cold War fairy tales. Does Radio 4 even still broadcast on Long Wave? Or are they relying on wifi and the iPlayer? :teehee:
    I think Radio 4 still does, and you do realise listening in to Radio 4 isn't the only check? (If it still is) I listen to it in the car which doesn't have wifi. Submarines also can pick up wifi if they wanted?
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    DO yo mean Radio 4 the radio channel?

    So if Radio 4 goes off the air our subs launch the nukes?
 
 
 
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