It's all been rather anti-climatic really. We didn't expect yesterday's vote to replace the UK's nuclear weapons would be defeated, so there was no surprise when Tony Blair got his way and the vote to replace Trident went through. Tony gets to go ahead and build his new weapon of mass destruction – the Blair Bomb, his legacy. But only because of help from the Tories. That somehow feels hollow too.
“It’s not the end of the story by any means,” said Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn immediately following the vote. “This is a very big rebellion.”
Indeed, we’re counting on you rebels. The vote passed with 409 in favour and 161 against. That’s 88 Labour MPs voted against Trident replacement, 95 voted for the rebel amendment earlier, that's the biggest since the Iraq war. Blair’s proposal also prompted MPs to quit their posts. We might yet convince ourselves this is good news.
And those Labour rebels are right to be concerned. By going head with Trident today, in 20 year's time not only will the UK have a new nuclear weapon, there will be more nuclear weapons states in the world. Blair cannot preach to other states to ‘do as I say, not as I do’. Far from making the world a safer place, Blair’s lust for nukes will encourage others to follow his dangerous and unnecessary example.
And secondly, only 24% of the public support the government's plans to replace Trident and 51% think that the final decision to replace the Trident should be made through a public referendum.
You're right Jeremy, it is far from over. It may have Blair’s name on it, but Gordon Brown, prime minister in waiting, is going to pay the price.