British parliament backs 50 more years of nuclear insanity

New Trident nuclear weapons program approved despite public opposition

Feature story - 14 March, 2007
The world just became a more dangerous place as the British parliament voted to continue its nuclear madness for another 50 years. The UK parliament has allowed Tony Blair's Trident nuclear weapons program to go ahead, committing the UK to squandering 76 billion British pounds on upgrading its nuclear weapons system for another 50 years.

Greenpeace activists hang a banner reading, "Tony (heart) WMD" off a crane outside Big Ben.

In a parliamentary vote to "replace" the Trident nuclear weaponssystem, the proposal went ahead with 409 votes to 161 against. But theruling and formerly disarmament minded Labour party is far fromunanimous, some 95 of Labour members of parliament voted againstBlair's government. This is the biggest Labour party rebellion sincethe Iraq war.

Only24 percent of the public support the government's plans to replaceTrident and 51 percent think that the final decision to replace theTrident should be made through a public referendum. Several members ofBlair's own government have resigned in protest.

Nicky Davies ofGreenpeace International warned: "Blair is the ultimate globalhypocrite. He demonises other states for trying to acquire nuclearweapons, yet has no shame in foisting a Cold War relic, capable ofkilling millions, on to the next generation."

"And far frommaking the world a safer place, Blair's lust for nukes will encourageothers to follow his dangerous and unnecessary example. His legacy willbe a more dangerous world".

Blair's program breaks theinternational Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and undermines theComprehensive Test Ban Treaty. It also puts Tony Blair at risk ofbreaking the same international disarmament treaty that he says Iranmust respect.  

Recent protests

Weopposed the new Trident program with intensive lobbying and a series ofdirect action protests. Our climbers spent a cold last night on a craneoutside Big Ben, while they were eventually compelled to come down themessage on their banner, " Tony loves WMD", definitely got through.

Last month, the Arctic Sunrise blockaded the UK's nuclear submarine base.After a day long stand off police boarded the ship, smashing their wayonto the bridge.  The crew was arrested for being in a restrictedarea, and our ship impounded for a week.  

At the time, Greenpeace UK campaigner Louise Edge, said from on board:

"We'reblockading the base because these nuclear arms submarines pose a threatto the security of the world, not least by encouraging other countriesto go nuclear in the future".

Tony Blair is playing adangerous game by saying to countries like North Korea and Iran thatnuclear weapons are necessary for national defence, that the UK doesn'tcare about its international legal obligations, and that nuclearproliferation is the way forward.

Rather than squander anestimated 76 billion UK pounds on new and more sophisticated ways tobomb the world to pieces, we calculate that spending the same amount ontackling climate change could reduce the UK's carbon emissions by over12 percent, making the world a much safer place.

In the Middle East

While the Arctic Sunrise is in the UK taking action against nuclear weapons in Europe; the Rainbow Warrior pushing for a Nuclear Free Middle East: a Middle East free of all nuclear technology, both civil and military.

Greenpeace UK weblog

Read more on the Greenpeace UK weblog.

Follow the nuclear free Middle East tour.

Read the Rainbow Warrior weblog, Let the Sun Shine, about our nuclear free Middle East tour.