The thing is, the reason WHY we got a nuclear deterrent in the first place is not the reason people think it is. I gather that it came down to a meeting in the late 40s where the Labour committee decided they would NOT fund a bomb programme. Then Bevin, whom arrived late to the meeting, was deeply surprised, and pointed out the nuclear weapon was necessary for Britain to sit at the top table when the decision making was made with the big powers. In short, lacking an Empire, having a bomb was a short cut to big power status. No surprise, after all, North Korea is trying to do exactly the same thing today.
So lets look at the time. Britain increasingly decolonizing. Its got no relationship with Europe worth a damn. Its not sure it can really trust the US anymore. Russia is increasingly bellicose. And British manufacturing is in the doldrums and the economy is on the slide. Well all I can say is, im glad none of THAT has happened again
Britain needed the bomb for security, because it couldnt be sure that if we were attacked, the Yanks would have our back after Suez. We needed the bomb just so we were assured of retaining the UN security council seat we had earned during the war. We needed it for lots of things, not least because the West Germans would dominate the NATO alliance, as they are now dominating the EU one. We needed the bomb for national pride, or the precipitate slide in British power since the end of WW2 would have been even steeper than it was. One thing is for sure, if we ever lost it, it would be self evident all the good it did fo us, and by then it would be too late. We take the bomb for granted for the position it gives us in the world. A threadbare position its true, but it does still count for something even today.
Personally I think the best solution all round would be to ban the damn things because they are unusable and take up a pile of money. But that's a case for multilateral disarmament, not unilateral disarmament. Even most Labour MPs, other than Corbyn, seem to understand that. So for that matter did WIlson, whom pledged to ban the bomb in the 64 election campaign, and ended up building four Polaris Submarines. Much to his surprise, and everyone elses for that matter.
Edited by Stuart Galbraith, 20 September 2017 - 0456 AM.