In a hypothetical situation of being a non-nuclear armed state which is lawfully able to become one then I can only guess the world would look entirely diffferent and we would be living in a nuclear arms race age. Certainly no serious figure in UK politics would suggest a non-nuclear armed country becoming a nuclear armed country as it could not be lawfully achieved whether it cost £25billion or £500 (that would be a very DIY Trident).
Originally Posted by Andy
I think all we can do is stick to the reality of today - we are presently a nuclear armed nation amongst a number of others. We are heading to an election where no major party is suggesting unilateral nuclear disarmament. With this the case, wouldn't it be useful to come out with the list of perceived benefits of having a nuclear deterrent because plenty of people think there are none? Wouldn't it be useful to say what the end game is? This is really my point - on an issue of considerable importance whatever view you hold, we neither get presented with examples of the benefits or any real alternatives and we have no major party to vote for if we believe the nuclear deterrent should be scrapped altogether. The most anti-Trident (not anti-nuclear deterrent) stance from any of the three is to do a review, possibly end up with Trident anyway but hopefully get a cheaper alternative - it will still be a complete waste of money to anyone who believes we do not need one.
They may look nice but they're all rubbish in bed.
BTW my post above was in response to the post at 11.24am. It's the page 3 girls who're rubbish in bed. Don't want anyone to think I'm talking about Cameron, Brown or Clegg.
They're all excellent in bed.
I always thought that renewing Trident was massively overpriced and the reasons for having Trident weren't very clear anyway in a post cold war scenario (though to be fair even in a cold war scenario the implications of nuclear proliferation / mutually assured destruction were just bonkers anyway!). Supporters of Trident always seem to trot out the same argument that goes along the lines of 'the fact that we don't know what the future holds in terms of strategic policy is the basis for renewing Trident' - which always seems bizarre to me, surely we want something more nimble and easier to adapt to any situation than something which is very much based around one single strategy (nuking the hell out of 100,000+ people in one go - or at least having that threat available).
On top of that is the hypocrisy involved in telling other non-nuclear states that they can't develop nuclear weapons when we're just about to renew our nuclear arsenal (justifying it by saying it's still 'non proliferation' because we're not actually increasing our nuclear capability ). Never easy to take the moral high ground when you're in the gutter (though cynically that's never stopped us in the past I suppose). Was a nice sign though with Russian/US cutting back their nuclear arsenals recently in the START treaty (I think they're down to just 1000 warheads each now!?).
I think what will probably/hopefully happen in the next year will be a review on military spending and there will be some kind of compromise on the renewal of Trident. It's just far too expensive for us to afford right now and looking at something more adaptable is a much better option.
How typical of everything about Brown that whilst today's meeting between Cameron & Clegg was public knowledge, Brown chose to skulk across to the Foreign Office for a "secret" meeting with Clegg that no-one was told about.
These meetings are of massive importance & they're being held behind closed doors. The very LEAST the public deserves is to know what meetings are being held. But, true to form, nasty little Brown is trying to get his own way with whispered conversations in secret meetings. His 100% record of never being elected to lead anyone or anything is intact (& resoundingly so) but still the execrable leopard shows no sign of changing his spots. Absolute scum.
Anyway, much as I don't want to tempt fate (I want the Tories & the Libs to agree a deal) I'm struggling to see how they (the Libdems) can do anything else. Consider the options:
It's very clear that the Libs are not going to win a majority in any election any time soon. They went into this one in their best shape ever & achieved exactly the same dire result as before. Thus I think it's reasonable to say that the ONLY thing the Libdems can hope for is to agree a deal with either the Tories or Labour.
So let's consider their options if they DON'T forge a deal with the Tories:
1. They also fail to do a deal with Labour. For reasons outlined above, this would leave them nowhere. If we have another election, they'll do no better than this time & will be in the same situation at BEST.
2. They do a deal with Labour. If that happens, we are certainly looking at another election, most probably this year. In those circumstances, I personally cannot see the combined forces of Labour & Libdem doing any better than last time round (& could easily see them doing worse). So again, the best they could hope for is another election that leaves them no better off than they are now. And like I say, in those circumstances they would have angered a big chunk of the electorate (who would surely decide that all the Libs REALLY care about is PR) so there's every chance they might do far worse.
Anyway, just my own rambling thoughts but I don't see any tenable option for the Libs than to ally with the Tories. All they can really do is try to get the best deal possible. After all, it will be the first time they've had a real say in policy, which could be viewed as some kind of success.
I'm getting increasing fed up with politicians. I was sick of them before the election, fed up of hearing the same sound bites/untruths/half-truths/lack of detail during the election and now totally disillusioned with them in the aftermath. All these present shenanigans are just typical of these people - nothing is what it seems.
The politicians got the outcome they all deserved - and no one came out well.
In fact was pleased that the outcome was a hung parliament because it showed them all what the rank and file of people think of them eg no trust = no power.
I believe most people want to see a new politics - one that is collegiate/honourable/representative. Above all the current system is outdated and patently unfair. How can a party that got 25% of the popular vote only receive a 6th of the seats to that of a party who got 36% of the popular vote? It really is totally unfair and now totally discredited. It served up a pathetic government last time and you would have thought we didn't need another vested interest government in charge.
As for the comments about Brown I agree. Not a nice man and totally untrustworthy. Also agree about Trident - too much money, spend the money on people not systems based on a redundant cold war problem. I don't believe in Cameron either. He seems to be all things to all men/women. Now where have I seen this before...? Yes I think he might be another Blair - an accomplished actor that sent us into an illegal war we can't win and lined his pocket in the process. It's good to see other people care. I'm sure some of us have the same views and I'm sure some of us have different view but we all share the common ground of caring for our country - something that politicians still don't really understand.
Labour and the LibDems are reported to be out of cash, and cannot afford to fight another election at this point in time. The Conservatives are cash rich and ready for a repeat if they could arrange it to happen without facing an electoral backlash.
I agree the LibDems are in a sort of no-win situation. Especially since a lot of people who voted LibDem did so for strategic reasons to keep the Labour/Conservative (delete as applicable) candidate out, and so a good chunk of those who voted for them will see it as a betrayal if the LibDems ally with either party. They ended up in 4th position behind the Conservatives in the last Scottish parliament elections, after going into coalition with Labour twice, leaving political analysts to say that people now perceived a LibDem vote as a Labour vote, and in a PR system like the Scottish parliamentary one, 'strategic' voting is reduced in impact. It didnt help them that they also made popular 'non-negotiable' pledges during each electoral campaign, which they negotiated away to form their coalitions. They may get away with it more if they agree to vote with the Cons or Lab on certain agreed issues, without a formal alliance, but in exchange for support on certain of their issues. What I'm saying is that they will lose votes at the next election no matter what they choose to do.
Labour's numbers position is slightly better than much of the press seem to be reporting at the moment, since one of the Conservative MPs has apparently fallen out with Cameron, and has vowed to oppose him, which I gather effectively means 1 additional Labour vote, and 1 less Conservative one. I do reckon all the evidence points towards some sort of Con/Lib agreement, with Labour probably fairly happy to bide their time until the cuts and midterm blues really set in.
As for wanting PR - it's a bit like saying that they favour adopting religion; there's no such thing really, it's a term used to describe a range of belief systems. In the same way, the Lib Dems don't favour PR, they favour STV1, while Labour would quite like to adopt PR too, but they want AMS (which is what we have in the Scottish parliamentary voting system and it (by design) does quite a good job of keeping the upstart minor parties down), and there are many other electoral systems to choose from. So Brown's 'generous' offer to adopt 'PR' in the speech he made the day after the election would have been of no interest to the LibDems.
If anyone does take power, though, the numbers mean that they will be vulnerable in practice, but not until the opposition parties perceive that they would have an electoral advantage, so my reckoning is the next election could either be quite soon (if no deal is reached) or not for a couple of years, at least.
Local issues here in Scotland could have a big effect during this term. So many powers have been devolved to Holyrood, that the bulk of the issues which directly affect peoples lives (in the short term) are held by Edinburgh. The Conservatives have pledged to take some powers back to Westminster. I can't exaggerate how unpopular this would be to a large proportion of the electorate up here, and how much it could benefit the SNPs electoral position, especially if peoples fears about there still being a powerful Thatcherite camp within the Conservatives are seen in effect. The Scottish elections are next year, and will see a bitter battle between Labour and the SNP, with the SNP pledged to hold an independence referendum if they win. As things stand, the result of such an election would be a 'no', but as I've said, this could change. This prospect would likely not concern some elements of the Conservative party; it would take all of those Labour seats out of Westminster, after all!
In the run up to the election, it seemed like a haze descended upon the nation that a hung parliament would bring out the best in politicians and the product would be country first, party politics second. This is what all are keen to stress is happening but clear as day, we all know that not only are the parties playing politics but also wings within each party are too. Well, when did they last prove they were worthy of being called honourable after all? It's no surprise, surely?!
It was unpopular for the Tories in the campaign to suggest hung parliaments end up with secret handshakes etc. I don't know why, it's quite obvious they have to and that the cross you put on your ballot may not end up being used in the way you thought it would. Democracy, eh!
Brown got all his people round earlier so perhaps today (well, yesterday now) was the stark realisation that the only strategy to woo Clegg is the 'Nick, I will go (insert timeframe) and Ed Milliband will succeed me. Have you met Ed? He's a progressive biggot. You'll love him' strategy. After all, Clegg said the public wouldn't accept having Brown left as PM if he lost the election in spectacular style. I guessing what actually happened qualifies.
But having an outsider like Clegg 'force' a change of leader when there were three failed coups to do it by people in the party would be pretty humiliating for Labour. I say humiliating but they must all know Brown is a goner anyway, it's just they want to do the pushing themselves thank you.
The obvious thing with that is again having an unelected Prime Minister. Although the media say the public wouldn't tolerate that, on the back of the Iraq war we clearly didn't have a problem letting Blair in again. I don't think people should presume there would be an outcry.
Talking about war, it would be nice to hear that as well as the ecomonic mess that requires stability to work towards resolving, we do actually have young men and women risking their lives for us right now and they also deserve some sort of clarity... at this point, slightly more important than the various ways the electoral system could be reformed.
On the topic of war, I'm convinced that the only reason we support the US in Iraq & now Afghanistan is in return for some behind-the-scenes guarantee of financial support (either directly or indirectly) should things get much worse recession-wise.
It's a terrible thing to speculate on, but I have no doubt that the lives of some of our soldiers are considered a price worth paying.
Personally I don't believe for a second any of the reasons Blair/Brown have given for our involvement in those conflicts. If they were true, why isn't EVERY country equally involved? As far as I can see the UK was no more a target than any other country in the West, until Blair took us into Iraq. I think our involvement in these conflicts is purely to allow the US Govt to make these conflicts more palatable to their own electorate.
I'm no expert on this stuff so I may be wrong, but that's how it looks to me.
I meant David Milliband rather than Ed but yes, so it begins... come Autumn, every single voter who voted will again have a PM who didn't even stand for that position in an election!
Originally Posted by musicbox