Talk - ‘No Trident Replacement’
I call Norman Baker to see where he stands on Trident missiles: he’s giving a talk on the issue in Lewes a couple of days before it’ll be debated in the Commons. “The world’s changed and frankly I think the case for nuclear deterrent, if it ever existed, is about 20 years out of date,” he says, quickfire, as I scribble away. “The main threat we have to worry about is sub-state terrorism: if a so-called ‘rogue state’ attacks us they are far more likely to use chemical and biological weapons. Going down the Trident line would also make us reliant on US technology: we need to start looking at a situation whereby we’re setting an independent agenda instead of being the back end of a penny farthing to the United States… we need to detach ourselves from their train-crash of a foreign policy.”
He pauses, while I catch up with my notes. But not for long. “We need to look at our role in the world,” he continues. “We should have made the decision after World War Two that we were no longer a big player in world affairs, that we were no more than a mid-sized European power. But one with a great deal of influence in organisations such as the IMF, the World Bank, the EU and the Commonwealth. We should use that influence creatively. Instead of wasting 70 billion on end-of-a-pipe solutions like nuclear missiles, we’d be far better spending our resources doing something useful, like sorting out Palestine. Do you do short-hand?” I don’t, sadly, but it’s easy to get his gist.