Today, a letter to my MP:
The Prime Minister is clearly minded to replace Trident with a new nuclear weapon of mass destruction. Now the International Court of Justice has ruled in July 1996 that the use of nuclear weapons would be illegal. Possession of such a weapon without having a firm intent to use it if deemed necessary by Government would be a total waste of £25 billions of taxpayers money. Therefore the Government is prepared to break the law.
The only defence that Government has against this charge is the deterrence argument, that in possessing nuclear weapons it prevents other nuclear weapons states (NWS) from using theirs. They are there “to keep the peace”. There are two flaws in this defence.
First, by possessing nuclear weapons of mass destruction (NWMD), the Prime Minister is creating the perception in other states (notably Iran and North Korea) that they also need to acquire NWMD in order to defend themselves against the perceived threat from ourselves. Our own nuclear weapons stimulate the proliferation of nuclear weapons. In addition, our persistent breach of Article 6 of the Nuclear Non–Proliferation treaty only serves to make this situation worse. The more NW proliferate, the more likely it is that Britain and others will break the law by using them.
Second, deterrence is physically founded on an elaborate system of command and control, a web of sensors, computers, communications and decision makers. Deterrence theory is predicated on the assumption that this system can be made perfect, which is clearly not the case, since no human system is perfect and incapable of failure, not least such a vast and complex system. Therefore the deterrence argument cannot be sustained, and it is a sound legal case that possession of NWMD implies the readiness to break the law by using them.
Now Common Law requires me to take action to prevent another person from breaking the law, especially in such a genocidal way as the Government proposes to do in the case of using nuclear weapons, even if my action is in breach of a law designed to prohibit behaviour of a less harmful kind. In that it would be bound to kill thousands or even millions of innocent civilians if he turned the key on Trident, Mr. Blair is prepared to commit an act of terrorism that makes 9/11 pale into insignificance.
I would be very grateful if you would ask the Prime Minister, who carries the ultimate responsibility for ordering this crime to be committed, if he can find a reason that I and other citizens should not break the law if such lawbreaking actions might prevent him from committing the crime of actually ordering the use of Britain’s weapons of mass destruction.
With many thanks