Mary Dejevski writes in the Independent today (The nationalists, the whistleblower and a chance to think about Trident, p 28, 19 May) hopes that the scrutiny of Trident will go beyond the specific complaints made by the courageous whistleblower, William McNeillie. If only we could hope for such scrutiny.
Here is the ultimate question about Trident:
Is there a greater than zero probability of its being fired?
If the answer to that question is an unqualified no, then we can safely
continue with it, although there are questions about its cost and the
potential for accidents, but these downsides can be balanced by
Trident's effect in raising the threshold at which nuclear weapons
states will declare war on us.
If the answer is yes, there is a chance that it could be fired, then we
must abandon the whole idea of nuclear deterrence, and work intensively
to ensure a global ban on all such WMD.
There is a cast iron reason for this: if the consequence of the
breakdown of a system is infinitely destructive, it is reasonable to use
that system if and only if the probability of its breakdown is zero.
Any examination of the history and structure of nuclear deterrence will
quickly conclude that there is a greater than zero chance of deterrence
In that case, Trident will be the trigger for, or part of, a global
nuclear holocaust, with all 17,000 being fired or destroyed in their
silos. That will destroy human civilisation - an infinitely negative
That being the case, we must put an end to the Trident programme. If
between them the SNP and William McNeilly have started a radical,
logical reappraisal of nuclear deterrence, they will have done the whole world
an immense favour.