A Conversation for Ballistic Missile Submarines

The REAL reason why?

Post 1


The real reason why Britain has nukes emerged in an episode of "Yes, Prime Minister" and while presented "fictionally", is horribly plausible.

I've been a member of CND, but in a pretty half-hearted way: at university CND was one of those organisations you had to join to establish right-on credentials to your peers. I'd always suspected there was something way wrong with CND's raison d'etre, but I'd never been able to see the flaw in its reasoning or the reason why I had this uneasy suspicion the organisation was barking up the wrong tree.

If it were JUST a matter of post-imperial delusion and an attempt to retian superpower status, we'd have cheerfully admitted years ago that it's pointless to try to match the Yanks and the Russians, and the British nuclear programme would have gone the same way as the British space exploration programme. (ie, we'd never even have bothered)

"Yes Prime Minister", in an episode that was thinly disguised satire about buying Trident, had a scene where Sir Humphrey (devious civil servant) is explaining the REAL issue to Jim Hacker (thick self-deluded politician).

Humphrey Appleby patiently explains to Hacker that in the long run, the current worries about the Russians will be immaterial, that we've only ever been at war with them for two years in the last thousand. While we've been at war with Germany for a total of ten years, that is a mere statistical blip, Prime Minister, as we have been at war with one other European power for nearly five hundred out of the last thousand years.

This other European power ALSO posesses nuclear weapons, and as long as they do, we have to maintain parity, there's no question whatsoever about that, or we would be laying ourselves wide open. Appleby explains that this is a nation we have never liked, never trusted, have spent 50% of our history at war with, and and the considered view of the Mniistry of Defence and the Foreign Office is that if we unilaterally disarmed, we would be laying ourselves wide open for trouble. Foreget the Russians, Prime Minister, we're really in a nuclear arms race with the French.


Why does this have such a disturbing ring of truth to it.... YPM is such an accurate reflection of how they REALLY think and what REALLY goes on in London among our elected representatives and the Civil Service. This could well be right!

The REAL reason why?

Post 2


Oh, and it was a damn fine informative article, btw

The REAL reason why?

Post 3


Thank you smiley - ok . There are many parallels with the UK and the French; both started at roughly the same time and the force is roughly the same strength.

But - and I'm fully aware I'm taking this far too seriously smiley - biggrin - France is very close. Why waste huge sums of money on submarines and missiles that can strike from anywhere in the world when you could hit them from 30 miles away. And in any case it would be very stupid to use nuclear weapons on your next door neighbour.

I reckon the real reason we keep 'em is to make sure the yanks stay in line smiley - winkeye

The REAL reason why?

Post 4


Having worked on Vanguard and Repulse over the years and a paid up member of the Dr Strangelove society I feel I can comment on the reasons behind having the "suck the paint of your house and give your momma an orange afro" nuclear deterent.
It just so that we get to sit on the UN security council as a permanent member. not through any true military reason. talk to the yanks, they think were fab, just not big enough to make a difference. but by having an independent nuclear deterent we get to play with the big boys when dealing with world trade etc. We still have lots of prefferential partners around the world and using the deterent as an umbrella makes a lot of people feel as though we are on there side (and gets us cheaper goods along the way). The deterent is a very cheap way of maintaining good world relations for the UK. especially when you realise that the crew of a British SSBN have families and friends who they dont want to see being made into charcoal briquets any time soon.
as for going to sea with them, well it's the most boring 13 weeks i have ever spent.

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