Sunday, 3 October 2010

An Open Letter to My MP

The very excellent enhancement of our democracy allows you to see every time your MP asks a question in Parliament and it also allws you to send emails direct to your MP. In the last election, my constituency of Keighley lost the long standing and excellent Labour MP - Ann Cryer to retirement and instead got Kris Hopkins, Conservative. This is a letter I have sent to him.

Dear Kris Hopkins,
As an ex-army officer I am hoping you will agree that the Trident missile system is a colossal waste of money and that the conventional forces are in much greater need of this financing. At this time of economic crisis it is particularly foolish to pursue funding for a weapon system wholly at odds with the reality of the UK's latter-day position in the world. Against whom would we conceivably use these weapons notwithstanding the premise of all nuclear deterrents since Their first and only use against Japan - M.A.D. Were Britain ever threatened by an enemy would not our American allies (who are even less likely to get rid of all their nuclear arsenal), defend us? Will we threaten the Russians for hiking the price of gas? Are they of any use against Al Quaeda, wherever they may be? Can they be used as part of wars such as those in Iraq or Afghanistan? Can they contribute to peace keeping interventions such as in Bosnia or our role in Northern Ireland? The answer to all these actual dispositions of our military in recent years is no.
Those dispositions and the issue of Trident raise the whole question of what role the UK and its military have in the world today as well as what we can afford to be. I lived in Ireland (the Republic) for ten years and was most impressed by the steadfast use of the Irish Army purely for peacekeeping roles - something for which they are held in high regard, indeed sought after.This role of neutrality and amed forces only for peacekeeping is so much endorsed by the people of Ireland that it was an important part of the No votes in referendum for the new European treaty.  I am aware that Britain still has "interests" around the world that need defending from time to time, but has the time not come when we could drop our memories of worldwide imperial power and adopt a role similar to that of Ireland but bigger and better provided for and with all the excellence of which our forces are capable of?

Yours sincerely,
Andrew Wilson