Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Spitting fire ...

I am sure the thousands of Cumbrian residents who work in the Barrow Yards on the Trident programme, one of the most sophisticated weapon systems in the world, will be interested to hear that Labour's shadow defence secretary, Emily Thornberry, apparently compared the Trident deterrent to World War II Spitfires.

This is of course the same lady who was sacked from Ed Miliband's shadow cabinet for tweeting a picture of a house displaying England flags in a manner which was perceived (including by fellow Labour MPs) as insulting to working class patriots.

Yet another reason why Conservatives who take different views about the forthcoming European referendum must treat one another with respect. After the referendum, whichever way it goes, we will need to work together or Emily Thornberry might be in charge of Britain's defences.

To paraphrase the Duke of Wellington, I don't know what effect she will have on Britain's potential enemies but the thought of having her as Secretary of State for Defence certainly terrifies me.


Jim said...

Trident being compmared to World War II Spitfires is not so bad im my book.

The Spitfire saved the UK (along with the Hurricane but the Spitfire is just more angelic) during the Battle of Britain.

The Spitfire aircraft was a fantastic piece of British Engineering, It was cutting edge in its day, and it done the UK a great service.

Very similar in fact to a role Trident plays today.

Jim said...

I guess, as with most things, Context is everything.

Jim said...

In fact the more I think about it.

In terms of "Saving the UK's backside" - I really can not think of a better, more complimentary thing to be compared to than a World War II Spitfire.

Jim said...

and even if here argument is that Trident, as you rightfully point out, one of the most sophisticated systems in the world, is obsolete. Then it needs a replacement, so what is the proposition. And I for one am pretty damned sure that what ever that "replacement" is would be very proud to be compared to a trident sub, or a World War II spitfire.

Though I have my doubts that under our current system one ever would be.

Chris Whiteside said...

As you rightly say, Jim, context is everything.

You or I would never, ever, dream of using a comparison to the spitfire - a magnificent machine which was cutting edge technology in its' day and helped save Britain from being conquered by one of the most dangerous and evil adversaries we ever faced - as a way of putting something down.

But we all know damn well that a put-down was precisely what Emily Thornberry meant.

And yes, the existing Trident systems will be obsolete in another decade or so, which is why we need to get started on the successor system soon.

She was suggesting that the entire concept of putting the nuclear deterrent on a submarine is obsolete.

That may become true at some point. It is not true today. And people who know far more on the subject than either I or Emily Thornberry say that we are nowhere near that point yet.

Jim said...

I know what she was saying, but I just had to make the point that if a system I was part of was "as good as a Spitfire" then I would would be pretty proud of my system.

As you know, in the nuclear industry nothing happens quickly and with something as important as Trident then we really do need to get cracking if its to be replaced. Its replacement is always 10-15 years away when it finally is started.

The "Idea" or the concept of having them on submarines is very, very, very sensible, so sensible is it in fact it could not have came from government, its way too sensible for that, it had to have come from the military.

You see its very difficult for an enemy state to take out the nuclear deterrent if, much like the sith, Always two there are. And you have no idea where either one is at any given time. Also it means (as there are more) you can dispatch a different two, whilst you de-arm, maintain and upgrade the first 2.

This way you can maintain your deterrent without ever losing the systems capability with "down time" or compromising its location, and subs are harder to find than ships.

Chris Whiteside said...

Quite. That is why we have argued for a long time that Britain needs at least four ballistic missile submarines so that there would always be at least one of them on station, and frequently two.