A GREAT deal of media attention has been devoted to whether or not we should renew Trident. Let’s be clear from the outset: this is not some kind of Big Boys’ Club of which we want to stay members, although to hear Cameron, Osborne, and the right-wing element of Labour you might be forgiven for thinking so. No – this is a willingness to outlay vast sums of money in order to retain the capacity to kill unimaginably huge numbers of human beings – with some quite surprising people prepared to press the proverbial button themselves.

How much money a Trident replacement would cost is almost impossible to say; but major projects from the Olympics to the GPs’ information database, and all points in between, are coming in at three times over budget, and the latter is long overdue as well.

However, setting aside the cost, and ignoring the ethical implications of murdering innocent civilians on an unimaginably vast scale, consider the pragmatic issue. If, either pre-emptively or in retaliation on behalf of an ally, we drop a bomb or two on some country, either it or its allies will promptly drop several on us; and that will be the finish of us.Only half-a-dozen or so countries in the world possess nuclear weapons, while the rest seem to get along perfectly well without. I see no reason for us not to fit into the latter category.

Val Gaize Studley