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MPs vote on Trident tonight: will UK get WMD?

In a clear case of “do as we say, not as we do” the UK Government will tonight ask MPs to agree the UK should obtain Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) thousands of times more deadly than those Tony Blair thought Saddam Husain had.

Theresa May has set the tone of the debate by declaring that any failure to commission the upgraded nuclear explosives would be “gross irresponsibility” – much in the way a headteacher may scold a class which is not getting its UCAS form personal statements done in good time.

Jeremy Corbyn is trying to limit the damage to his own position by allowing Labour MPs a free vote. Given that a number of the rebels would have voted with the Tories anyway, this will at least stop the media saying that the rebel MPs defied him. However, John McDonnell MP told a meeting in Sunderland that nuclear weapons were “a matter of conscience” – which has never been the thinking on the left of the Labour Party, which has always been firm that it is a political decision the labour movement has a view on and not a personal matter to be decided by individual MPs.

The press is still trying to use the vote as a chance to have a go at the Labour Party, saying that the Tories are united while Labour is split. However, the theory that the Tories are united in their aim to buy stonkingly expensive nuclear weapons which could kill millions is hardly an endorsement of their Party.

Theresa May is likely to follow this line when she opens the debate in Parliament – emphasising that she supports a traditional deterrent and £31 billion is a price worth paying. Jeremy Corbyn is likely to reply, pointing out that the vast majority of countries in the world manage without nuclear weapons and we should spend the £31 billion on improving the lives of people in our own country, not threatening mass murder.

While the formal parliamentary debate rages on, the people who have had their lives ended or affected by acts of war in recent months have been attacked by people using knives, hand-held weapons and a large truck as weapons and have no state which could be threatened with a nuclear strike.

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