So WTF Is Trident Anyway?
The Debrief: All the politicians are squabbling over it, but here's a pretty simple guide to what it actually is...
The snarkiness of the general election is well underway. While it’s just been revealed by tabloids that UKIP have got a candidate who’s spent the past 30 years working in porn, we’ve got the broader discussion of something called Trident.
As everyone chats about it, here’s your need-to-know. In numbers, too, because why not?
1. It’s not about King Trident from The Little Mermaid (obvs, but we’ve used him to illustrate this because he’s a lot sexier than a nuclear power plant), it’s not Trident toothpaste and it’s not the Metropolitan Police’s taskforce against gang crime.
2.Basically, Trident is our nuclear deterrent – it’s four submarines each capable of carrying 16 Trident II D-5 ballistic nuclear missiles. One submarine is constantly on patrol while one is being repaired and the other two are doing manouveurs. The logic being that if Russia, the US, France, India have nuclear weapons and Pakistan and North Korea threaten to have them, we should probably have some, too.
3. That means it’s basically a massive willy-waving contest between different countries, where they each stock up on nuclear arms just in case we have a war. It’s a bit like walking around every day with a freshly-filled super squirter in your arms just in case anyone might want to start a waterfight. Most of the time you really won’t need it and it might be a burden, but come that moment when the sky lights up and everyone wants to splash water/nuclear arms about, you’ll want to be prepared.
4. If the UK keeps Trident it’ll have to spend £160 billion on it (and that’s just until 2022!)
5. Some people think that money could be spent better elsewhere, and that getting involved in the whole ‘my massive willy-shaped submarine/missile is bigger than yours’ contest is a bit silly.
6. We’re discussing this now because the Scottish National Party, whose leader Nicola Sturgeon did so well in last week’s TV debates, are anti-Trident. They want to scrap it. Meanwhile, the Conservatives and Labour say they want to keep it.
7. The Conservatives are now saying that if there’s a hung parliament (where no-one can decide the winner and, so parties have to team up with each other to form a coalition) and Labour and the SNP form a coalition, then we’ll see no more Trident.
8. This is a bad thing, perhaps, because all those other countries will still have their nuclear weapons, leaving us without even a plastic straw-load of water to drizzle on them.
9. What could be worse, though, is the way the Conservatives have gone around telling us about this. Michael Fallon told The Times, ‘Ed Miliband stabbed his own brother in the back to become Labour leader. Now he is willing to stab the United Kingdom in the back to become Prime Minister.’ Referring to Ed’s potential to sacrifice Trident, so he can get a majority government with SNP.
Cameron says, ‘It is important that in a dangerous insecure world we have that ultimate insurance policy.’
Miliband says, ‘National security is too important to play politics with. I will never compromise our national security, I will never negotiate away our national security.’
What do you think? Tell us on Twitter @TheDebrief
Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson
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