No. We are not increasing our nuclear arsenal, despite what you might have read.
The UK has announced plans to raise the cap on it’s nuclear stockpile by 40%. This has been announced as an increase in our nuclear arsenal, but it isn’t. We have increased the maximum size of our nuclear capacity, not the actual size.
The reason why we have increased the cap is because we are replacing some old warheads with new ones, which will result in a temporary increase while we swap them over.
If we aren’t increasing our stock of warheads why did the Government try to give the impression that we are? Because it wants to change the story away from bad news.
The Government has just announced a defence review that will reduce the size of our armed forces by 10,000. This breaks a direct promise made by Boris Johnson during the 2019 election not to cut troop numbers. It also comes at a time when those same troops have been deployed alongside the NHS to help out during the Covid crisis.
This comes alongside a review of Foreign Policy that tries to pivot the UK towards the Indo-Pacific region:
Frankly the UK hasn’t had a coherent foreign policy since David Cameron lost the vote on Syria, and this document does nothing to change that. We have fixed on the Pacific as a key area because it is the only part of the world left where we haven’t messed up; we knackered our relationship with Europe over Brexit, we knackered our relationship with the US by backing Trump in the hope of a bigly trade deal which never materialised, India thinks we are a laughing stock, we are scared of China.
Harold Wilson ended our strategic involvement east of Aden in the 1960s because we couldn’t afford it – this was at a time when we spent 5.5% of GDP on defence. The idea that we can rebuild that strategic presence while spending 1.5% of GDP on defence is crackers.
The reality of the Pacific Pivot is a load of posh boys flying business class around the Far East drinking Singapore Slings and pretending to do trade deals, while an aircraft carrier with no planes sails in circles.
But there is another reason why Boris want’s to spin the increase in our nuclear arsenal. There are a noisy group on the left who are opposed to the UK’s nuclear deterrent. This has always been a millstone around the neck of the Labour Party putting them at odds with the overwhelming majority of UK voters.
An announcement like this stirs up lots of outrage from middle class lefties, undermining the attempts of the Labour leadership to move on from the Corbyn era.
Maybe one day people might check the facts before the express their outrage over manufactured stories. But I don’t think that will happen soon. The middle class left like being outraged just as much as Johnson’s cronies like nepotism and patrongage.