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CONTENTS – VOL 168 NO 34 3 Trident: surprising allies as costs row escalates 4 Activists make mountain stand 5 Pakistan’s floods: a human crisis 6 Justice system advices and queries John Myhill 7 A Quaker trust and its trustees Roger Seal 8-9 Letters 10-11 Joy in the work Maggie Hunt 12 Outside from the Inside Billy, Gavin, Ken and others 13 Worshipful space Mike Tooby 14 Flesh defeated, spirit undimmed Ken Veitch 15 Quakers in a seventh century steeple house Adrian Smith 16 Q-Eye 17 Friends & Meetings
Cover image: Part of the Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas. Photo: Michael/flickr CC:BY. See page 13. Images on this page: After nine months the scaffolding is down! Ifield Quaker Meeting House was built in 1676 and is Grade I listed. The stonework has been stabilised, the oak window frames repaired and, thanks to donations totalling £6,475, the bill for the specialist restoration of their original leaded light windows has been paid. Ifield Friends say that they are deeply grateful to Friends for this help and are very much heartened by their support and encouragement.
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the Friend, 20 August 2010 News
Trident: surprising allies as costs row escalates
Symon Hill reports on Trident replacement developments
THE FUTURE OF THE TRIDENT nuclear weapons system has been thrown into doubt by a row between government ministers over who will pay for it. Concerns over costs have fuelled criticism of Trident from pro-military commentators, providing strange bedfellows for peace activists.
Funding for nuclear arms is generally separate from the main Ministry of Defence (MoD) budget. But the chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne, now wants the MoD to fund the renewal of Trident itself. Defence secretary Liam Fox is not happy, but insists that a decision has yet to be made.
The government places the cost of Trident renewal at £20bn, but other estimates have put the figure as high as £94bn.
Shifting Trident funding to the MoD would have major effects on military expenditure. Although the MoD budget could be increased by the expected cost of Trident, this would still leave nuclear arms competing with other calls on the same pot of money.
The situation has triggered fears that Trident renewal will mean reduced funding for the conventional armed forces. The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), a pro-military thinktank, suggested that Trident should be ‘scaled back’ for financial reasons. Richard Dannatt, who recently retired as head of the army, urged the government to review Trident spending.
Anti-nuclear activists will have to choose whether to ally themselves with those who oppose Trident for pro-military reasons. Asked about this by the Friend, Sam Walton of Quaker Peace & Social Witness (QPSW) said, ‘Whilst as Quakers we will never compromise our integrity to achieve a campaigning end, we welcome any support in campaigning to get rid of Trident and are happy to work with others on this issue’.
Albert Beale of the Peace Pledge Union is more cautious. He told the Friend that ‘on a tactical level, I’m pleased about anything that moves towards lower military spending, but pacifists cannot agree with the logic of arguments that are anti-Trident but promilitary’. He urged peace campaigners to keep in mind the ‘longer-term aim of demilitarisation’.
Liam Fox has said he wants the MoD to be ‘leaner’, with a twenty-five per cent cut in running costs. ‘The backroom sometimes has to do without to make sure that the front line gets what it wants,’ he argued. He is a keen supporter of Trident, having described opposition to nuclear weapons as ‘national selfloathing’.
But Quakers suggested that the row over funding reveals ministers’ doubts over how useful Trident really is.
‘Perhaps the reason why no-one wants to pay for Trident is that it’s not of any practical use,’ said Sam Walton. ‘The cost of Trident is ludicrous, especially given how little value for money we realise in terms of any sort of security.’
Trident is excluded from the Strategic Defence and Security Review, which is due to report in October. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) has asked how the MoD can carry out the review without considering nuclear arms when no agreement on Trident funding has been reached. Meanwhile, Bristol CND have launched a nationwide film competition (www. thechanceofalifetime.org) for young people, who are asked to make a film 30-60 seconds long about what nuclear disarmament means to them. They will be judged by professional filmmakers. Bristol Quaker Jeanne Jones said she hopes the competition will encourage more young people to reflect on the reality of nuclear weapons.
the Friend, 20 August 2010