LETTERS: Rid Britain of nuclear weapons

Sir: The launch of Labour's defence manifesto for the next election is a terrible lost opportunity ("Nuclear responsibility is awesome, says Blair", 26 June). The manifesto, in one line, says Labour is still committed to a nuclear free world. However, it fails to say how it intends to help achieve this, and Tony Blair completely omitted this commitment from his press statement, saying only that Labour would press for reductions in nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

According to Mr Blair, a Labour Government would only enter British nuclear forces into multilateral negotiations "when satisfied with verified progress towards our goal of the global elimination of nuclear weapons". Yet it has been repeatedly demonstrated. that the continued failure of Britain to place Trident on the negotiating table has contributed to the quarrels in evidence at the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty talks in Geneva. The arrogant insistence that Britain should hang onto its nuclear weapons simply because it has them will antagonise non-nuclear countries and potentially galvanise threshold states into deploying their own arsenals. If the nuclear party is set to go on, then what is to stop other countries from joining in the fun?

If Tony B1air thinks that playing macho games with humanity's survival will make him popular with voters, he is wrong. He may think that being prepared to push the nuclear button will help win the next election. However, a clear 50-60 per cent of the British electorate now favour a Britain without nuclear weapons, and want to see a treaty ridding the country of them.


Chair, CND

London N7