Readers' letters - August 3

Irrelevant Trident is dated

Wednesday, 3rd August 2016, 4:37 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 7:12 pm
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn addresses protesters at a Stop Trident protest rally in Trafalgar Square, London. See letter

Trident is now both obsolete as a concept and irrelevant as a deterrent.

Thus our brilliant MPs vote to replace it whilst reducing the conventional forces, that could actually be useful in protecting us, to dangerously low levels.

The nuclear bombs which were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki each had an explosive power of 15 kilotonnes (Kt) of TNT and destroyed 13 square miles.

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Today, although the secrecy surrounding nuclear weapons makes hard facts difficult to come by, it seems that weapons with an explosive power of a few hundred kilotonnes are favoured in order to keep the physical weight of the bomb to less than a tonne (1,000kg).

So a modern 300Kt bomb is 20 times more powerful 
than those were dropped on Japan.

The world has about 16,000 nuclear weapons: Russia and the USA about 7,200 each; the UK has about 200; Israel about 80; and five other countries have the remainder.

The rest of the world somehow manages to do without.

The UK has a land area of about 93,000 square miles so, depending on what assumptions you make, the arithmetic suggests that between 500 and 1,000 bombs on the UK would render our entire land mass uninhabitable.

But more importantly, and less dependent on assumptions, one bomb on each of no more than 25 major cities would bring the whole UK to a grinding halt.

Our hideously expensive Trident system carries 16 warheads per sub – 64 (but 
not all are at sea at the same time).

Not enough to effectively retaliate and devastate a rogue state so not much of a deterrent.

Sixty years ago the ‘West’ could only launch a nuclear weapon from a fixed installation – an Intercontinental Ballistic (ICBM) silo or from a major airfield.

These are easily put out of use by a pre-emptive strike.

Thus, for effective deterrence via retaliation, the Submarine Launch Ballistic Missile (SLBM) concept was created (Polaris).

It was a great success.

But now we can deliver nuclear bombs from mobile land platforms and conventional ships (Cruise missiles et cetera).

The vulnerability to a pre-emptive strike has more or less disappeared.

The USA has a small nuclear weapon called Davey Crockett which can launch from a recoilless gun on the back of a jeep.

The range is about 1.5 miles so now we are talking battlefield use.

When you add in the hugely different kind of threat to our safety, from a cyber or germ attack, terrorism and so forth, it is obvious Trident is obsolete.

We still need submarines – just not SLBM ones.

Even more we need surface ships, especially coastal protection.

Barrow has built scores of surface ships over the years.

Mike Turner,


Slow down and help wildlife

May I appeal to motorists to slow down when confronted with wildlife on our roads.

Birds can fly out of the way, if given enough time, don’t assume that this can happen in a split second. Also a hedgehog’s response to danger is to curl up into a ball.

If you see this mammal, I would suggest you pick it up and place it somewhere safe. It’s amazing how many motorists will drive around a dead hedgehog but won’t stop to help a live one. Any injured wildlife can be taken, free of charge to your local vet for treatment. Don’t just leave it in the middle of the road!

Please help our wildlife as they have as much right to live as us.

Sue Cooper via email

Corbyn provides real alternative

Over the years, the press has never treated the Labour Party fairly, unless led by someone who dances to Murdoch’s tune, but there’s no doubt that leader Jeremy Corbyn has faced historic levels of hostility.

What is concerning is the self-indulgence of Labour MPs who seek to unseat Mr Corbyn when they could be exploiting serious divisions with this current Government to force an election.

Since his landslide win in the leadership election, Corbyn’s Labour has forced the Government into U-turns which have benefited hundreds of thousands of people.

Corbyn’s approach of strong opposition to Tory austerity, backed with a credible coherent alternative, that puts investment in Britain’s future at its core, means a Labour victory at a general election very possible.

Corbyn is well-placed to win because he is proposing Britain takes the lead in tackling climate change, meaning high skill, high tech, and high wage jobs. His ability to speak clearly, providing a real alternative to cuts and austerity is much needed as the Tories continue the failed road of cuts.

Royston Jones, via email

Look out for the leaping bunny

If you hate the idea of animal testing and want to be sure any cosmetics you buy are cruelty-free, then look for the leaping bunny symbol on the packet.

Only products with this symbol are certified cruelty-free under internationally recognised standards. This stipulates no animal testing is conducted or commissioned for finished cosmetic products or the ingredients. This is the gold standard, only companies that get through its independent checks make the grade.


Josephine Harwood, address supplied

Give Theresa May a chance

Regarding John Appleyard’s letter about Theresa May (LEP July 28), give the woman a chance, she’s only been in office a week.

As for it being difficult to live on disability benefits, I am disabled and I find them quite generous. I suspect you wrote this to have a pop at the Tories. If you look closer to home, you will find a wrecking crew meeting regularly in our council chambers.

Bruce Allen via email