How Hain learned to stop worrying and love the bomb

Peter Hain took advantage of his appearance on Sunday AM with Andy Marr to push strongly the Government line in favour of replacement of trident.

Asked why he was happy to spend billions of pounds that some pinkos ordinary voters would like to see spent on schools, hospitals and basic kit for an overstretched army, he replied that, “the issue is since we are where we are and the history of having an independent nuclear deterrent I do not think people in Britain will accept us giving that up. ”

This stands rather in contrast with the 1993 joint letter he sent to President Clinton, urging a stop on new research on nuclear weapons. He argued that it would demonstrate a “commitment to the research, development, manufacture and deployment of nuclear weapons”. Just to clarify, at the time, he thought that would be a bad thing.

He attacked the US and Russia for their lack of “vigour” in supporting non-proliferation as recently as 2000. Some people might ask the question how a hugely expensive spanking new nuclear weapon of mass destruction is going to help the cause of non-proliferation. It certainly sends out a single about the UK’s commitment to the cause.

Marr put a very good question, which Hain just refused to answer: “you think it would be a good way to spend taxpayer’s money to develop a new system which could presumably wipe out half of humanity like the current one would. Give me some examples of how in practical terms that’s going to be useful.”


8 Responses to How Hain learned to stop worrying and love the bomb

  1. Benjamin says:

    Hey, great pithy question by Marr.

    One things that’s consistently been annoying about the debate is the habit of some like Adam Boulton from Sky News talking about Labour “unilateralists” in some sort of throwback to the 1980s.

    But getting rid of the UK’s supposedly independent detterent is not a unilateralist stance. Under the NPT, those EXISTING nuclear weapons states are encouraged to reduce their armaments as part of the structure of the NPT. So not renewing Trident is actually already integral to the NPT and MULTILATERAL disarmament through treaties.

    It’s not the UK going it alone. Collective security is already provided by NATO and other mechanisms, and nuclear disarmament takes place under the NPT. Where’s the controversy?

  2. HenryG says:

    Speaking of Liberals, I think the Daily should link to the wonderful Yellow Peril AKA Lib Dem Watch at

  3. HenryG says:

    Apologies the link should be this

  4. observer says:

    Let’s face it, consistency has never been Hain’s strong point….

  5. tyger says:

    Nonsense. The world has changed since 1993.

    1993 was the era of the so-called End of History – Fukuyama and all that. There appeared to be no long-term need for a nuclear deterrent. Hain wouldn’t be the only politician to be drawn to these conclusions.

    No is the time of a buoyant and ambitious China, an aggressive Iran, and a newly nuclearised Korean peninsular. Maybe if geopolitics had been better handled, Hain wouldn’t have had to change his position.

    Consistency? Give me any British politician and I’m pretty sure we could dig up something that contradicts an impassioned position they once took. Hain has proven he’s got the courage of his convictions and has the record to prove it.

    Cheap point scoring.

  6. tyger says:

    *Now is the time of a buoyant China….

  7. “Nonsense. The world has changed since 1993.”

    Yes, Hain is now a cabinet minister.

  8. I disagree Tyger. The NPT system has been extremely successful in some cases, such as South Africa and Brazil. If it looked like the signatories had any real inclination to remove their weapons, then it would be far easier to have stopped rampent proliferation.

    At the same time as we’re thinking about spending billions on replacing a weapons system we’ll (hopefully) never ever use, there aren’t enough armoured cars capable of protecting our soldiers from IEDs. Let’s face it that, the morality aside, we just can’t afford the nuclear white elephant anymore.

    Part of the reason that we highlighted this part of the interview is that it just looked like Hain didn’t beleive a word he was saying either. He was unable to give one good reason for nuclear weapons other than that we already have them, which, to be honest, is a piss poor reason.

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