Friday, March 09, 2007



On 14th March Parliament will debate and vote on the renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system. The cost of renewing this system has been estimated at anything from £25bn. to £75bn.

The overriding moral issue is that apocalyptic weapons of mass destruction are profoundly wrong in anyone's hands. The current doublethink that divides the world into 'civilised' and 'barbarian' - allowing apocalyptic weapons to the former and banning them from the latter - ignores both the flows of weapons and other unethical trades between 'civilised' and 'barbarian' and also ignores the fundamental idiocy of such a binary pattern of thought.

Beyond the overriding moral issue, there are two major pragmatic concerns with the idea of Trident renewal. The first is that every single penny involved comes from our hard-earnt taxation. This current Rump Parliament is not representative (the governing party having over 50% of seats on around 35% of votes cast and a far lower percentage of the total electorate, given all those too alienated to vote or disenfranchised for one reason or another). Therefore a decision of this magnitude cannot be left to an 'elite' with a spurious mandate and an appalling Governmental record: surely developing these weapons of mass destruction would open us up to the possibility of being invaded without a UN Second Resolution by another country declaring itself 'civilised' and us 'barbarian' at some point in the future?

Secondly, the economic concept of opportunity cost is vital here. For every single penny spent on these apocalyptic weapons of mass destruction we fail to spend that penny on the welfare of our people. The recent stratospheric stock market falls emanating from China and the long-term decline of the dollar shows us how fragile our current economic system is. Given that, reliance on the oft-repeated mantra that "the economy is strong" looks increasingly like the hopeful incantation of a false magical spell in the face of unpalatable realities. The belt may have to be firmly tightened in the future and recent spending levels may not be sustainable: the only long-term decision of any morality and pragmatic value on 14th March is a loud, vociferous NO to Trident renewal.

Let's get creative. Since it is OUR taxation, why not write to our elected representatives to tell them what we think they should spend those scarce billions on instead of these apocalyptic weapons of mass destruction?

Or even better, why not stand in the likely General Election of 2007 and make your society a more harmonious and less violent place?

Here are some serving suggestions:

The Golden Age of Athenian Democracy under Pericles

Wikipedia: World Disarmament Conference, 1932-4

BBC: Wales on Air - Aneurin Bevan and the foundation of the National Health Service

Wikipedia: The Open University, 1969-

BBC News: Dutch pioneer floating eco-homes

Japan Guide: Shinkansen (Bullet Trains)

Alex Ramon: Alternative Energy News

Arts Council UK

The original Wembley stadium: when football was the people's game, not a corporate game

Indymedia UK

Trades Union Congress UK

New Economics Foundation

Jubilee Debt Campaign

Make Borders History

International Criminal Court Alliance

J.S.Mill: "On Liberty", 1869

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948-

The good news from Canada is that the ranks of the cyber-crew of Alex Ramon have now been swelled by the entry of Kelly Riehl. Welcome aboard the MCH network Kelly and please enjoy helping our cybermosaic empire (or, indeed, anti-empire) to grow.

Also, we here in the UK are honoured to include the work of one of our most brilliantly talented young comedians, Mark Watson, on the site. Mr.Watson has a Radio 4 programme which is required listening and is soon embarking on an Australian tour.

Not only is Mr.Watson tickling our funny bones, he is also the architect of a burgeoning matryoshka of environmental campaigns with a vast retinue of collaborators - Crap at the Environment, Pimp My Plant Pot, Save the Water: Save the World, Green Feet, and no doubt a whole host of other projects we have not yet noticed.

Mr.Watson is proving emphatically that saving the planet can be a belly-laugh, not a belly-ache.