IT was striking to note the utterly bizarre ceremony at Westminster Abbey last week in celebration of 50 years of submarine nuclear weaponry.

These submarines are nuclear weapon submarines, their crews trained to obey orders to fire missiles whose warheads will bring destruction to faraway places and people far beyond the scale of Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

If nuclear weapons were supposed to be a deterrent to keep the peace, this has undoubtedly failed as the list of post-1945 wars runs to several pages and the global military budget is nearly $2 trillion.

In 1968 the UK signed up to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and promised in “good faith” to work for the elimination of all nuclear weapons. Yet almost 50 years later we are now spending more than £200bn on yet another nuclear weapons system (also entirely dependent on a regular loan of US missiles) to replace Trident.

With poverty levels rising and around one in four children living in poverty, it is time to start spending our billions not on weapons of mass murder but on our NHS, pensions, welfare and real peace-making initiatives, here and abroad.

There is now a UN treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons just waiting for more signatory states to give it the force of law. Britain should sign it and lead the world towards a nuclear-free future.

In these dangerous times, when the threat of nuclear war is growing rather than receding, a thanksgiving service at Westminster Abbey for the so-called nuclear “deterrent” is the last thing we needed.

Alex Orr


ON Friday I saw the most nauseating charade I have ever witnessed over many long years campaigning, when the great and the good assembled in all their finery in Westminster Abbey to thank God for 50 years of continuous at sea “deterrence”.

They expressed their heartfelt gratitude that for half a century in his loving kindness he has given us the ability to slaughter millions of his children, our brothers and sisters, and granted us the power to enact instant global extinction – in effect, to undo his work of Genesis.

This sickening pantomime demonstrated the glorious triumph of practical paganism. The priests assembled will fulfill their traditional pagan role of convincing the people that their rulers act on behalf of the Gods, and so must be obeyed. And this blasphemous pantomime will be done in the name of Jesus, who said: “Love your enemies; do good to them that hate you; and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you”. His revolutionary non-violence will once again buried in a shroud of sanctimonious platitudes and religious mumbo-jumbo. Orwellian god-speak replaces speaking the truth.

Nauseating though it was, the farce at Westminster Abbey is in fact normal. Allow me to recall the words used at the launch of the first Polaris submarine “Resolution” (these were given to me by the redoubtable Bruce Kent): “Go forth into the world in peace; be of good courage; hold fast that which is good; render no man evil for evil; strength the faint-hearted; support he weak; help the afflicted; honour all men; love and serve the Lord, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit”. Beat that! Reality has overtaken satire, but the laughter has died on our lips.

The Scottish Churches criticised this celebration claiming it was “in appropriate”. How underwhelming! Why not blasphemous, sacrilegious, sinful, or plain wrong?

Deterrence is a sin crying to heaven for vengeance. We should be begging God’s forgiveness for our present wickedness, not celebrating our hubris. The order of the day should be sackcloth and ashes, not pomp and circumstance.

Brian Quail


WHEN I heard of the service celebrating 50 years of nuclear capability, it immediately brought to mind a piece of music equally celebrated in England – Land of Hope and Glory!

I have often wondered recently who, in this disintegrating country, has any “hope” left for the future. While our chaotic government, attempting to mend an irreparably split party, is shooting itself in the foot, throwing away one of its major assets, antagonising everyone, breeding hatred and even violence, blinkered and deaf to everything else, where on earth is the “glory” in becoming a worldwide laughing stock?

“Wider still and wider may thy bounds be set” What utter tosh! The whole objective of Brexit is to cut the ties with our 27 European friends and the dozens of countries around the world with whom they have helped us form bonds of friendship and trade. They really believe that abandoning our current friends and partners will somehow expand our reach and make the rest of the world rush to be our friends.

The most sickening part is “God who made thee mighty” etc. Now these fantasists praise God for helping them to maintain for 50 years the weaponry capable of destroying whole nations and even the entire planet! No matter what religion, or none, one believes in, does anyone really believe that any God is delighted that the UK has this power? Do these people truly believe that, when the rest of the world is trying to get rid of these weapons of mass destruction, God has deliberately made it possible for the UK to retain them? Was it “thank you, God, for making us able to wipe the planet clear of humanity”?

Delusion, hypocrisy, exceptionalism – no words really exist to describe these sentiments and attitudes, except perhaps total insanity. How can anyone sing this song again with pride and a clear conscience?

L McGregor