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Wed 20 Feb 2019 @ 13:48
@tallandrew @ShervingtonD @frsimoncuff @ElaineGraham2 Lots of updated examples, new introduction, and bibliographies brought up to date
Author(s): Brian Wicker
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Britain's Bomb: What Next? is a book for every Christian concerned about the actions of the current government in relation to the future defence of the country.
The decision of whether or not to replace Trident, the nuclear weapon system created in the cold war era, has to be taken before the next general election. Currently the Labour government look likely to support replacing the nuclear capacity of the UK, despite the prime minister's own acknowledged religious beliefs, and the many formidable reasons against such a decision.
These are not only political questions, but strategic and ethical questions too. There is no timetable in place from the current government to table the debate and campaigners and lobbyists fear the decision will be made "internally" and will be quietly passed through.
A public debate around the issues needs to begin now.This book presents advice and opinion from experts across a range of different disciplines on the question of the future of Britain's nuclear weapons.
Mr. Brian Wicker, is Chair of the Council on Christian Approaches to Defence and Disarmament. He holds Master's degrees in English Literature, Philosophy and War Studies, and was Principal of Fircroft College of Adult Education in Birmingham, 1980-88. He has been in opposition to nuclear weapons for nearly fifty years, and has contributed to several CCADD books dealing with just war and related topics.
Britain's bomb: what next?
What motivated you to Edit Britain's Bomb: What next?
We wanted to put all sides of the debate between two covers. CCADD is not
itself taking sides, but is concerned to put the whole issue into a Christian
How important do you feel it is that these issues be brought to the
Extremely important, since if Britain could bring itself to abandon its
current nuclear stance this could eventually lead to the implementation by the
other nuclear states of their long-forgotten promises, made in Article 6 of the
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to negotiate away their nuclear arsenals.
What made you choose the essays included in the book?
We invited various members of CCADD to contribute, but also wanted others who
are not CCADD members, but who are known to have views on the subject, to
provide a balanced mix of opinions.
Did you feel it important to allow both sides of the argument to be
My first answer covers this. CCADD has always been committed to making public
Christian views for and against any particular policy options.
Do you think the coverage given to Britain's nuclear interests has been
played down due to the international unrest surrounding nuclear weapons and
I'm not sure about this. Our nuclear arsenal is fairly small, by comparison
with many others', but it is crucial since we were one of the earliest
How do you respond to statements like 'nuclear weapons have kept the
peace since world war 2'?
My personal view is that nuclear deterrence has probably helped to stop the
major powers from going to 'hot war' in the late 20th century, but the matter
cannot be proved either way. However it has done so only by exporting hot war by
proxy to other parts of the globe instead. Furthermore it has done so at an
intolerable moral cost: namely by being willing intentionally to kill the
innocent as a means to its end - a proposition which is absolutely forbidden by
the Church (or at least by the Catholic Church to which I belong)
What are the main UK churches position on the issue? Has this changed
The teaching of the Catholic Church has become more and more hostile to
nuclear weapons since the end of the cold war. It is now clear that the Holy See
insists on global nuclear disarmament to the point of elimination. National
conferences of Catholic bishops in countries which possess nuclear weapons tend
to be slightly more permissive: but if so I think they are liable to be at odds
with the Holy See on this matter. The stand taken by the Scottish bishops is
therefore all the more significant. Other churches are less consistent, in that
they lack the mechanism for a clear unified teaching: but many of them are now
taking a position close to that of the Holy See. If there has been a shift of
view, this is not due to Trident itself, but rather to the collapse of the cold
war and the practice of nuclear deterrence associated with it.
Do you feel Trident replacement is a 'done deal' for the government or
will they genuinely listen to opposition?
It may well be a 'done deal', and I doubt if the Blair government will listen
to the reasoned ethical case against nuclear weapons. They are too tied-in to
Bush's ideology to go against the Bush line on this issue. Even so, influential
British voices, including one former Secretary of State for Defence (Michael
Portillo) has spoken against replacing Trident, so there is a good case for
continuing the campaign. But this book is not part of that campaign: it simply
presents, as powerfully as possible, the various arguments on both sides of the
public debate which Blair says he wants to see take place.