The BBC is reporting that the Coalition Government is considering not taking a final decision on the replacement of Trident until after the next General Election.
This would save money in the short-term, but not in the long-term, as it will risk losing the skills of engineers who might lose their jobs if there is no work for them, and will increase the costs of repairing existing Vanguard submarines which will have to last for longer. If the decision is ultimately not to proceed, substantial costs will still be incurred between now and 2015 and these will be wasted.
One of the key reasons for the delay is, according to the BBC:
“Delaying any decision beyond 2015 would also mean avoiding a political row in the run-up to the next general election. While the Conservatives strongly support Trident renewal, the Liberal Democrats do not and it remains one of the few disagreements left unresolved by the coalition agreement.”
This is pathetic. Either Trident is necessary for the nation’s defence or it is not. If it is, delay will put the country at risk because the Trident submarines may become unusable before the replacement is ready. If you take the view that Trident is a luxury that the UK can no longer afford, then this delay in taking the decision merely costs more money.
It is hardly leadership to dodge a decision like this, just to avoid a row between Coalition partners.
Am I surprised? Well no – I already knew that the Coalition was gutless and unprincipled.