Supporters of nuclear weapons systems like Trident generally justify the cash by saying things like ‘dangerous world, Kim Jong Il and Ahmadinejad very bad men, we can’t just disarm’. Or, more cynically, ‘place on world table, we can’t just disarm’.
I’m not totally sold on this argument – after all, the US will continue to have nuclear weapons for as long as it has a military-industrial complex [*] – and anyone who we can’t defeat with our conventional forces is realistically also going to be a strategic threat to the Yanks, no matter how annoyed they might be with our lack of military spending. And ‘place on world table’ is awesome for a few hundred diplomats and politicians whilst making c.sod all difference to anyone else.
But let’s say it’s true: we need nuclear weapons to deal with global security threats and enhance our prestige. Fine – but I don’t think I’ve seen any coherent argument for why we need to spend £60-80bn on Trident, rather than achieving all the ‘potential for revenge’ and ‘woo, we’re a nucular state’ through a lower-tech programme like India’s – which would cost somewhere between 10% and 25% as much.
That would still give us ballistic and cruise missiles capable of obliterating anyone except for the US and Russia – who we wouldn’t be able to obliterate with Trident either, even if we wanted to (not least because most operational aspects of Trident are controlled by the US). Which ought to be enough, oughtn’t it?
Anything I’m missing…?
[*] which we don’t to quite the same extent.
Following this research into GE-made Airbus engines cutting out in ice, he say:
So far as the GE-powered AF 447 is concerned, the potential woes go on mounting:
* Dodgy AF training for weather
* Failure to change course for weather
* Sensors buggered by extreme temperature and/or turbulence
* Avionics gave up – handed control to pilots
* Who were probably asleep when the woes started
* And probably were only two junior officers (captain on rest break)
* Engines vulnerable to flame-out
* Plane previously damaged
* etc., etc.,
I’m continuing to avoid AF.
I also note that the French authorities leading the search failed – despite having a nuclear submarine easily capable of deep-water searches – to find the black boxes that would have shown whether the crash was the fault of the French national airline, the French national aircraft manufacturer, or something mysterious and improbably neither-of-the-above. This is my ‘shocked’ face.
Update: Air France has great deals in international flights right now. See also: hotels in Xinjiang, greased-pig-racing weekends, Labour prospective candidatures, etc.
A lot of moaning about corporation tax in leftie-blogland today, for no particularly discernible reason. How about this as a ‘no big corporation tax dodging’ principle to adopt at G8:
* All countries adopt the current UK system of charging the parent company tax at the national rate for its home country, with all tax paid abroad offset up to the national rate for its home country
* Only companies that agree to adopt the practice above, and to nominate a registered country as their home country, are allowed to list on regulated stock exchanges
* G8 ministers decide which countries count as ‘registered’, based on principles such as ‘don’t take the piss’, ‘aren’t Ireland’, etc.
Over at Bystander’s, some sanctimonious caants are talking a load of sanctimonious cant about one of the financial services community’s finer comedians, Bernie Madoff, and why he’s a Very Bad Man Indeed.
They pointed me to this document, which is absolutely superb – the self-pitying ramblings of people who, having grown used to receiving copious quantities of pretend money-for-nothing, now believe their lives are ruined because they have to live off their employee pensions.
My comment there was:
Some people who were super-rich are now rich; some people who were rich are now on the same level as everyone else. And all of them were *utterly, unimaginably stupid* to entrust their money to someone like Madoff. Their whiny sense of entitlement doesn’t exactly contribute to one’s sympathy for them, either. “Oh noes, I’m no longer a gazillionaire, instead I just have to live on my pension like every other bloody pensioner…”
For those who’re wondering ‘what happened to the money’, there never was any – he paid out the $60bn that he received as fake profits to his investors. In other words, he took $60bn from gullible shmucks, and paid it out mostly to the same gullible shmucks. That’s why ‘harmless redistribution’ above – the scheme’s only impact was to reward early investors at the expense of latecomers, like all Ponzi schemes.
…and if I were a US taxpayer, I’d be marching in the streets against the greedy morons getting a penny of my money in compo.
…and I stand by every word. I simply don’t understand tough sentencing for financial crimes, given that money simply doesn’t matter that much, and nearly everyone who loses out in a financial scam thoroughly deserves to do so.
This Spectator piece brings a couple of conjectures to mind:
1) Anyone who uses the phrase ‘pie in the sky’ is an idiot who should be ignored.
2) Anyone who believes absolute national debt, rather than national debt as a proportion of GDP, is a figure with any relevance to anything is an idiot who should be ignored.
These conjectures, happily, tie up with an existing known fact: that Fraser Nelson is an idiot who should be ignored.
Read a selection of grumpy middle-aged Tories and Libertoonians slate 18-year-old kids for being pompously grumpy about getting a stupid question in their History A-level.
CHILD PSYCHOLOGY NEWSFLASH: bright kids are often pompously grumpy, and are usually far too worried about exams.
…however, the concept of right-wing bloggers being upset by grumpy pomposity is leaning towards ‘white males are the most oppressed group’ levels of un-self-aware lunacy… oh, wait, most right-wing bloggers believe that too.
At least the kids will mostly grow out of it.