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for government that is prevalent in more than just the agriculture domain. The same frustrations appear perennially across Whitehall but there is no cross-government remedial action plan. In the absence of avenues for a genuinely open, influential debate on nuclear policy, it is striking that, as far as I can establish, no British prime minister has ever made a major speech on nuclear deterrence outside Parliamentary debate. Every French president since De Gaulle has made a keynote speech on ‘their’ nuclear deterrence policy

in Supreme emergency
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How Britain lives with the Bomb
Author: Andrew Corbett

An ex-Trident submarine captain considers the evolution of UK nuclear deterrence policy and the implications of a previously unacknowledged, enduring aversion to military strategies that threaten civilian casualties. This book draws on extensive archival research to provide a uniquely concise synthesis of factors affecting British nuclear policy decision-making, and draws parallels between government debates about reprisals for First World War Zeppelin raids on London, the strategic bombing raids of the Second World War and the development of the nuclear deterrent to continuous at-sea deterrence, through the end of the Cold War and the announcement of the Dreadnought programme. It develops the idea that, in a supreme emergency, a breach of otherwise inviolable moral rules might be excused, but never justified, in order to prevent a greater moral catastrophe; and it explores the related ethical concept of dirty hands – when a moral actor faces a choice between two inevitable actions, mutually exclusive but both reprehensible. It concludes that, amongst all the technical factors, government aversion to be seen to condone civilian casualties has inhibited government engagement with the public on deterrence strategy since 1915 and, uniquely among nuclear weapon states, successive British governments have been coy about discussing nuclear deterrence policy publicly because they feared to expose the complexity of the moral reasoning behind the policy, a reticence exacerbated by the tendency of policy and media investigation to be reduced to simplistic soundbites.

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Dirty hands and the supreme emergency

I have argued that there has been a sustained reluctance amongst British governments to engage in public dialogue on strategic nuclear deterrence policy. Some of the factors in the decision-making process for that policy have their roots in the arguments about reprisals for air raid attacks during the First World War. That experience and similar factors were significant for decision-making on strategy and public presentation of strategy during the bombing campaign of the Second Word War. Strategic factors such as

in Supreme emergency

Mrs Thatcher’s government was elected in May 1979 with a manifesto pledge to make significant increases in the level of defence spending: During the past five years the military threat to the West has grown steadily as the Communist bloc has established virtual parity in strategic nuclear weapons and a substantial superiority in conventional weapons … The SALT [Strategic Arms Limitations Talks] discussions increase the importance of ensuring the continuing effectiveness of

in Supreme emergency

If the early leaders of Britain’s nuclear enterprise learned anything from the experience of the Second World War, it was that ‘total’ war could threaten the whole fabric of the state and society. The previous chapter suggests that the importance of maintaining a plausible position of moral authority was considered critical in keeping public morale engaged in the war effort, even if the enemy engaged in immoral attacks on the British population. This moral authority was directly linked to the strategies to be used

in Supreme emergency
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An insider’s view

I am not an ethicist, but I have given a great deal of thought to the morality of the use of force and, in particular, the concept of nuclear deterrence. I have served in Polaris and Trident ballistic-missile submarines (ship – submersible, ballistic, nuclear or SSBN) on and off since 1986, including command of two Vanguard Class submarines, HMS Vengeance and HMS Vanguard , between 2003 and 2007. I therefore have had ample opportunity, and motivation, to reconcile the full potential of my personal

in Supreme emergency

The fate of The War Game , a radical film about the effects of nuclear weapons, provides a clear illustration of the ambiguity of government engagement with the public on nuclear deterrence policy in the context of the height of the Cold War and puts into context the inquiry that the rest of this book seeks to address. In May 1965, a fictional BBC television documentary-drama depicting the possible aftermath of a nuclear attack on Britain was completed and the initial draft shown to the Controller of BBC2

in Supreme emergency

In 2016, while making the case for the retention of the UK’s independent nuclear deterrent, Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon asked ‘how would the United States or France respond if we suddenly announced that we were abandoning our nuclear capabilities yet will still expect them to pick up the tab and to put their cities at risk to protect us in a nuclear crisis?’ 1 Ethically, and to a great extent strategically, his question poses significant issues. Chapter three concluded that Churchill

in Supreme emergency
New youth activism
Ljubica Spaskovska

common in Western European democracies would be a very good start … we lack  125 ‘The phantom of liberty’ a democratic tradition and popularly shared memories of a strong and independent civil society. Issue-​oriented campaigns –​involving women, opponents of nuclear power, gays, pacifists and others –​are crucial for filling this gap, and for producing a democratic culture in Yugoslavia.4 This chapter addresses how new areas for political expression opened up around issues of peace, anti-​militarism, environmentalism, nuclear disarmament and sexuality and how the

in The last Yugoslav generation
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Kate Middleton, ‘middle-classness’ and family values
Laura Clancy

maintain its monarchical mystique. 2 Although ‘the Cambridge family photo album’ connotes intimacy, these photographs, as with every official monarchical press release, are precisely choreographed to foreground particular meaning. In comparison to portraiture of historical monarchies depicting royal children as inheritors of political dynasty, 3 these photographs present the Cambridges as a nuclear

in Running the Family Firm