Welsh faith leaders say no to nuclear

The Western Mail is today reporting that a number of faith leaders in Wales are calling on the UK government to scrap the country’s nuclear deterrent altogether.

The Western Mail is today reporting that a number of faith leaders in Wales are calling on the UK government to scrap the country’s nuclear deterrent.

In the week that the UK government published its Trident Alternatives Review, faith leaders have called for the country to get rid of all nuclear weapons on moral, economic and strategic grounds.

Declaring that such weapons damage the ability of the UK to build peace and security elsewhere in the world, Dr Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales, has said:

“Replacing Trident cannot be justified morally, strategically or financially. Morally, we can’t argue for non-proliferation and against possession of nuclear weapons in other countries, such as Iran and North Korea, if we continue to invest in our own.

“As a role model for other countries, I feel it does immense damage to building peace and security in other political and economic contexts.”

He continued:

“Strategically, nuclear capability no longer seems to be an appropriate way of ensuring security or equipping our military forces to function effectively.

“The very existence of nuclear weapons as a defence against an unknown future threat is likely to increase a culture of demand for nuclear weapons across the world rather than reduce it. Financially, at a time when we’re all being called on to tighten our belts and are affected by severe cuts in local government, health and education, I think it would be scandalous to spend £20bn on Trident’s renewal.”

Echoing the Archbishop’s words, Alun Lenny, spokesman for the Union of Welsh Independents – a large network of chapels which has roots dating back to 1639 – said:

“The union has very recently called not for the downgrading of Trident but for the scrapping of the nuclear fleet.

“It’s incredible at a time of great and increasing public expenditure and cutbacks in fields like health and education in particular, that the UK government is seriously thinking about spending [billions] on these weapons of mass destruction, which is what they are.”

Rabbi Dan Cohn-Sherbok, professor Emeritus of Judaism at the University of Wales, went on to argue that it is no longer in the UK’s national interest to possess nuclear weapons and has called for a reassessment in terms of cost-effectiveness, ethics and strategic military planning.

He explained:

“I think the desire to have a strong nuclear deterrent is bound up with a strong feeling Britain must be in the first rank of superpowers. It’s not a good reason to spend billions on a nuclear deterrent that will hopefully never be used and will probably be dismantled.”

The comments will put the leaders on collision course with the Welsh government, following comments by first minister Carwyn Jones in June last year that Wales would welcome the opportunity to host the UK’s nuclear submarine fleet in the event of Scotland voting for independence.

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