Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Carwyn prostitutes Wales to the grim reaper

I thought Carwyn Jones  had much more sense than this. To say I'm disappointed that he's my AM right now is an understatement. This is the first time I've ever been truly embarrassed.

Carwyn said in the Senedd earlier today, quoted from the Western Mail:

"There would be more than a welcome for the UK's submarine fleet, and 6,000 new jobs in Milford Haven."

What exactly does "more than a welcome" mean?

Will we be able to sign the missiles? Pose for photos? Will Katherine Jenkins welcome them coming over the Severn Bridge with an aria? Will Charlotte Church put one up her fanny? Will Andy Powell try to ride one all the way to Vladivostok?

That could be a good spin off for tourism, eh Carwyn? Pembrokeshire National Park - Home to the ultimate defence of the realm (weather permitting). "Where turtle and Trident frolic".

You'll be able see them off from the coastal path, I'm sure. Perhaps you can arrange day trips from Bluestone. When little Billy asks what the big metal thing is for, Carwyn can tell them himself – "Those are yur to incinerate the enemies of the state. 6,000 jobs, see!" *wink*

There's no doubt that Trident moving to Wales would mean jobs. You can certainly argue that the jobs would likely only be to maintain the submarines themselves. However, those submarines don't exist to spread fun and lollipops to the world. Besides, most of the jobs will be transferred. There's simply not enough time to get "6,000" Welsh people up to speed on submarine and nuclear missile technology. At most there's currently around 1,800 jobs directly related to the upkeep of the system where they're based. So not 6,000 "new jobs", simply no "6,000 jobs."

Bit of a fib that, in what's increasingly becoming a long line of fibs on job creation.

One of the arguments against, is that Milford Haven would "become a target" because of this, but there's no need to worry about that with Trident. Why? You can be confident Milford Haven will already be a target for a nuclear strike because of the oil refineries and LNG plant.

One of the many things requiring to be factored in, is that the warheads are usually transported by road or rail. Presumably (after travelling through much of Scotland and England) through Newport, Cardiff, Bridgend, Port Talbot, Swansea, Llanelli, Carmarthen, St Clears, Whitland and Haverfordwest before reaching Milford Haven. Make sure you wave if/when they pass, and thank Carwyn for the bounty we're about to generously receive.

Would he back a toxic waste dump in Wales if it brought a couple of hundred jobs? You've got to presume, based on this, that the answer is a resounding yes. There's a massive crater in Cefn Cribwr that needs filling in, Carwyn. I'm sure a nice big toxic waste dump would be ideal. There's a lot of unemployment in Bridgend, see. I don't know how many jobs would be created. Lets use your powers of understatement and say 20,000.

This is the ultimate version of digging a hole and getting someone to fill it in. It's the ultimate embodiment of the "broken window fallacy". These things will never be used, cost an absolute fortune to maintain and are designed to bring death and destruction to tens of thousands of people in an instant.

It's unconscionable that anyone with an ounce of reason would willingly want these things anywhere near them. I think most politicians would be very, very cautious – probably neutral - even if they support a move to their area. But to say they "welcome" the possibility is extremely odd - unless they think they can loan them for a parade.

They're shaped like massive penes because, if they are used, it would be to rape the corpse of what would be left of human civilisation. Is that what Carwyn would want Wales' role to be come Armageddon? To "stand up" and tell what's left of Russia, China or whoever that the British Bulldog has got plenty of spunk left in the tank.

Wales' last contribution to human history would be to wave off a fleet that would "send a message" to hundreds of thousands of perfectly innocent people, in the final ever game of tit-for-tat diplomacy. Meanwhile, we all die of radiation poisoning, shitting into a bucket behind a door piled with sandbags and cushions. The lucky ones will already be dead. Will there be any union flags left to wave, I wonder?

If he's lucky, Carwyn would probably be in a bunker somewhere, hopefully tortured to madness should the welcome mat be laid out for Trident in Wales. Little Billy is a pile of ash. Bridgend is on fire, Cardiff has been wiped off the map. Everything for several miles around Milford Haven is charred while everything that isn't dead would be soon after. That's what Carwyn "more than welcomed" to Wales today.

It isn't worth 6,000 jobs – or whatever number Carwyn pulled out of the sky. It isn't worth 6million jobs. Yes, we need investment in our ports, but for this!? Seriously!? Is this one of the few ways the Welsh Government can foresee future investment in our most important port?

If you've got good work, or even bad work, Wales is your release. The cheeks are spread apart and we're bent over. Our sphincter is open for business. No need to lube up. Just make sure you give the money to Carwyn, because we don't want to be beaten up again.

It'll be a very sad day, probably the moment I finally take the plunge and emigrate, if Trident moved to Wales. It would be the end of any hope that we could have, or build, something better here, whether we remained part of the union or not.

Instead of Green Investment Bank's, an expansion of co-ops, an expansion of university spin-outs, this is what the Welsh were born to do – the equivalent of a girlfriend hiding her boyfriend's gun.

Don't we deserve better than that?


  1. Unbelievable, I'm genuinely gobsmacked.

    An absolute cornerstone of Welsh Labour policy for decades casually discarded in an afternoon.

    I wonder if he's actually discussed this with anybody else in the Welsh party?

  2. I was as gobsmacked myself. To be so flippant about something like this beggars belief. There obviously isn't any concrete proposal here, but it's a worrying insight into thinking in Cathays Park, Welsh Labour, or simply Carwyn himself, if Wales is about to take a "jobs at any cost" approach.

    I can forgive the occasional "brain fart", but not this.

  3. Carwyn Jones and the entire Labour machine in Wales make me sick. They are sham socialist deceivers with a dearth of ambition for our country. If only the Welsh people could wake up and stop following their lead. The thing is, this kind of genuinely shocking statement by those in charge does not surprise me. These are the same people who believe that our best option is to continue with the status quo and the UK under the same system that has nigh on destroyed our native language, culture and resources. After being wiped off the map metaphorically for so long, now the plan is for a proper job to be done to us by making us target no 1 in any nuclear attack. Sickeningly, most people in Wales will probably just accept this as being 'progress' without thinking about the impact. I don't know whether I'm more annoyed by the lack of ambition shown by our politicians or the extent to which the majority of the Welsh nation will go along with it. We have one hell of an inferiority complex.

  4. Of course it could be a stupid off the cuff remark designed to annoy nationalist.... if that is the case our First Minister has an infantile streak and should be removed and replaced with a serious politician. What happened to Nuclear Free Wales?

  5. It seems to me that you have run together four related but distinct issues and emerged with entertaining polemic but not great argument. The first - and I mention it first because it underpins most of your rhetoric (e.g "rape the corpses of what would be left of human civilisation") - is that nuclear war is bad. There isn't a sane person on this planet who would take issue with that, so we can move on quickly enough.

    Secondly is the issue of whether nuclear weapons per se are bad. That's a lot more finely balanced since there is at the very least a plausible argument that their existence and non-use averted major conventional war in the second half of the 20th century. You say "It's unconscionable that anyone with an ounce of reason would willingly want these things anywhere near them" yet given that the alternative for many years appeared to be actual, full-blown war near or on top of them, very many people did want nuclear weapons nearby. None of this is a slam dunk: we can only speculate on a a post war world without nukes, but I think outright condemnation of the maintenance of a nuclear arsenal at the very least deserves a more nuanced appraisal than you appear willing to countenance. Lest anyone accuse me of being a cold war doctrinaire I should add that I say all of the above as a supporter of the Global Zero initiative.

    The third point is around Wales's contribution to nuclear disarmament and the extent to which giving succour to the UK's nuclear arsenal in any way diverts from that. Fair enough. If the policy objective is nuclear disarmament, a principled stand against housing the weapons in Wales is consistent (and indeed the only honourable position). But there are two qualifiers. First, it's not clear that the policy objective is disarmament - at least not unilaterally. Personally, I support the gradual negotiation away of the UK's nuclear arsenal, but that doesn't mean I think we should accelerate the process unilaterally by the Welsh Government depriving them of a possible home. Secondly (and assuming other potential homes exist in England) such a stance won't make any difference to the UK's stock of nukes. A stand will have been made, but without practical consequence.

    The final issue is about the FM's choice of words and stats. You subject this to much textual analysis - more so perhaps that a single comment can really bear. The gist it seems to me is not that he would be "happy" (as in gamboling-through-a-meadow happy) to have the most powerful weapons of mass destruction on his doorstep, but that he would be prepared to accept them given the potential for additional economic activity. So why not say that? A good point. Perhaps because people talk in shorthand and get slightly careless. Let's not get hung up on it. It doesn’t make him Dr Strangelove.

    And that is perhaps what makes your post (to me at least) unconvincing. Moving the UK’s nuclear arsenal to Wales will not make nuclear war and more or less likely than it is at present. It won’t even (as you point out) place Wales at other than marginally greater risk. All it will do will mean that the weapons that are currently kept in part of Wales’s protection are actually housed in Wales. For the time being at the very least, nothing can stop the UK keeping nukes in such a cause. The only question, therefore is the rather mundane one of where they actually are.

  6. Thanks for the detailed response, Adam.

    I was hoping someone would present a rational argument "in support" of Carwyn's comment. Yes, this was deliberately OTT, perhaps tongue-in-cheek as well, and yes I had fun writing it - but the underlying "serious" parts remain, and you picked up on them.

    I subscribe to the view than nuclear weapons have "kept the peace" (in most of Eurasia and North America at least). It's not the "Ruskies" or trigger-happy US Presidents I'm worried about - at least they're tempered. It's those places pursuing nuclear weapons that aren't tempered, are paranoid, and backed into a corner geopolitically. Like it or not, this is probably the result of proliferation during the Cold War and, although they are likely pursuing them as a "deterrent" too, they might be much more willing to use them should push come to shove. It's a bit like : "The answer to increased gun crime being more guns."

    Also, the most likely use of nuclear weapons in the present IMHO would be some sort of radiological "dirty bomb", smuggled in the back of a van. No Trident missiles or nuclear subs could protect the UK from that threat. A single one could be just as destructive as an ICMB. In fact it would probably be worse : it would leave so many survivors and so many scarred memories, there would be widespread paranoia, rumours about others, lynchings, an economic catastrophe (if used somewhere like The City), a health timebomb....And that's just one.

    Viewing the weapons as a deterrent is legitimate, but at heart, although they would certainly be used to destroy military targets first, they were also designed to destroy infrastructure and cities, being used against civilians who have nothing to do with the decisions made by people in bunkers. That's morally repugnant to me. A tank, more often than not, is used against other military equipment (and yes there are civilians caught up in that too). Soldiers are, supposed to be, equipped to fight other soldiers. Nuclear weapons?

    It's all well and good supporting the "deterrent", but I don't think anyone can without, logically, supporting their use should the time come. Ultimately that use likely being "revenge" against an equally-destructive counter-attack. Now that's not to say they don't have their other uses - deflecting extra-terrestrial threats like wayward satellites or meteors for example - but I'm sure that decision should be multilateral/global, and taken out of the hands of individual "Nuclear Powers".

    I doubt any "decision" the WG makes regarding any future base would be the primary factor anyway. The issue is very clearly non-devolved, though the WG will be able to "have their say". As you have said, I don't think it would, in any way shape or form, be able to "accelerate" disarmament either. If the UK wishes to retain nuclear weapons, they are going to.

  7. PART II:

    My issue with Carwyn isn't that he was happy, or a "Dr Strangelove". He's a decent bloke and pretty decent AM for Bridgend. It's his flippancy towards this, very serious issue. I have very few "bezerk buttons" but nuclear weapons in Wales is one of them. I described it in another comment as a "brain fart" and that's what I believe it was. He did say "more" than a welcome - "gratefully accepted", "delighted to have X here".

    You could certainly deduce this was some Freudian slip ("gamboling-through-a-meadow"). That's more fun, but obviously I don't really believe that. He pulled figures on job creation out of the sky (not for the first time - Marketspace in Cardiff) and made a seemingly unilateral decision to "welcome" nuclear subs to Milford Haven in the future on the spot. For somebody in his position, he should've been more measured and cautious.

    I said that maybe only the submarines themselves would be serviced at Milford Haven, and the economic impact is worthy of further investigation, but if something is "moved" it doesn't necessarily mean there would be a economic boost. Carwyn could also be giving false hope of some sort of economic bonanza in Pembrokeshire. Also, the facilities would need to be upgraded - probably with significant UK Government investment which could be better spent elsewhere in Wales in my opinion - and, as I said the warheads (if they aren't put in elsewhere) would need to be transported, usually by road or rail, through Wales. Symbolically, that would be offensive to me.

    I think Carwyn, and the rest of us, have jumped the gun. I imagine Devonport would be a more likely location as they already have extensive naval/submarine facilities, but it does make you wonder why places like Faslane and Milford Haven are chosen in the first place. It's still a target, but it's not as if they are going to consider basing them in the Thames Estuary (which would actually make more sense as prevailing winds would take any fallout from an attack over the North Sea), when London is just as much a target as Milford Haven. Faslane is probably now a target exclusively because it's a base. Maybe I'm neglecting that in an all-out attack, there wouldn't be much left of a United Kingdom to argue about where's the least affected anyway.

    Are these for "Wales'" protection, or the "United Kingdom's"? At the risk of repeating what you and I both said, places like Cardiff, Milford Haven and presumably places like Port Talbot would be targets. However, take Wales out of the UK and we are about as strategically important as New Zealand or Ireland are. Is Wales a nuclear target because we are a part of the UK, which maintains itself as a "global nuclear power"? Is Scotland? Why would Wales become more needing of protection if it isn't part of the UK? Are the "UK's" defence needs automatically the same as "Wales'"? If not, why is it "good" for Wales?

  8. I agree with you about Nuclear and trident,but did you have to use such obscene words and images?

  9. No, and I apologise if I offended you Marion (or anyone else). Nuclear weapons are an obsenity to me personally though, and sometimes when you want to make a point that means using more gutteral language.

  10. I think the way he said "more than a welcome in Wales" just made us sound desperate and lacking in ambition, and psychologically it mixed with the fact that this would be something that was being kicked out of one Celtic country and welcomed as crumbs by another.