The title refers to the doomsday words of a British Trident submarine operator reporting the release of its first nuclear weapon, as revealed on BBC Radio 4 earlier today. In the absence of the cold war it is easy to forget that as I write this a British submarine is out in the Atlantic with weaponry on board that is more powerful than all the explosives used in world war 2 put together.
For me the programme was topical in a sense, as I was reminded recently that opposition to nuclear weapons was probably the single thing which tipped me into joining the Green Party in the early 80s. The reminder was last Friday when I met up with the group of people who were the backbone of Stockport Green Party (which is where I joined) in those days. It was the first time I had seen them in over 20 years! - so it was a really nostalgic evening.
In those days of course we Greens were competing with the Labour Party for the anti-nuclear weapons vote. Manchester's Labour council proudly proclaimed a 'Nuclear Free City', and indeed started a movement of Nuclear free Cities (we like to be first to do anything in Manchester). How times change, now Labour seem to regard genocide as legitimate, even to the point of committing billions of pounds to Trident replacement. And what are our local 'Nuclear Free City' Labour MPs and councillors doing to fight it??
TiF Bid Referendum - last few days:
Only a few days to go now on the referendum on the topic which has dominated Manchester politics for the past few months, namely the bid for £3 billion in transport funding, or 'the vote on the congestion charge' as the media, and its opponents always call it. I have commented on it before of course, and recently have hardened my 'Yes' position. This is not because I see the proposals as any less flawed than before, but because defeat will be interpreted as a victory for the motoring lobby, and will undermine any other (probably better) schemes around the country (and beyond) for years to come.
In addition, while I have been unimpressed by much of the 'Yes' campaign, the disingenuity of the 'No' campaign has been remarkable. To listen to them one would imagine that everyone will be paying a £1200 tax from December 12 onwards (including the large number of Mancunians without access to a car!). To get the facts straight, this is what you would need to do to achieve payment of £1200 in one year:
- wait until 2013, and fail to find any alternative travel plans in those five years.
- drive the worst possible combination of journeys at the worst possible times every working day, except for a few days annual holiday.
- never share your car with another car-user to spread the cost (both financial and environmental).