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British nuclear armed submarine.  Maybe

Wikileaks have hit a sore point with the British if the latest reports in the “Daily Telegraph” and the “Daily Mail” are to be believed.

We are being told that the Americans are using details of British nuclear secrets as a “bargaining chip” in their negotiations with the Russians in the ongoing talks about the START treaty.

And, of course, they are doing this without the British having agreed, and they the British are, once again, being seen as publicly undermined by their ally.

The Treaty was never meant to involve the British, or details of their nuclear deterrent which have always been a bit of a touchy point with various British governments over the years.  The idea having been that by kidding on about the number of warheads they may or may not have, and how many of them might be out at sea at any time the British fudge the size of their actual nuclear arsenal.  And therefore by extension how important they might really be.

When the Americans wanted to disclose these details in order to sweeten the deal, the British refused to let them.

So it’s really, really embarrassing for ones “partner” to just to go ahead anyway.  The US have, it seems, given the Russians the serial numbers of “British” weapons.

Now, Nuclear warheads are a touchy subject at the best of times in British politics.  First they are hugely expensive and the British are broke.  Second the British buy them from a foreign supplier so don’t get the jobs, and the clever maintenance is also foreign and um, the control is foreign.  There is not a lot here for the British it seems.

And now it is like having one’s tradesman revealing to the neighbours that the bathroom fittings we have just paid him for are not the gold plated top of the range stuff we were kidding on, but just a load of bog standard tat we got from “Discount Bathrooms R Us”.

Not that we can actually blame Obama entirely for this, tempting as that might be.  It was ever thus.  Those with long memories might remember the row way back in the eighties when Ronnie Reagan sold us Polaris but retained that infamous “second key” which meant that we could not actually fire the bloody things without permission from the Americans.  So much for “independent” deterrence.

Yes mam, there are two keys, and we have them both..

The cartoon is by Baird from those far off halcyon days at “The Scotsman” newspaper.

Copyright David Macadam 2011.