Friday, 24 September 2010

Hidden decisions

The Lib Dems are seeking to hide their acquiescence in the Trident replacement programme behind a suggestion that the 'final decision', which is currently due in late 2014 or early 2015, may be delayed until after the next General Election in May 2015.

It's a nice try, but it'e believable only to those who want to believe it. Delaying a decision isn't the same as delaying the programme; work on the replacement programme is following a schedule agreed by the previous government, and includes design and pre-contract activity. The 'in principle' decision to replace has already been taken, and the government is spending our money on progressing the scheme on the basis of that decision.

The fact that there's no major 'decision point' in the programme between now and 2015 doesn't mean that no work - or expenditure - is taking place. And neither does it mean that a decision to halt the programme could not be taken now.

The absence of any decision to halt the programme is effectively a decision to continue with it. In this case, not saying 'no' is the same as saying 'yes'. The Lib Dems in government, like their Conservative colleagues - and their Labour predecessors - are party to the continuation of the programme. They should stop trying to pretend otherwise.

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