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Monday, 15 July 2013 00:00

A one-sided 'relationship'

George W Bush's UN ambassador John Bolton was wheeled out by Sky News at the weekend to issue dark threats about the future of the "special relationship" if Britain ever scrapped its nuclear weapons.

While Bolton now goes under the label "ex-diplomat," there is little doubt that his message largely reflects the thinking of his former paymasters.

For many Morning Star readers the thought that axing Britain's weapons of mass destruction, which could never be deployed without US permission, would move us towards an independent foreign policy may be enough for them to warm to the idea.

So why might the US be keen to emphasise the "special relationship" in this case?

Effectively Britain acts as a joint development partner in nuclear weapons, helping to subsidise the overall cost to the Pentagon.

Most of the development costs for Trident replacement will be splashed out on nuclear facilities and production in the US, from whom the missiles are hired.

But we also act as a spy centre for US electronic communications. Five of its bases, including the nerve centres of "RAF" Croughton and "RAF" Menwith Hill remain on British soil.

We offer a useful stepping stone to the US into the European Union market, giving a platform for its big corporations and billions in financial interests.

That's why the US issued a public warning when David Cameron seemed to express doubts about Britain's continued EU membership, effectively giving him the support he needed to quieten down his own back benches.

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It is clear that the US sees Britain, like the chief bully of a gang, as a useful henchman.

The facts about Trident replacement are also clear.

Most of the British workers who will benefit, around 7,000, are in the ship-building industry.

It would cost a fraction of Trident's £100 billion price tag to provide alternative work if the government had the will - either for other ships or within the alternative energy sector in wind and tidal technology projects. That's about it.

A decision to scrap Trident would no doubt be deeply unpopular within the US establishment, but Washington is hardly going to slash all ties when there's billions in profits to be extracted by keeping them.

In any case, in an era of growing cuts and misery for millions, let alone the moral bankruptcy of maintaining WMD, leaving a few disgruntled US politicians and military brass is a cheap price to end Britain's involvement.

Much more so than the £100bn it will cost to retain a ridiculous relic from the cold war era.

Cuts cost lives

The death of Manchester firefighter Stephen Hunt is a tragic reminder of the selfless work done every day by members of our emergency services, and in particular the Fire Service.

Ministers should hang their heads in shame that instead of respecting and honouring those who give so much to keep us all safe, they are attacking their pensions and mounting a war on jobs that will put members of the public, as well as firefighters themselves, at increasing risk.

Fire, like health, is not a matter that can be left to the managerial bean counters.

Quite simply, when it comes to such vital services, cuts cost lives.

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