This month we thought it was high time we popped in for a chat with Hall Green’s MP: the only MP in Birmingham to oppose the renewal of Trident in 2016. Mr Godsiff has consistently voted against Trident in the House of Commons and has spoken out against the renewal of Trident on many occasions
We caught up with him at the end of a busy morning’s MP Surgery at the Sparkbrook Health and Community Centre.
Roger Godsiff’s View on Nuclear Weapons and War
What did he think about Jeremy Corbyn’s opposition to Trident? Mr Godsiff stressed that he felt Corbyn’s opposition was more from a moral stance, whereas he preferred to focus on the practical reasons for opposing Trident. There is the cost factor, but he believes that Trident is simply an irrelevancy in the post-cold war period. There was a time before the Berlin Wall came down and the Warsaw Pact was still in operation when it may have made sense to have an expensive nuclear weapons programme. Now that time is passed. There is no longer a serious nuclear threat but instead we are left with nuclear weapons which are hugely expensive to us to build and maintain. Moreover these ‘British’ weapons only make up a fraction of the power of the American fleet of submarines and ‘our’ weapons are not independent, but continually serviced by the U.S. We agree that this is an important point. See the link here for more information about Trident and the US connection
A supporter of NATO, he believes that NATO should invest in non-nuclear weapons and also that as a country we should be spending more on properly protecting and equipping the soldiers we send abroad to fight in conventional wars. Often, he said, protective clothing, for example is inadequate.
Another danger Mr Godsiff pointed out is that a nuclear weapon is not, these days, extremely difficult to manufacture by people who really put their minds to it. If the material is there it is also potentially available to terrorists.
Should we nuke Small Heath?
The real threats these days, Mr Godiff said, cannot be addressed by nuclear weapons. For example when he was MP for Small Heath there was a huge police operation because it turned out that one house contained a suicide-bomber who had strapped explosives to himself. How do you deal with a threat like that, he asked? Do you nuke Small Heath? The answer is of course not! Nothing is more ridiculously inappropriate. Yet this is the real kind of threat this country is far more likely to face this days. It is frightening, but we don’t need nuclear bombs: – one war head kills about a million and spreads radioactive material for a huge distance around – to address this kind of problem.
We also asked Mr Godsiff whether he might be interested in taking part in a local formal debate to discuss the renewal of Trident. He said that, subject to date, obviously, he would be happy to take part. So: watch this space.