Britain’s current nuclear deterrent, the Trident system, is nearing the end of its lifespan and the govermment will soon have to decide how, and if, to replace it. Greenpeace has today published a new MORI poll, which shows the public are ambivalent at best about whether Britain should replace Trident.

Asked a straight question on whether or not Britain should develop a replacement for Trident 44% think we should, 46% think we shouldn’t. When, using a split sample, the sheer cost of developing a new nuclear system was included in the question (an estimate of £25 billion – a figure that seems to be around the top end of the price scale when it comes to alternatives to Trident) support fell to 33%, with 54% opposed.

MORI then asked people when they thought it appropriate to actually use nuclear weapons. The public were overwhelmingly against using nuclear weapons against countries that do not have nuclear weapons (5% support with 87% against), or who have nuclear weapons but are not using them (11% support with 77% against). Even if Britain were to come under nuclear attack itself, only 55% would support using nuclear weapons in response. This question used identical wording to a Gallup poll back in 1955, and showed a significant fall in support for the use of nuclear weaponry since the height of the cold war – back in 1955 only 16% of people would have opposed using the H-Bomb in response to a nuclear attack on Britain, while today 32% would oppose nuclear retailiation.


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