Ian Hislop exposed the Tories BS live on Question Time

Question Time on 18 March
Steve Topple

It’s rarely hard work pulling apart Conservative Party policy. But it is sometimes tricky to do it in a concise manner. So, enter Ian Hislop to annihilate a key Tory policy, live on BBC Question Time.

Nurses vs Nukes

The UK’s nuclear weapons programme Trident has once again hit the headlines. This time it’s because changes were announced in the government’s Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy. This review has replaced previous defence-focused reviews. As The Canary previously reported, the government plans to up:

the cap on the number of nuclear weapons the UK can have

So, people have been angry about this. Not least because the Tories are only giving nurses a 1% pay rise while spending more on bombs.

When the issue came up on Question Time on Thursday 18 March, Private Eye editor Ian Hislop tore it apart.

Trident: what a waste

He made clear that Trident is a waste of money. And Hislop noted that the Integrated Review prompted the question:

Is there any other alternative apart from these submarines that go round the world and spend a lot of time in the dock… They do spend quite a lot of time being repaired. These are the ones that we’ve extended the life of, before we actually replace them with another, unbelievably expensive and complex one.

He also gave his thoughts on another aspect of the review. The Guardian reported that:

Britain is prepared to launch nuclear weapons if the country was faced with an exceptionally destructive attack using cyber or other “emerging technologies”

It noted:

The new policy says Britain would “reserve the right” to use nuclear weapons in the face of “weapons of mass destruction”, which includes “emerging technologies that could have a comparable impact” to chemical or biological weapons.

Nukes for computers

So, Hislop made clear the seeming ridiculousness of using nukes against a cyber-attack:

The prime minister was asked ‘why do you need more warheads in order to respond to a cyber attack?’. Really? We need more of them? You need them? It made no sense at all.

The Integrated Review outlined several threats to UK security. It said “Islamist” terrorism was the “primary” threat. The review also listed other threats as countries using:

illicit finance or coercive economic measures, disinformation, cyber-attacks, electoral interference or even – three years after the Salisbury attack – the use of chemical or other weapons of mass destruction.

Of course, the Tories would disagree with Hislop’s assertion that nukes were not needed for a cyber-attack. However, what we’re seeing with the Integrated Review is the Tories making excuses for nuclear weapons. Saying officially that a cyber-attack could need a nuclear response keeps these weapons relevant. But here’s the thing. Reviews have told the Tories for over a decade that a nuclear attack isn’t the biggest threat to UK security.

Making excuses

In October 2010, the-then strategic defence review identified four key risks to UK security. The highest risks (tier one) were:

  • “Hostile attacks upon UK cyber space”.
  • “International terrorism”.
  • “A major accident or natural hazard”, including a pandemic.
  • “An international military crisis between states, drawing in the UK, its allies as well as other states and non-state actors”.

Note the lack of a mention a nuclear attack. This was because the review said this was a tier two risk. Another review in 2015 said the same thing. And now, here we are in 2021 with little having changed – except the Tories making excuses for having nuclear weapons.

As Hislop inferred, even the government’s own evidence says we don’t need nuclear weapons. So the rationale to increase our stockpiles defies any logical explanation.

Featured image via BBC iPlayer – screengrab 

We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. Ian Hislop exposed the Tories BS live on Question Time
      ///
      Well said Ian Hislop in both Video
      Did the female Tory Minister in this debate stick up for N.H.S staff to get more cash
      OR BORIS C**P to waste our public money on No,10 s**t so he can blaver more
      C**p out on the failing of Tory Govt on L-Down rules + under funding our armed forces
      cutting Benefit help the public will need after the loss of their jobs over L-Down mess.
      ///
      Also -Boris + Govt Minister Ms Petal have you both put together your private army to keep
      you both safe in the U.K. lands –And are we British taxpayer paying for it??
      when the new policing laws come into place your Tory party members voted for
      Do remember voter Ms Petal tried to this stunt of setting up a private army under Ms May
      rule but was ordered back from over sea when we complained about her and sacked from
      her Minister job by Tory party members- (point did Boris vote for her to be sacked?)
      ///
      Voter time to get shut of this useless Tory Govt now starting with their local area Tory Cllr in May 2021 seat election (that are foot soldiers for Tory Govt at local area level)
      Then next G.E. finish the job off by removing Tory party from power fully.
      Fact they have had 10+years in power to change their way but have failed miserably time
      And time again all they do now is tell us public lies & more lies every day.

    2. Please refer to The Daily Record on pieces referring to Faslane. It is little more than a brothel and is responsible for adding nuclear pollutants to the Firth of Clyde. Sturgeon spent the money gifted to clean up The Holy Loch, where the detritus left behind by the Yanks remains in situ. The only benefit to my living ‘across the watter’ is that if it all goes belly up, my end will be instantaneous. Time to man the barricades.

    3. Btw, Chinese are said to be pretty pleased with the review. They said, according to some source, ‘well the English no longer wants to pick a fight with us. We let them know what we have somehow through their spies’.

    4. The Biden administration recently announced it will launch cyber attacks against Russia, but fortunately for the world the Russians are not moronic enough to launch retaliatory nuclear attacks unlike this bunch of pricks in government who threaten that’s what they’d do.

    5. All those things like cyber attack [ Canary]and the things we are made to be frightened for comes from the Tory Party. They are the International Terroists we all ought to be concerned with playing these fright games agianst their own populace without end. A forever frightened people can hardly make wise decisions so why aren’t they in jail for spreading terror unnesessarily as in financing more nuclear bombs when it’s realized this is useless.
      Its been aptly proven why 20 years ago this nuclear bomb scheme doesn’t work to solve who wins the war once started.
      All Life loses on this idea,, and millions always die in vain for a better world as promised by the elected.
      Covid response by Government is so different than the usual war for they seek to save lives, so they say.
      One can’t expect perfection after so many centuries of waring by the rich.
      So where is the line drawn between life and death?

    6. A paralytic lama could out debate a tory minister, alas the problem is the cutting room floor of UK media central and the billionaires grip upon factual information…..

      If you don’t know you aren’t informed, you’re not……

    7. Hey c’mon! It’s only our nuclear deterrent that is stopping the French invading yet again!

      And believe me, if we didn’t have nukes, EVEN MORE American billionaires would have poured ‘dark money’ into the Brexshit campaign and GEs!

      On the flip side, any future Corbyn govt could renationalise most of the NHS by simply nuking Branson’s Island when he’s home.

      Stop being so negative Canary!

      It’s only another £200,000,000,000+, and we blew that much on non-existent PPE and track&trace recently. At least this way we also get to threaten Ireland and NK.

      Shame we couldn’t use them to threaten the USA, our greatest threat to liberty and freedom BY FAR, but of course they are just loaning them to us – for ludicrous amounts of our money.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.