Sunday, 19 April 2015


By Panda Paws

There are a number of people in Scotland who think that Tony Blair should be on trial in The Hague. Weapons of mass destruction, crumbling infrastructure, rising poverty, stolen oil and life expectancy only in the fifties in some areas.  And don’t even get me started about Iraq!
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, or an Empire Biscuit.
One or the other...
So what is it with Westminster and WMDs? Why are they so attached to Trident, those penis extensions on the Clyde? Easy – it’s about prestige and pretending to be important. The UK is a set of islands off the coast of Europe that is run by folk that still think they command an Empire. An empire biscuit maybe! The sun has set on the Empire and Britannia no longer rules the waves. Though as the referendum campaign demonstrated, they are more than capable of waiving the rules.

Trident’s essential to our defence, they shout. Miliband stated in the BBC debate that WMDs were needed to defend against ISIS then was forced by Leanne Wood to admit he’d never use nuclear weapons against them. (I really like Leanne Wood her comment about Farage– “my friend on the far right” was the quote of the evening.) As one wag on Twitter recently stated: baggage handlers at Glasgow airport have done more to protect Scotland against terrorism than Trident! And let’s face it baggage handlers cost a damn sight less.

The resident pub bore Farage, in between w(h)inning over the audience, said we needed them to protect Crown Dependencies like the Falklands!  Because it worked so well in deterring the Argentinians in the eighties! It’s even been revealed that the military warned Thatcher against cutting conventional forces prior to the invasion.
Las Malvinas. The Falkland Islands.
Crumbs, it costs a packet to be a big biscuit.
Only three Nato members have nuclear weapons. So membership of NATO is not dependent on being a nuclear power.  However, if the UK ditched them it would be much harder to justify their permanent seat of the UN Security Council. So what difference does that make to the average person in the street – somewhere between zero and none. But to a politician keen to strut around the world stage feeling important its worth a great deal.

So what if we have aircraft carriers with no aircraft and that the seas are left undefended because it takes a day to get a ship up from Portsmouth when the Russians are buzzing around close to national waters in the Moray Firth. So what if defence cuts mean sending p45s to serving soldiers on deployment on areas of conflict. So what if there are fewer full time members of the British Army than there are members of the SNP. Trident keeps us safe – apparently.

Given the choice between spending £100 million on WMDS that can never be used but allow you to pretend to be a world power OR social security “reforms” that freeze working age benefits despite rising prices of essentials and are happy to sanction pregnant woman, the disabled and someone 5 minutes late at the Jobcentre to weeks with no income, well there’s only one choice.

If you are a sociopath who cares more about status and power than people it’s got to be bombs not bairns.

Update on Notes from the Shires (The East Renfrewshires) 
You need hands... to do...
Mammy, how I love ya, how I love ya...

By now most of you will have heard about the latest Ashcroft polls which show Labour and Jim Murphy trailing the SNP by 9 points. It’s hard to believe given 2010 results. So has that much changed in 5 years? Possibly. However East Ren has a very high number of Tory voters and if they decide to vote tactically to keep out the SNP then Labour could still win. One wrinkle in this would be if they think staying with the Tories would actually allow them to win the seat. In the referendum the No vote was higher than in Scotland as a whole – 63.3% against 55.3%. Indeed it was the 5th highest No in Scotland behind the two areas bordering England and Orkney and Shetland. The SNP will need to work very hard to unseat Murphy and whilst I’m no John Curtice or James Kelly, I still think it’s a three way marginal.

Panda Paws is a “stringer” for Munguin's Republic on a zero pay contract. In the absence of any financial reward, please feel free to lavish copious praise btl, and if it’s sincere so much the better.

Note from Munguin to Tris: Tell her to stop moaning. It's work experience, and will look good on her CV. 


  1. There is an elephant in the room here, Just exactly why is there still a Security Council at all?

    1. It's the means by which the people with a huge sense of entitlement and of their own superiority, continue to rule the world, long after at least some of them (particularly France and Britain) have any right at all to do so.

      It excludes South America, Australasia, Africa and the Middle East, as if they were valueless. It is controlled largely by what the intelligent michael Moore described as "stupid white men".

      Can't see it being abolished anytime soon. What would these stupid white men do?

  2. It's all about the big boys toys, getting to strut the world stage, pretending they have power and influence. All the while, pining for an empire long dead, whilst being the lapdog of uncle Sam.

    A bit like the play ground bullies wingman, all show and aggression but, cowardly and subservient in reality.

    Another great post Panda Paws.

    1. Exactly. It's about this sense that they have of being superior.

      Obama, Hollande, Xi, Putin and (don't laugh) Cameron.

      If that's the best the world has to offer, get ready to put your head between your knees.

      PS: Don't overdo the praise. She'll be after a rise!

    2. thanks! Feel free to overdo the praise. I'm not after a rise but a raise might be nice :-)

    3. I thought raises were only in America.

      In Antarctica, you get a rise... or rather you don't!

    4. Credit, where credit is due, obviously it won't be monetary; as Munguin needs to keep himself in the style, he has become accustomed.

    5. First class air fare and foie gras doesn't come cheap.

  3. "Note from Munguin to Tris: Tell her to stop moaning. It's work experience, and will look good on her CV."

    Munguin's channeling his inner IDS now or is it Esther McVey? I've one thing to say to you - global warning my penguin friend. :=)

    1. Munguin has flown out to Greenland without responding. I think he's cross!


  4. There was an article recently, which I should have saved to file, but it described how Britain used the Marshall plan after the WW2.
    Britain received a third more than Germany did, but instead of using it to rebuild the infrastructure as Germany did, Britain used it to maintain its 'status' as a world power. Military, nuclear weapons, control of colonies.

    1. I read the same thing. I was written by Niall Ferguson.

      It was, strangely enough, during the only proper Labour government we ever had. America was most concerned that the Brits were far to close to Moscow to be trusted with any nuclear secrets.

      They were outraged that the Americans would treat them with such disrespect and decided then to have a bomb of their own.

      From Wikipedia.,_Baron_Penney

      Post war

      At the end of the war the British government, now under Labour Prime Minister Clement Attlee, believed that America would share the technology that British leaders saw as a joint discovery under the terms of the 1943 Quebec Agreement. In December 1945 PM Attlee ordered the construction of an atomic pile to produce plutonium and requested a report to detail requirements for Britain's atomic bombs. Penney returned to England and intended to resume his academic career, but was approached by C. P. Snow and asked to take up post as Chief Superintendent Armament Research (CSAR, called "Caesar") at Fort Halstead in Kent, as he suspected Britain was going to have to build an atomic bomb of its own and the government wanted Penney in this job.[4] As CSAR he was responsible for all types of armaments research.

      In 1946, at the request of General Leslie Groves and the US Navy, Penney returned to the United States where he was put in charge of the blast effects studies for Operation Crossroads. In July, he was present at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands and wrote the after action reports on the effects of the two nuclear detonations. His reputation was further enhanced when, after the sophisticated test gauges failed, he was able to determine the blast power using observations from simple devices (empty oil drums).

      The British Nuclear Weapons Programme[edit]
      However the passing of the McMahon Act (Atomic Energy Act) by the Truman administration in August 1946 made it clear that Britain would be no longer be allowed access to US atomic research. Penney left the United States and returned to England where he initiated his plans for an Atomics Weapons Section, submitting them to the Lord Portal (Marshal of the Royal Air Force) in November 1946. During the winter of 1946–1947, Penney returned to the United States, where he served as a scientific adviser to the British representative at the American Atomic Energy Commission. With almost all other aspects of atomic co-operation between the countries at an end, Penney's personal role was seen as keeping the contact alive between the parties.


    2. .....

      Attlee's government decided that Britain required the atomic bomb to maintain its position in world politics. In the words of Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin - "We've got to have it and it's got to have a bloody Union Jack on it." Officially, the decision to proceed with the British atomic bomb project was made in January 1947 - however arrangements were already under way. The necessary plutonium was on order from Harwell and in the Armaments Research Department of the Ministry of Supply, an Atomic Weapons Section was being organised. The project was based at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich and was code-named High Explosive Research (or HER).

      In May 1947, Penney was officially named to head the HER project. The following month Penney began assembling teams of scientists and engineers to work on the new technologies that had to be developed. In June 1947, Penney gathered his fledgling team in the library at the Royal Arsenal and gave a two-hour talk on the principles of the atomic bomb. Centred at Fort Halstead, the work proceeded on schedule. In 1950, the first bomb was expected to ready within two years, and would require a test.

      The research was spread across several test facilities in the UK, with confusing lines of authority and responsibility. The bomb design was also complex and innovative; although it started off with the Nagasaki bomb design, completely new methods of arming and of electrical detonation were used. It was realized that a single site was required, and in April 1950 an abandoned World War II airfield, RAF Aldermaston in Berkshire was selected as the permanent home for the British nuclear weapons programme. In 1951 the first scientific staff arrived at Aldermaston, and soon after the HER project vacated the Royal Arsenal. On 3 October 1952, under the code-name "Operation Hurricane", the first British nuclear device was successfully detonated off the west coast of Australia in the Monte Bello Islands.

      Penney was also aware of the public relations issues associated with the tests, and made clear-speaking presentations to the Australian press. Before one series of tests the Australian High Commissioner described his press presence: "Sir William Penney has established in Australia a reputation which is quite unique: his appearance, his obvious sincerity and honesty, and the general impression he gives that he would rather be digging his garden – and would be, but for the essential nature of his work – have made him a public figure of some magnitude in Australian eyes".[4]

      In 1954, nuclear development was transferred from the Ministry of Supply (MoS) to the newly formed United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA). From 1954 to 1967, Sir William served on the UKAEA Board, becoming Chairman in 1962. Under his leadership the first British hydrogen bomb was developed and tested in May 1957.[6]


    3. mperial College
      The Rt Hon Lord Penney was Rector of Imperial College London from 1967 to 1973.[7] The college built and named the William Penney Laboratory in his honour in 1987

      Legacy and honours[edit]
      In later years he admitted to qualms about his work but felt it was necessary. When aggressively questioned by the McClelland Royal Commission investigating the test programmes at Monte Bello and Maralinga in 1985, he acknowledged that at least one of the 12 tests probably had unsafe levels of fallout. However, he maintained that due care was taken and that the tests conformed to the internationally accepted safety standards of the time, a position which was confirmed from official records by Lorna Arnold.[8] McClelland broadly accepted Penney's view but anecdotal evidence to the contrary received wide coverage in the press. By promoting a more Australian nationalist view, then current in the government of Bob Hawke, McClelland had also identified "villains" in the previous Australian and British administrations.[9] As a senior witness Penney bore the brunt of the allegations, and his health was badly affected by the experience. He died a few years later at his home in the village of East Hendred, aged 81.[4]

      In his obituary in the New York Times he was credited as the father of the British atomic bomb.[10] The Guardian described him as its "guiding light",[11] and his scientific and administrative leadership was said to be crucial in its successful and timely creation. His leadership of the team that exploded the first British hydrogen bomb at Christmas Island was instrumental in restoring the exchange of nuclear technology between Britain and the USA in 1958, and he was credited as playing a leading part in the negotiations which led to the treaty forbidding atmospheric nuclear tests in 1963.[12]

      His Kronig-Penney model for the behaviour of an electron in a periodic potential is still taught and used today in solid-state physics,[13] and is used to explain the origin of band gaps.

      During his lifetime William Penney was made a Commonwealth Fund Fellow at University of Wisconsin–Madison (1932); Fellow of the Royal Society (1946);[2] Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1970). Among the honours he received was the Rumford Medal by the Royal Society (1966). He was awarded an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Science) by the University of Bath in 1966.[14] For services to the United States, he was one of the first recipients of the United States Medal of Freedom (with Silver Palm), awarded by President Harry S. Truman. For his services to Britain he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE; 1946);[15] raised to Knight Commander of the order (KBE; 1952);[16] made a life peer, taking the title Baron Penney, of East Hendred in the Royal County of Berkshire (7 July 1967);[17] awarded the Order of Merit (OM; 1969).[18] He served on the board of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (from 1954 to 1967) and became its Chairman (1962–1967). In 1974 he chaired a committee assessing the need for an expert group to be set up to advise and warn the engineering profession on matters of structural safety, which reported positively, and he served as the first chairman of the UK's Standing Committee on Structural Safety from 1976 to 1982.[19]

      We were left to believe that it was Germany that got all the Marshall Plan money, and that was why everything took so long to be repaired here, while Germany got its now roads railways, housing etc.

      There's a good documentary somewhere in Youtube. If I can find it again I'll put it up.

    4. In the words of Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin - "We've got to have it and it's got to have a bloody Union Jack on it."

      That's the most telling sentence, right there. Says it all, jingoistic, flag (willy) waving, jumped up little men; wanting to parade as the cock of the walk.

      Sad bastards, surly there was and still are better things to be spending time and effort on.
      Feeding people, maintaining the NHS, schools, roads and rail, helping those less fortunate? It's not feking rocket science, it's being a feking human being.

    5. Hear hear.

      I thought the Atlee government was in most ways good for the country and for the working classes.

      But even they couldn't accept or understand that the mantel of world leader had passed to someone else, and Britain was just a poor broken country that could have done with some more of the money being spent on ordinary folk.

      Blokes fought for the green and pleasant land for 5 long years in some hellish conditions... and came home to a bombed out mess, which didn't get much better for a long time, because the money was spent on "staying important".

  5. I don't have an issue with the SNPs policy on scrapping Trident.

    The argument for replacing Trident is getting harder for Westminster to justify. But if they must retain a deterrent of sorts, then why not consider using attack submarines?

    Attack submarines have the facility to carry cruise missiles which can carry nuclear warheads. The deterrent argument would still be valid against states such as Russia and China. Storage and security costs remains, but attack subs are It also means relocating them elsewhere is a damn sight easier.

    I'm not supporting the replacement, just wondering why politicians never seem keen on alternatives.

    1. Attack sub's, would still be like pissing in the wind; against China and Russia.

      Realistically the UK is not a threat to any large country, that has descent modern weaponry, hence going to war with countries with lesser capabilities.

    2. Not any kind of weapons expert here, but it seems to me that if we have to have mutual destruction capabilities in the west, then NATO should have them, and pay for them.

      No one in reality would use them without permission from the White House, even the French, who technically COULD use them independently. Britain couldn't because they share launching facilities and codes with the Americans.

      Personally, I'm anti- war, but I can see we live in a dangerous world. We have to be able to defend ourselves. I can see that there are some pretty unstable people who have nukes... Russia, Israel and Pakistan, not to mention N Korea. Do they think that they could get away with bombing Berlin or Stockholm because Germany and Sweden don;t have the bomb?

      It is ridiculous that France, the USA and the UK should foot the bill and take responsibility for the West's WMDs. The cost should be shared by the countries which will be protected by the bombs.

      We moan all the time about how much the EU costs us, but we don't seem to mind that these weapons are horrifically expensive. Why are we not screaming that rich countries like Germany, Sweden, Norway, Austria, Finland, etc, should pay their share.

      In the mean time, we have fewer and fewer troops who might seriously be able to protect us, if as is much more likely, we face terrorist threats as a result of the nose poking that the Uk has done all over the world, and most particularly in the Near and middle East.

      It's all about willie waving. Even the idiot war monger Blair admitted that.

    3. Jim,

      It's not the quantity of weapons, it is the type. No country, not even North Korea, would seriously consider using nuclear weapons. Of course, there is the issue of terrorism but that is a different scenario altogether, and isn't remedied by an increase in conventional forces. Look at what PIRA managed during their campaigns.

      Tris, I think your argument for getting everyone to foot the bill is probably the best suggestion I've heard. Be interesting to see how Merkel answered that one.

    4. I expect she might say ''abhauen''.



    Might be interesting....

    1. Thanks CH...

    2. Just saw this on Twitter:

      John MacDonald ‏
      If you need nuclear weapons to have 'prestige' in international politics, you're rubbish at international politics. #Trident @BBCScot2015