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Why Doesn't the UK Become a "Virtually Nuclear" Nation?

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posted on Mar, 14 2007 @ 11:59 AM
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Originally posted by Ste2652
I think the reason he says that is because revealing the situations in which the government will launch its nuclear arsenal puts the deterrent's credibility in jeopardy and it gives potential enemies the chance to push the UK around without fear of a nuclear strike.

Exactly, its top secret, he hasnt the authority to give information away like that.



Going to war is again the decision of the Prime Minister, and this power is used rarely anyway - we didn't declare war on Iraq (either time), Afghanistan or Argentina.

In two of those operations we didnt go to war with a country we went to war with its leaders, in the first gulf war we went in under a UN security force not ourselves. In the falklands we were simply defending our territory which in itself is not war. The queen allows the use of her forces to the primeminister and can order peace (whether the other side agrees is another question), its never been used to my knowledge but itse still there.


Nuclear weapons fall into a similar category - their use is ordered by the Prime Minister, and him/her alone.

In a defencive probably , in an "offensive" war I bet the PM would ask the queens premission.


In addition, it was revealed that the Prime Minister writes a set of orders for the crew of each Trident submarine should contact with the UK be lost, or the Prime Minister be killed etc. This might be to consult another government official, sail to a friendly port (apparently we have agreements with the US, Australia etc. to shelter our nuclear subs if there is an emergency), launch their missiles or allow the submarine captain and crew to make their own decision as to their best course.

Thats standard practice for all ships with boomers, the yanks have orders to fire missiles and go to a neutral country I believe so we would have a similar system.




posted on Mar, 14 2007 @ 01:12 PM
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Originally posted by devilwasp
Exactly, its top secret, he hasnt the authority to give information away like that.


He hasn't really given anything away... just made things even more ambiguous by refusing to rule out a first strike. He hasn't denied or confirmed it.


In two of those operations we didnt go to war with a country we went to war with its leaders, in the first gulf war we went in under a UN security force not ourselves. In the falklands we were simply defending our territory which in itself is not war. The queen allows the use of her forces to the primeminister and can order peace (whether the other side agrees is another question), its never been used to my knowledge but itse still there.


Even though there was a UN mandate, the use of British armed forces had to be approved by our government - ergo, the Prime Minister. The deployment of British forces can be ordered by the PM without asking anyone else (even Parliament, although Blair did get permission from Parliament for the Iraq war) - a formal declaration of war is technically required to be approved and signed by the monarch, but the liklihood of the monarch refusing is virtually nil. If he/she did refuse, it would create a constitutional crisis in which the unelected monarch was challenging the supremacy of the democratically elected government, and thus it is likely he/she would be forced to abdicate if they refused to rethink their position and Britain would become a republic. The only conceivable scenario which I can think of where a monarch would be able to defy Parliament and not be forced to abdicate would be one where a government threatened to introduce some kind of tyrannical measures - in a case like that, I can see the monarch being supported by the people over the government.



In a defencive probably , in an "offensive" war I bet the PM would ask the queens premission.


In all matters - you don't need to declare war to launch a nuclear weapon, hence it's in the hands of the PM. Besides which the Royal Prerogatives are pretty old powers going back centuries. As nuclear weapons have only been around since 1945 (and Britain has possessed them since 1952) then the decision to use them has been given straight to the PM.

Tony Blair himself has said in Parliament on the 4th December 2006 that "Our present nuclear deterrent is fully operationally independent and will remain so. Only the Prime Minister can authorise its use." and "It can be used and fired only at the instigation of the British Prime Minister" See this link. One of the first things a new PM is told how to do is launch Britain's nukes, apparently... spending your first couple of days in office learning how to blow up the world, eh?



Thats standard practice for all ships with boomers, the yanks have orders to fire missiles and go to a neutral country I believe so we would have a similar system.


Yep, but the significance is that it's the Prime Minister who gives the wording of the note, not the monarch.



posted on Mar, 14 2007 @ 03:25 PM
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devilwasp wrote


So I feel its safe to assert that the UK would use nuclear weapons even if the UK mainland was not itself attacked.

How can you suppose that? What possible reason can you suppose that we would launch first?


Er...I thought I already had.

As I posted before devilwasp, and which you appear to have ignored, Jeff Hoon stated in 2002 that: "The UK is prepared to use nuclear weapons against rogue states such as Iraq if they ever used "weapons of mass destruction" against British troops in the field".

In other words, Hoon was warning Saddam that if he launched a sarin attack on UK troops, then the UK was prepared to use nuclear weapons against Iraq. Hence my assertion that the UK would use nuclear weapons even if the UK mainland was not itself attacked.




Mr Hoon later refused to rule out the use of UK nuclear weapons as a "first strike", thus encouraging speculation that UK nuclear weapons policy had changed to include pre-emptive nuclear strikes.

Because hoon was and still is a loon, hence the name. He has no authority to make the claim that we would fire first or even if we would fire...its up to the PM, his council and most likely the queen. Afterall she is the one who has the final say in war and peace in this country if you had forgotten.



If we can just put your bias against certain politicians aside for one moment, I suspect that you're confusing the UK Government's possible use of nuclear weapons with the Monarch's power to declare war.

They are completely separate issues.

Throughout the Cold War, the UK successfully operated a system which enabled the release of nuclear weapons without the need for a declaration of war.

The order of priority of those who were able to order a nuclear release was: the Prime Minister; followed the two Prime Minister's Deputies (Senior Government Ministers - Home Secretary, Chancellor, etc).

[BTW, the Prime Minister's Deputies were rather aptly nicknamed by an earlier 'nuclear' Prime Minister - Harold Macmillan - as, Gravedigger 1, and Gravedigger 2.]

Thats why the UK nuclear release room (with its associated equipment) was at first situated in 10 Downing Street, and not the Palace. In the early 1970s the nuclear release room was relocated to the Cabinet Office Briefing Room (C) [situated just down the corridor to the more famous COBR(A)]

The Queen didn't figure anywhere on the nuclear release procedure....only politicians; possibly even your bete noir devilwasp - Jeff Hoon the Loon.



zero lift


[edit on 14-3-2007 by zero lift]



posted on Mar, 14 2007 @ 06:45 PM
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Gfad, I would be interested to know where you gained your degree in psychology? Since you are going to claim that I suffer from a mental illness, I would like to make sure you actually know what you are talking about or was it just a personal attack to slur your own thread? What interesting tactics.

As for it being absurd, your knowledge of Japan is lacking. Let alone has Defense Minister Ishiba, Cabinet Secretary Fukuda, spoken of revising their Nuclear Policy they have one thing the United Kingdom doesn’t – protection from the United States of America and the Japanese have ever since the end of World War Two. However, let us examine Japan – Japan for years has been bullied about by Russia over the Kurils/Northern Territories which Russia took just before the end of World War Two and has refused to give back – clearly, the fact they can build Nuclear Weapons (like every Nation can) doesn’t bother Russia.

Then let us examine the United Kingdom. At present, we are loosing our oil reserves and are going to be gaining them from other places – including Russia. Russia has already these last few years shown us what it does to Nations who can’t defend itself – Ukraine being one of these. They can afford to cripple Nations who cannot fight back by shutting down oil/gas. But they at present can’t to the U.K. because we can defend ourselves. Nor did I say that we would be invaded – but any decent Government should take everything into consideration. You do not know what will happen in 10 years, 20 years and 50 years time. It is likely nothing will happen – but would you rather it could happen? Would you run the risk?

Furthermore the statement: “The same argument was used when Trident was first brought in, and as it turned out we have never used them, in fact we havnt even come close to using them.” Is rather a naive statement and you must realise this? There were periods in the Cold War where Nuclear War could have happened and we would have been one of the first to use our weapons however the Trident system did not exist then. But the statement: “as it turned out we have never used them” is like me saying: “My computer keeps Lions away, while I have had it I’ve never seen a Lion.” The fact is more likely that we never were at risk because of our ability to use nuclear weapons. Would you attack a Nation that could destroy you easily?



On 14th March 2007 The government of the United Kingdom won Commons support for plans to renew the UK's nuclear submarine system. Between £15bn and £20bn will be spent on new submarines to carry the Trident missiles. The fleet will take an estimated 17 years to develop and build, and will last until 2050.


Taken from wikipedia.

So 17 years and at a top cost of 20bn, that’s roughly 1bn a year for removing any threat of invasion or being bullied around. I am happy to pay it.

Sorry, but Japan is not your ideal Nation – it is under the protection of the U.S.A. and well if you are happy for the U.K. to go down that road than I worry.



posted on Mar, 14 2007 @ 06:51 PM
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The idea that any nation would be protected from a nuclear attack by saying they can make them in a few months or years is simply ridiculous.

You many have only a matter of minutes to decide on a retaliatory package if an enemy has launched its missiles at you. Britain would be back in the stone age before you would have the time to even think about building a new bomb to retaliate.



posted on Mar, 15 2007 @ 08:27 AM
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Just to make it clear that its Politicians and not the Monarch who gives the order to release nuclear weapons in the UK, here is the transcript of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan's letter to a Government Minister who had been selected to act as a 'nuclear' Deputy in times of emergency.

The appointment of these Deputies was to prevent decapitation of the UK's nuclear retaliation procedure, which might be caused by a nuclear strike on the UK with absolutely no warning - a "Bolt from the Blue".

One of the Prime Minister's Deputies would have remained in London (probably a death sentence), while the other Deputy would have made his way to the alternative headquarters of the Central Government (BURLINGTON).

The invitation also included two Annexes, which explained the duties of the Deputies and the type of international consultation that they should undertake prior to ordering nuclear retaliation (R-hour).

One important point - this is the first time that details have ever been released of the UK's international consultation procedure which would have been enacted prior to ordering a nuclear release.

It was declassified by the Cabinet Office late last year (2006).

----------------------------------------------------



TOP SECRET

You will remember that last autumn we agreed on arrangements to ensure that political authority will, in a time of grave international tension, always be available to authorise nuclear retaliation if this should be required. You and Selwyn Lloyd consented to act as my Deputies for this purpose.

This note is to let you know that I have now nominated Alec Home as the other Deputy, in place of Selwyn Lloyd.

Harold Macmillan

26 September 1962


---------------------------------

TOP SECRET

To The Right Honourable The Lord of Home


I have been considering what arrangements should be made to ensure that in a time of grave international tension political authority, on behalf of the Government, will always be immediately available got the purposes of nuclear retaliation if this should be required.

The decision to launch nuclear weapons is one of such gravity that it should clearly be taken by Ministers, or by the Prime Minister on behalf of the Government, if it is humanly possible to arrange this. But it is of the essence of the strategic deterrent that it will be launched without fail if an enemy should attack us first with nuclear weapons, and modern developments have made it possible that the first warning of attack may be received only a few minutes before missiles land.

Current arrangements provide that if a nuclear attack is delivered, or is known to have been launched, I am to be consulted immediately; but if this proves to be impossible, the competent military authority, if he is certain that an attack has in fact been made, has authority to order nuclear retaliation in the last resort without Ministerial authority. This is the only practicable arrangement in the event of a nuclear attack on this country in what would otherwise be normal conditions of peace - in other words, a "bolt from the blue". But a "bolt from the blue", which implies the failure of the deterrent policy, and would clearly require immediate retaliation, is unlikely.

A more likely situation would arise from an increase in international tension to the point where the Government would decide to institute the Precautionary Stage. At that stage it would be my duty (except for exceptional purposes such as international negotiations) to remain in London and to be immediately accessible myself at all times, as far as this is physically possible; and I should be in close touch with the President of the United States, with our other allies and with the military commanders of NATO and of our own services. Nevertheless, there would almost certainly be some occasions when I could not be reached for immediate consultation, for instance if I were moving by car from one place to another; and I propose to nominate a Minister to act as my first Deputy, in London, for this purpose at such times.

There is also the possibility that London might be silenced before the necessary consultations could take place. I propose, therefore, to nominate another Minister as my second Deputy from among those who would go to the alternative headquarters of the Central Government.

It will be necessary for the first Deputy to be able to assume responsibility during any period, however short, when I am necessarily out of touch with my main communications. I attach a note ( Annex I) of the arrangements to made for this purpose. The second Deputy will be housed at the alternative headquarters of the Central Government, and will have no Parliamentary or other duties which will require him to move away from his communications there. He will be in continuous touch with developments in London and will know immediately if contact is broken that he has necessarily assumed responsibility.

I have decided to nominate you and Rab Butler (to whom I have sent a similar letter) as my Deputies for this purpose. I do not propose, until the Precautionary Stage is declared, to decide which will be the first and which the second Deputy (that is which of you will remain in London and which will go to the alternative headquarters of the central Government.

I attach a note (Annex II) of the points which should be dealt with in conversations with the President and SACEUR.

I will arrange for you to be briefed more fully on these points and for you to participate, in due course, in exercises to practise those procedures.

I should be glad to know that these arrangements are acceptable to you.

Harold Macmillan 26 September 1962


------------------------------------------------------------------


View copies of the original Prime Minister's Letter at the following links.

i114.photobucket.com...

i114.photobucket.com...

i114.photobucket.com...

i114.photobucket.com...

ANNEX I and ANNEX II to follow.

zero lift



posted on Mar, 15 2007 @ 11:19 AM
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Originally posted by Ste2652
He hasn't really given anything away... just made things even more ambiguous by refusing to rule out a first strike. He hasn't denied or confirmed it.

I think we're confused on "it" I meant the actual surroundings on what happens in a nuclear strike, I take it you thought "it" was him actually telling the people that we would use nuclear weapons.



Even though there was a UN mandate, the use of British armed forces had to be approved by our government - ergo, the Prime Minister.

And the house of lords and the queen must ratify the use of force.



The deployment of British forces can be ordered by the PM without asking anyone else (even Parliament, although Blair did get permission from Parliament for the Iraq war) - a formal declaration of war is technically required to be approved and signed by the monarch, but the liklihood of the monarch refusing is virtually nil.

Yes and it would be political suicide for him to have gone into iraq without getting premision to go in, If the monarch thinks its wrong she can stop it happening and frankly the PM cant do anything.



If he/she did refuse, it would create a constitutional crisis in which the unelected monarch was challenging the supremacy of the democratically elected government, and thus it is likely he/she would be forced to abdicate if they refused to rethink their position and Britain would become a republic. The only conceivable scenario which I can think of where a monarch would be able to defy Parliament and not be forced to abdicate would be one where a government threatened to introduce some kind of tyrannical measures - in a case like that, I can see the monarch being supported by the people over the government.

Actually I doubt she would be forced to do so, the armed forces are not sworn to the PM but to her, unless the PM decided to start a revolution (I dont know of any british MP that would be that brave) against the queen they would have to complain. There are limits to the queens power and frankly there are limits to the parliments powers as well, its a two way street and frankly if the PM wants to start playing hard ball with a challanger 2 tank then I say good luck to him but I'll take my bets with the army.



In all matters - you don't need to declare war to launch a nuclear weapon, hence it's in the hands of the PM. Besides which the Royal Prerogatives are pretty old powers going back centuries. As nuclear weapons have only been around since 1945 (and Britain has possessed them since 1952) then the decision to use them has been given straight to the PM.

Royal preogatives are wide ranging ie: Control of armed forces, correct me if I am wrong but the royal navy is part of the armed forces.


Tony Blair himself has said in Parliament on the 4th December 2006 that "Our present nuclear deterrent is fully operationally independent and will remain so. Only the Prime Minister can authorise its use." and "It can be used and fired only at the instigation of the British Prime Minister"

Yes and dont you suppose that if the queen was there she would be able to stop him , hell I doubt it takes just one man to launch a nuclear warhead since that would be insane (hence the two man rule).




Yep, but the significance is that it's the Prime Minister who gives the wording of the note, not the monarch.

The monarch doesnt need to since she leaves those who have more knowledge of it than her , but if she wished to leave a note to each submarine captain do you think the PM would refuse?



posted on Mar, 15 2007 @ 12:11 PM
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Originally posted by zero lift
Er...I thought I already had.

As I posted before devilwasp, and which you appear to have ignored, Jeff Hoon stated in 2002 that: "The UK is prepared to use nuclear weapons against rogue states such as Iraq if they ever used "weapons of mass destruction" against British troops in the field".

In other words, Hoon was warning Saddam that if he launched a sarin attack on UK troops, then the UK was prepared to use nuclear weapons against Iraq. Hence my assertion that the UK would use nuclear weapons even if the UK mainland was not itself attacked.

Being "prepared" to and actually "doing so" is a different matter, do you honuestly for one second believe that the PM would order a nuclear strike possibley setting of a third world war and bringing the world to armageddon over the use of sarin gas?
Do you really believe that the captain of a nuclear submarine would do that?
Mr Hoon is no more than a toothless tiger attempting to scare the world, his term as defence secretary was an absoulte joke.



I suspect that you're confusing the UK Government's possible use of nuclear weapons with the Monarch's power to declare war.

There is no confusion, if you launch a nuclear strike on someone you ARE declaring war....


Throughout the Cold War, the UK successfully operated a system which enabled the release of nuclear weapons without the need for a declaration of war.

Really? How do you suppose we could do that without actually declaring hostilities with a country or without another country declaring war on us?


The order of priority of those who were able to order a nuclear release was: the Prime Minister; followed the two Prime Minister's Deputies (Senior Government Ministers - Home Secretary, Chancellor, etc).

I have looked for this and I can find no link showing this, before any action is allowed it must have the royal assent, there was an attempt to take this pwoer away from the queen in 1999 before the iraq war but it was imediatly stopped.




Thats why the UK nuclear release room (with its associated equipment) was at first situated in 10 Downing Street, and not the Palace. In the early 1970s the nuclear release room was relocated to the Cabinet Office Briefing Room (C) [situated just down the corridor to the more famous COBR(A)]

Yes and this is linked with (or atleast has been hinted at) many government bunkers, the queen is quite safe when it comes to being attacked (she has three regiments within a few miles of her for god sake and a RPG team with her at all times and her own police station!)


The Queen didn't figure anywhere on the nuclear release procedure....only politicians; possibly even your bete noir devilwasp - Jeff Hoon the Loon.


Unfortunatly I havent found any evidence of this, infact I have found several sources stating that the queen is still needed in a nuclear launch (or atleast one of her officers)



posted on Mar, 15 2007 @ 12:12 PM
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It might be a better idea for you to put speculation about the role of the Monarchy in ordering a release aside for one moment and actually study the relevant Government documents.

Yes, the Monarch is, on certain occasions, involved in the decision to go to war; but she has absolutely no say how that war is to be fought - including taking the decision of when it is deemed appropriate to order the use of nuclear weapons. As the following newly declassified documents reveal, the Monarch is not included in nuclear release consultations.

Once again, the following is a transcript of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan's intsructions to the two Prime Minister's Deputies.

--------------------------------------------------

TOP SECRET ANNEX I

Note of Proposed Arrangements for the Functioning of the Prime Minister’s First Deputy for Purpose of Nuclear Retaliation

(To operate on the introduction of the Precautionary Stage)

It will be necessary for the first Deputy to be at all times, unless on occasion exempted by special arrangement with the Prime Minister,
( a ) able to reach either No 10 Downing
Street/Admiralty House or the Prime Minister’s
Office at the House of Commons within thirty
minutes; or such lesser period as may be advised
from time to time; and

( b ) in immediate telephone communication with both
the above places.

2. When for any reason the Prime Minister will, for
however short a period, be neither at No 10 Downing
Street/Admiralty House, nor his office at the House of
Commons his Private Secretary will warn the first
Deputy who will go immediately to No 10 Downing
Street/Admiralty House or to the Prime Minister’s
Office at the House of Commons (as notified at the
time) and on arrival will confirm with the Prime
Minister that he is ready to take over.

3. The Prime Minister will await this confirmation
before leaving and, on receiving it, will formally hand
over responsibility to the First Deputy.

4. The First Deputy will remain at his post until, on his
return to No 10 Downing Street/Admiralty House or
to his office at the House of Commons, the Prime
Minister informs him that he has resumed
responsibility.



TOP SECRET ANNEX II

Matters to be Covered in Consultations Relating to Nuclear Retaliation


A. Conversation with the President

1. A general decision whether to launch strategic nuclear
forces, British and American (Macmillan-Kennedy
general understanding).

2. Operational use by United States forces of bases in the
United Kingdom:

( a ) S.A.C. air bases (Atlee-Truman agreement for “joint
decision”).

( b ) Polaris submarine bases (Holy Loch) (Holy Loch
agreement, 1969, for “joint consultation”).

3. Use of Bomber Command Thors. (1958 agreement -
Command 366).

4. Clearance for launching of:-

( a ) United States tactical nuclear aircraft in United
Kingdom assigned to SACEUR: (Murphy-Dean
agreement).

( b ) United Kingdom tactical nuclear aircraft in United
Kingdom assigned to SACEUR and carrying United
States warheads. (Murphy-Dean agreement).

5. Clearance for SACLANT to launch British nuclear
striking forces in his command (arrangements not
yet complete).

6. Declaration of R-hour by SACEUR and SACLANT.
May they declare it at discretion? If not, when?

B. Conversation with SACEUR

1. Declaration of R-hour (see A.6 above)

2. Launching of his tactical aircraft based in United
Kingdom (see A.4 above).


-------------------------------------------------

Copies of the original documents may be found on the following links.

i114.photobucket.com...

i114.photobucket.com...

i114.photobucket.com...


As you will notice, there is absolutely no mention of any consultation with the Monarch.


Finally, in a classic example of the use of classical 'gallows' humour, the Prime Minister refers to his 'nuclear' Deputies (at the time, the Home Secretary and the Chancellor) as: Gravedigger 1, and Gravedigger 2.

i114.photobucket.com...






zero lift



posted on Mar, 15 2007 @ 12:35 PM
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Originally posted by zero lift
It might be a better idea for you to put speculation about the role of the Monarchy in ordering a release aside for one moment and actually study the relevant Government documents.

You mean like the emergancy powers act (have you read that?)
Or about royal assent?
Or about the role of the monarchy to date?


Yes, the Monarch is, on certain occasions, involved in the decision to go to war;

There you go end of story, she has the right to stop the british armed force engaging in hostile activities unless permitted by parliment, ergo nuclear deterrant.


but she has absolutely no say how that war is to be fought - including taking the decision of when it is deemed appropriate to order the use of nuclear weapons.

Your now saying that the RN nuclear force is no longer part of the armed forces of the united kingdom...she is required to give royal consent on war unless its ratified by parliment, ergo to produce a nuclear strike you would require either the queen to agree or the parliment to agree. Take your pick of who would be easier to bring to your political side.
Oh and lastly, your positings really dont have merit unless you can verify it, hell even a tabliod link to these documents would be good enough.



posted on Mar, 15 2007 @ 12:41 PM
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Originally posted by devilwasp
And the house of lords and the queen must ratify the use of force.


Whilst the House of Lords debated Iraq, they didn't get a vote on it. Similarly, whilst I'm sure the Queen made her opinions clear to the government in private, she didn't have to sign off the Iraq War because it didn't involve a formal declaration of war. That's the only time the monarch's signature is required for the deployment of British armed forces.


Yes and it would be political suicide for him to have gone into iraq without getting premision to go in, If the monarch thinks its wrong she can stop it happening and frankly the PM cant do anything.


Yes it would be political suicide, no the monarch can't do very much except perhaps try to derail the government's actions by speaking out against it in public. But there are no formal methods of stopping a non-declared conflict for the monarch since his/her permission is not required to deploy armed forces (even into conflict) unless a formal declaration of war is required. As far as I know, Britain has not issued a declaration of war since the end of Word War II. All Britain's actions since then have been 'police actions', or whatever euphemism you want to use.


Actually I doubt she would be forced to do so, the armed forces are not sworn to the PM but to her


Yep, the armed forces swear an oath of allegiance to the sovereign. As do MPs when they take up office. Not sure where all this coup stuff came up, though


Royal preogatives are wide ranging ie: Control of armed forces, correct me if I am wrong but the royal navy is part of the armed forces.


Whilst the Royal Prerogatives include the declaration of war, they haven't included the direct control over the armed forces since Charles I. The monarch's position as commander-in-chief is purely ceremonial. After Charles was defeated during the English Civil War, the monarch's powers for controlling the military were taken away to prevent another monarch challenging Parliament's power via use of the armed forces. Though the prerogatives are pretty vague, so I imagine there might be some degree of control in there. However, all Royal Prerogatives are now exercised on the advice of the Prime Minister.


Yes and dont you suppose that if the queen was there she would be able to stop him , hell I doubt it takes just one man to launch a nuclear warhead since that would be insane (hence the two man rule).


No, I honestly don't think she could. It's the PM's decision, though obviously there are others who take that decision should the PM be killed/go out of contact (e.g. other ministers, or even the submarine commander himself depending on what the note from the Prime Minister in the sub says). Two man rule? Haven't heard that one. Are you perhaps referring to the US system of requiring both the President and the Secretary of Defence to agree before nuclear weapons can be used? I don't think we have that system here.


The monarch doesnt need to since she leaves those who have more knowledge of it than her , but if she wished to leave a note to each submarine captain do you think the PM would refuse?


The government would have a very good case for refusing to do so - remember, whilst in theory the monarch is still the boss in practice it's now Parliament (and the government which derives its powers from Parliament). The government does its best to ensure that the monarch never finds themselves in a position where they have to challenge the elected government or parliament because it'd cause a constitutional crisis.


infact I have found several sources stating that the queen is still needed in a nuclear launch (or atleast one of her officers)


Links? ISBN Numbers? Publishers? Titles? Authors? What are these sources and what do they say?

I think "one of her officers" could include the Prime Minister - he/she is the head of Her Majesty's Government.

[edit on 15/3/07 by Ste2652]



posted on Mar, 15 2007 @ 02:15 PM
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Originally posted by devilwasp

Originally posted by zero lift
Er...I thought I already had.

As I posted before devilwasp, and which you appear to have ignored, Jeff Hoon stated in 2002 that: "The UK is prepared to use nuclear weapons against rogue states such as Iraq if they ever used "weapons of mass destruction" against British troops in the field".

In other words, Hoon was warning Saddam that if he launched a sarin attack on UK troops, then the UK was prepared to use nuclear weapons against Iraq. Hence my assertion that the UK would use nuclear weapons even if the UK mainland was not itself attacked.

Being "prepared" to and actually "doing so" is a different matter, do you honuestly for one second believe that the PM would order a nuclear strike possibley setting of a third world war and bringing the world to armageddon over the use of sarin gas?


Where on earth do you get the idea that a nuclear strike on Iraq (as a result of Saddam using CBW on invading UK troops) would have led to a Third World War?

The UK Government made it quite clear to Saddam, just as Maggie had in the first Gulf conflict, that Saddam's possible large-scale use of CBW on UK troops would bring a nuclear response.



Do you really believe that the captain of a nuclear submarine would do that?


You seriously think that the Prime Minister consults his submarine captains on whether to release nuclear weapons...you are joking aren't you.

Of course the CO of a UK Trident sub would release nuclear weapons, if so ordered. That's his duty.



Mr Hoon is no more than a toothless tiger attempting to scare the world, his term as defence secretary was an absoulte joke.


Probably true, but your opinion of certain politicians has nothing to do with the subject at hand




I suspect that you're confusing the UK Government's possible use of nuclear weapons with the Monarch's power to declare war.

There is no confusion, if you launch a nuclear strike on someone you ARE declaring war....


Possibly ( there is the remote, but still possible, chance that the weapons were released accidently), but what of your opinion on the documents, that I've transcribed and posted on here, which prove that a nuclear strike can be launched without prior consultation with the Monarch.





Throughout the Cold War, the UK successfully operated a system which enabled the release of nuclear weapons without the need for a declaration of war.

Really? How do you suppose we could do that without actually declaring hostilities with a country or without another country declaring war on us?


You really don't understand the "bolt from the blue" or decapitation attack concept do you. Read the documents that I've posted, they explain both the concept and the UK Government's response to such a threat.

To put it simply, if the UK was attacked with a "bolt from the blue" then the niceties that you describe (consultation with the Monarch, declaration of War, etc) would be irrelevant.
Instead, the Prime Minister, or if he was not available, one of his two 'nuclear' Deputies (who in the past have been the Home Secretary and the Chancellor of the Exchequer) would order the nuclear release.

The order of priority of those who were able to order a nuclear release was: the Prime Minister; followed the two Prime Minister's Deputies (each of which were senior Government Ministers - Home Secretary, Chancellor, etc) -one of which was to be located in London, and the other at a location some 80 feet under the surface, at the alternative Central Government Headquarters, Corsham (codename at the time - BURLINGTON). If none of these could be contacted during a "bolt from the blue" attack on the UK, then permission to release nuclear weapons automatically passed to a senior member of the Military. Not the Monarch.








Thats why the UK nuclear release room (with its associated equipment) was at first situated in 10 Downing Street, and not the Palace. In the early 1970s the nuclear release room was relocated to the Cabinet Office Briefing Room (C) [situated just down the corridor to the more famous COBR(A)]

Yes and this is linked with (or atleast has been hinted at) many government bunkers, the queen is quite safe when it comes to being attacked (she has three regiments within a few miles of her for god sake and a RPG team with her at all times and her own police station!)


Which bunkers are these devilwasp. You do realise that COBR(A), (B), and (C) are not located underground don't you. They are on the ground floor of the Cabinet Office - 70 Whitehall.

And what has the Queen's safety got to do with the subject? I was demonstrating that politicians have physical control of the nuclear release equipment (COBR(C)), not the Monarch; and you seem to have gone off topic about the Queen having her own police station.






The Queen didn't figure anywhere on the nuclear release procedure....only politicians; possibly even your bete noir devilwasp - Jeff Hoon the Loon.


Unfortunatly I havent found any evidence of this, infact I have found several sources stating that the queen is still needed in a nuclear launch (or atleast one of her officers)


Er....if you had bothered to read my post, or even clicked on the links provided, you would have found all the evidence that you require.

I received my copy from the Cabinet Office late last year. It is now available for public viewing at the National Archive at Kew, London.
Its TNA piece number is CAB 21/6081

I advise you to visit TNA at Kew, I think that you'll find its quite an eye-opener.

zero lift



posted on Mar, 16 2007 @ 06:00 AM
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Originally posted by Ste2652
Whilst the House of Lords debated Iraq, they didn't get a vote on it. Similarly, whilst I'm sure the Queen made her opinions clear to the government in private, she didn't have to sign off the Iraq War because it didn't involve a formal declaration of war. That's the only time the monarch's signature is required for the deployment of British armed forces.

Yes and you doubt that launching nuclear weapons will be taken as an act of war?



Yes it would be political suicide, no the monarch can't do very much except perhaps try to derail the government's actions by speaking out against it in public. But there are no formal methods of stopping a non-declared conflict for the monarch since his/her permission is not required to deploy armed forces (even into conflict) unless a formal declaration of war is required. As far as I know, Britain has not issued a declaration of war since the end of Word War II. All Britain's actions since then have been 'police actions', or whatever euphemism you want to use.

Actually she can dissolve parliment , which would be political suicide but if she needed to she could.



Yep, the armed forces swear an oath of allegiance to the sovereign. As do MPs when they take up office. Not sure where all this coup stuff came up, though

Well you brought up the idea of abdication, IE removing the head of state.



Whilst the Royal Prerogatives include the declaration of war, they haven't included the direct control over the armed forces since Charles I. The monarch's position as commander-in-chief is purely ceremonial. After Charles was defeated during the English Civil War, the monarch's powers for controlling the military were taken away to prevent another monarch challenging Parliament's power via use of the armed forces. Though the prerogatives are pretty vague, so I imagine there might be some degree of control in there. However, all Royal Prerogatives are now exercised on the advice of the Prime Minister.

Direct control lies with the defence secretary, the PM is still only a polition and must go through proper channels before actually giving the go code. Royal prerogatives would lie under the release of nuclear weapons I believe since I doubt that thier release would be seen as anything less than full out war.



posted on Mar, 16 2007 @ 12:41 PM
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Originally posted by devilwasp
Yes and you doubt that launching nuclear weapons will be taken as an act of war?


But there's a difference between an act of war and a declaration of war - namely that the former does not require the latter. Invading Iraq was an act of war and yet there was no declaration. Launching a nuclear weapon is certainly an act of war, but for one to be launched it doesn't require war to have been declared. Let's keep in mind that Britain's nuclear weapons are to act as a deterrent - i.e. to give the UK a second strike ability if necessary, as well as (obviously) a first strike capability. Their use could simply not stand without provocation, and not because of the monarch but because of the people and because of Parliament.


Actually she can dissolve parliment , which would be political suicide but if she needed to she could.


She could, but it'd probably be too late by this time. Part of the reason for not requiring consultation with the monarch is because the order for a launch of a nuclear weapon is likely to be needed in a minute at the most if there's a nuclear missile hurtling its way towards London. There's no time to ring up Buckingham Palace to ask.


Well you brought up the idea of abdication, IE removing the head of state.


Abdication is basically resignation - the head of state would remove themselves, hence it's not a coup. A monarch could be forced to leave office, but it'd require Parliamentary approval and a majority of the UK's population too... probably a referendum nowadays.


Direct control lies with the defence secretary, the PM is still only a polition and must go through proper channels before actually giving the go code. Royal prerogatives would lie under the release of nuclear weapons I believe


I don't think that's the case - the reason it falls to the PM is because, as I said earlier, due to the nature of the UK's nuclear weapon system it is to act as a deterrent and hence its launch would probably be in response to another event... if this second event is, say, an invasion or the launch of another nuclear missile against the UK, then there's no time to go through "channels" otherwise it'd be too late. That's part of the reason for the system which Harold Macmillan worked out in the documents zero lift posted - the PM is required to take an instant decision, and if he's caught up in the blast before he can make that decision then it's the responsibility of an appointed deputy, and that person alone, to take the decision to launch nuclear weapons. Royal prerogatives probably do factor in there somewhere, but these days the Prime Minister doesn't ask the monarch before using those powers. I imagine the PM briefs the Queen about the various issues which required use of Royal Prerogatives at his meetings with her on a Tuesday evening - the only other time she's consulted about the business of government is when she has to sign Acts of Parliament into law.



posted on Mar, 16 2007 @ 03:38 PM
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Originally posted by Ste2652

I don't think that's the case - the reason it falls to the PM is because, as I said earlier, due to the nature of the UK's nuclear weapon system it is to act as a deterrent and hence its launch would probably be in response to another event... if this second event is, say, an invasion or the launch of another nuclear missile against the UK, then there's no time to go through "channels" otherwise it'd be too late. That's part of the reason for the system which Harold Macmillan worked out in the documents zero lift posted - the PM is required to take an instant decision, and if he's caught up in the blast before he can make that decision then it's the responsibility of an appointed deputy, and that person alone, to take the decision to launch nuclear weapons. Royal prerogatives probably do factor in there somewhere, but these days the Prime Minister doesn't ask the monarch before using those powers. I imagine the PM briefs the Queen about the various issues which required use of Royal Prerogatives at his meetings with her on a Tuesday evening - the only other time she's consulted about the business of government is when she has to sign Acts of Parliament into law.


Very well put Ste.


If the Soviets had ever carried out a "bolt from the blue", the scale of devastation in the UK would have been immense, and its highly likely that all normal Command and Control would have been destroyed (after all, thats why its called a decaptitation attack). The scale of the attack would have been very severe even in the 1960s, but by the 1970s it would have probably destroyed this country's ability to act as a Corporate or Governmental entity.

The Cuba Missile Crisis had proved to Machinery of Government in War committees that the then current Transition to War procedure (7 days) was far to long, and by 1963 the period of TTW (known as the Precautionary Stage) had dropped to 2 days. Even this was considered by many to be too long.

If an international crisis reached boiling point during the mid-1960s, many in MGW members considered that a 'bolt from the blue' was a likely form of attack.

This is probably what prompted the radical change from attempting to covertly transport over 3,500 Whitehall staff to the Central Government wartime HQ at Corsham - BURLINGTON. There simply wasn't enough time to accomplish the move - even though planners at the time thought that it could be accomplished in under 24 hrs!

This is also what lay behind the fact that, from at least 1968 onwards, BURLINGTON (later TURNSTILE, CHANTICLEER and PERIPHERAL) took on a different, but vital, Home Defence role.



Originally posted by devilwasp

Originally posted by zero lift
It might be a better idea for you to put speculation about the role of the Monarchy in ordering a release aside for one moment and actually study the relevant Government documents.

You mean like the emergancy powers act (have you read that?)


Er...the now defunct Emergency Powers Act has absolutely no relevance to the Monarch's role in ordering the release of nuclear weapons; the EPA's function, (along with its associated Defence Regulations) was to give the UK Government and its representatives (in a nuclear war these would be the Regional Commissioners) draconian powers over the population in an emergency. [Its interesting to note that these powers included the right for HMG to seize all personal property and shares.
]




Before you challenge others, perhaps should read the Act yourself, devilwasp. Because you may also discover that the Defence Regulations section of the EPA have never been fully published.





zero lift


[edit on 16-3-2007 by zero lift]



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