• Nuclear Threats / Time

    Mid Devon Advertiser
    27 October 2017

    Nuclear threats

    The giant American aircraft carrier Ronald Regan is currently in the Yellow Sea as North Korean Special Forces have been spotted close to the Northern Limit Line – a sea border between North and South Korea. The two Koreas are still – even long after the active fighting of the early 1950s – technically at war as there was no peace treaty at that time - just a cessation of hostilities. The Regan carries 90 war plans and is manned by 3,500 US sailors, a number that approaches the population of a small town. Its presence speaks of the fact that America and the West take the nuclear threat from North Korea with the utmost seriousness. Pyongyang’s continued testing of ballistic missiles which might soon be capable of delivering nuclear warheads to America’s West coast and Europe no longer carries any sense of scaremongering – repeated nuclear tests and missile launches demonstrate that Kim Jong Un is not far from possessing this frightening capability. And it is hard to see how the North’s headlong pursuit of intercontinental nuclear weapons can be halted. Any invasion of the North would lead to an instant attack by 25,000 North Korean artillery pieces on the Southern capital Seoul – with a population of 25 million, the death and destruction of just an hour’s conflict is barely imaginable. China has upped her sanctions on her errant ally but for Pyongyang whose attainment of nuclear weapons is tantamount to a national religion this is not going to yield quick results. Most of us would agree that we want a world without nuclear weapons but at a time like this I am thankful that we have our nuclear deterrent. Such a deterrent can never fully remove the risk of being caught up in a nuclear strike but it does lengthen the odds on that happening – something that at this particular time is especially important.


    From my window at the Treasury I have a long clear view of Big Ben. Looking up at that iconic timepiece always returns me to my late grandparents on my mother’s side. They lived in a council house on an estate in Brentford and, as a young boy, I remember being told that clocks were an unaffordable luxury as my grandfather stepped out into the garden to check the time via the clock face atop the nearby Gillette factory tower. For Big Ben the chimes died when they commenced its restoration and, apart from a cameo appearance at New Year they may remain silent for years to come. My grandfather, a quiet and special man, passed away too young over 40 years ago. But I sometimes conjure him again, looking up from his garden, to the nearby factory tower and wonder what he might think of me doing something similar though under different circumstances. Another time and another place. He might be proud although I think he was most likely a Labour Party man at heart. I loved him and sadly I will never know.