MPs will vote soon on the next stage of Trident, Britain’s so-called nuclear deterrent.
The outcome is not in doubt, because many Labour MPs will support the government’s £80 billion programme to retain “the British bomb.”
And puce-faced Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has already jumped the gun, authorising £640 million spending on renewal.
But the argument, like the debate over Europe, isn’t over. It will only end when the nuclear submarines are as much museum pieces as Vulcan bombers.
Quite probably not even then, because the issue arouses so much passion, with those for and against implacably, irrationally obsessed with the rightness of their views.
In my view, both sides are wrong. The pro-bomb camp are daft to believe that British ministers exclusively control this instrument of Armageddon. The anti-camp deceive themselves if they think it can be wished away.
And it’s not a British bomb. It’s an American bomb. It’s inconceivable that politicians in Whitehall could launch Trident missiles without express authority from the White House.
As security chiefs warned this week, today’s threat to the UK comes from Islamic terrorists, not from the Kremlin. The 7/7 bombers who struck in London came from Yorkshire. So, do we nuke Leeds?
However, the ban-bombers are living in a fool’s paradise of pacifism. No fully-fledged nuclear power has ever given it up, and none is likely to. We have to live with the bomb.
That being so, what’s the point of Jeremy Corbyn’s unilateralist stance? He might change Labour Party policy – though that’s not a given.
But he’ll never change what has been the settled will of Parliament for decades, nor is he likely to convince the British public.
So, why bother? Why open up Labour to the false Tory charge of being “unpatriotic” over defence? Why continue to make this an electorally-fatal Achilles heel?
Reluctantly, I say give the brass hats their ultra-lethal boys’ toys, and concentrate on winning the election for the good of British society. For the NHS, for rights at work, for jobs, for a stable economy, for state education – all more important than this obsession with Dr Strangelove.
Not even the Russians wanted us to give up the bomb, back in the 1950’s. If they could cope at the height of the Cold War, I think we can cope now.
Olympics fears over conditions in Brazil
Brazil? Isn’t that where the nuts go to?
I’ve been there. It’s a mess. Colourful, exuberant, sexy and vibrantly musical, but a mess all the same.
TV footage of soldiers fumigating the favellas – shanty towns – to stamp out mosquitoes with the zika virus that causes shrunken baby heads reassures nobody.
To be on the safe side, Britain’s Olympic managers thought about shifting the national team to another country before the summer Games.
Excellent idea, but they’ll have to go a long way – further than mosquitoes can fly or hitch a ride. I know : how about England?
Good climate, lots of indoor training facilities. Just turn the heat up, get in the potted palms and Bob’s your uncle - a perfect facsimile of Brazil.
In fact, why not move the whole shebang back to London and stage brilliant 2012 all over again!
Is controversy Geoffrey Boycott's middle name?
Controversy must be Geoffrey Boycott’s middle name.
His mooted return to the board of Yorkshire County Cricket Club has stirred a hornet’s nest of Tyke trouble.
“The last thing I want is trouble. I’m 75 years of age and I need trouble like I need a hole in the head,” insists the bashful batsman.
But trouble does seem to have a habit of following him around. His candidature in this month’s postal ballot of club members prompted chairman Steve Denison to condemn his return as “counter-productive” and “destabilising.”
Boycott bleats that he doesn’t want to interfere with the cricket, merely to champion members’ interests and help dig the club out of a £20m debt hole.
Piquancy is added by the fact that Boycott is standing against business hero Sir Gary Verity, an up-and-coming rival for the even more exalted position of Greatest Living Yorkshireman.
I wonder what Sir Michael Parkinson, another GLY-candidate and Dickie Bird, MBE, MLF (Most Loved Yorkshireman) think of all this kerfuffle? No doubt we will hear in due course.
By comparison with the deadly serious business of Yorkshire cricket, the war in Syria looks like a side-show.
Huddersfield firm acquires Thomas Crapper and Co
The Crappers are coming home, after a fashion.
Huddersfield-based Hartford Holdings have acquired Thomas Crapper & Co, who started making bathroom fittings in the 1860’s in Yorkshire.
Production will remain in Stratford on Avon, and I was disappointed to learn that Thomas didn’t invent the flush toilet, as popularly believed. That was the brainchild of another local inventor, Joseph Bramah, in 1778.
But Crapper did give us the ballcock, for which we must be eternally grateful - until it goes wrong, as it habitually does.
"Pigs might fly" jibe over transport plans
Transport for the North, a powerless quango, says the government must spend £19 billion on a new railway across the Pennines, cutting journey times between Leeds and Manchester to 30 minutes.
The rest of their remarks was drowned out by the noise of pigs flying overhead in tight formation.
Driverless lorry warning
A Google Lexus driverless car caused a crash while on trial in California. It was only doing 2mph and damage was slight, but it was the computer wot done it.
The company has since tweaked the software, explaining :”From now on our cars will more deeply understand that buses and other large vehicles are less likely to yield to us than other types of vehicles.”
Come again? If this gobbledegook means anything, it means they’re not safe to be on the roads.
Yet our government plans to test driverless lorries on a stretch of the M6 this year, with “platoons” of ten computer-controlled juggernauts travelling in automated convoys.
Imagine trying to overtake that lot. And people wonder why I don’t drive.
Success of the baby boomers
The generation born in the immediate post-war years – so-called “baby boomers” - feel more cheerful, confident, optimistic, relaxed and useful after they hit 70.
That’s according researchers at the University of London who questioned 3,000 people born in 1946.
Well, pointy-heads, it all depends on your state of health and what you do for a living. Construction workers and others in physically-demanding jobs are usually knackered by the time they reach their biblical span of three score years and ten.
And now the Tories are talking about raising the state pension age from 67 to 70 or even 75. So, not much cheerfulness, confidence and relaxation for a lot of coming septuagenarians.