France has offered to create a joint UK-French nuclear deterrent by sharing submarine patrols, the Guardian has learned.Yes it's expensive, but, considering the fact that many countries out there are developing a nuclear option probably necessary. As even if they manage to disable or take out a land target, they'll never know where or when our revenge will come from, that's the whole point of deterrence. Yet if we share patrols we also agree to take on the interests of the French, whose interests are not and have not ever been in ours. We may share common ground, but we certainly don't have the same world view or same purpose in government. This would leave us having to consult or perhaps get permission to use our forces in our best interests, which may not be in the interests of our EU neighbours, certainly wasn't during the last Falklands war when the Belgians refused to supply us with ammo.
Officials from both countries have discussed how a deterrence-sharing scheme might work but Britain has so far opposed the idea on the grounds that such pooling of sovereignty would be politically unacceptable.
In a speech this morning in London, Gordon Brown said he had agreed to further nuclear co-operation with France last week after talks with Nicolas Sarkozy. The prime minister did not comment explicitly about submarines, saying only that the UK and France would both retain "our independent nuclear deterrent".
Britain and France each maintain "continuous at-sea deterrence", which involves running at least one nuclear-armed submarine submerged and undetected at any given time. It is a hugely expensive undertaking, and its usefulness in a post-cold war world has long been questioned by disarmament campaigners.
Personally I think all our military needs should be produced here and under our control, even if made under license, certainly at least the ammo. We should however remove the military procurement regime from the MOD, if we need to buy, let us get the best value for money, if it means buying from abroad (helicopters and the like) see if we can build here under license, but get it here, train our people again in manufacture and keep the EU at arms length on the one part of our sovereignty that allows us to defend ourselves.