The public wants Britain to scrap the Trident nuclear missile system but believes spending on health and education should rise each year, according to a ComRes poll for The Independent. By a margin of 58 to 35 per cent, people believe that the £25bn renewal of the Trident programme should be abandoned because of the state of the public finances.
Nick Clegg announced back in June his intention to ask the party conference to rule out like-for-like Trident replacement, arguing that the recession made it unaffordable and the political situation made it unnecessary.
The Indy notes that supporters of all three main parties support scrapping Trident:
Support … is strongest among people who intend to vote Liberal Democrat (63 per cent) and Labour (61 per cent), while Tory voters are evenly divided (48 to 47 per cent in favour of scrapping it).
Only Ukip and BNP supporters are likely to favour retaining Trident (though the small sample size of the poll as it relates to individual parties means we should be cautious about drawing conclusions).
As you might expect, support for scrapping Trident is strongest among women (61-29% in favour of scrapping it) and the younger age groups – 68-31% of 18-24 year-olds, for example – though all age groups split in favour of scrapping Trident.
My one serious quibble with the poll is the question asked: ‘Given the state of the country’s finances, the Government should scrap the Trident nuclear missile system. Do you agree or disagree?’ Given we’re in the depths of a recession, this phrasing will clearly lead people to agree. If the question had asked instead, ‘Given the increase in “rogue” nation-states with nuclear capability, the Government should scrap the Trident nuclear missile system. Do you agree or disagree?’ I suspect the answers given would have been quite different.