This is the speculation in the Independent this morning. The suggestion is that Brown has been under pressure from Chancellor Darling to change the tone on public spending or risk letting the Tories win the argument on how much the government should spend.
One of the suggestions, and it reads more as an Indie rather than government one, is that the new Trident subs will either be delayed or cancelled altogether. The cancellation of the upgrade is now Lib Dem policy. A couple of years ago we kept the option of new subs open though opposed taking the final decision on replacement until around 2014 when the international situation would be clearer. Nick swept that policy away a few weeks ago, saying that building the new subs was no longer an option. Frankly, the cost of having the symbols of a superpower without the economy of a superpower was no longer a credible option.
Whether the Indie is right on delaying or cancelling Trident is yet to be seen. My feeling is that Brown will not want to reopen the issue. The thing that most scares the Labour leadership is Labour's past. Revisiting something that was so divisive is hardly appealing to Brown and his master Mandelson.
Mind you, what are the crusty old left Labour "socialist" brethren on the backbenches to make of this? After all, a great many of them quietly trooped through the government lobby 2 years ago to vote for Trident replacement. Having swallowed their pride back then, are any of them likely to want to regurgitate it now? Not a pretty thought but perhaps they won't want to be reminded of their anti-nuclear views that still saw them vote for Trident.
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