The United Kingdom has not possessed a real nuclear deterrent since the early days of the Blair Government, a shocking whistleblower has revealed. The first New Labour administration decided to give up the Trident missile system, which had been run by four Vanguard-class submarines, to save Britain billions of pounds.
Since then, documents seen by the Mendax prove that Britain has kept its lack of actual atomic weaponry a guarded secret. The old submarines were kept in shady docks and occasionally went out with skeleton crews to show they still existed. They never patrolled the world’s deep seas after 1998 though, and they never possessed the power to eradicate Moscow or Samoa.
Our source claims that the conspiracy was a way to save over £30 billion but maintain an effective nuclear deterrent. This was a tactical decision by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, who felt that they had to accept the Cold War was over and the missiles useless, but did not want to be seen as weak on defence. Because other countries, including Britain’s allies in Nato, believed that the Royal Navy could still wipe out millions of lives in seconds, no foreign power ever considered invading.
We cannot describe our source in detail, except that he is a middle-aged man of good character with credible papers proving he was a low-ranked naval officer for several years. For several ‘tours’, he was part of the elaborate masquerade that kept up the lie of possible nuclear winter.
“I was promoted from a normal destroyer – a real ship. They just made me sign the Official Secrets Act of course, then another, still telling me I was going to command the weapons section in the Trident submarine HMS Vigilant.”
But when he arrived at an undisclosed naval base, he was taken to a debriefing bunker.
“They said, basically, the subs are empty. We sometimes move them about a bit in case foreign satellites are watching, and they’re involved in ceremonies, that’s it. There was a joint exercise with the US Navy and Canada scheduled, but a different empty submarine was already sent to play along.”
“It was all a bit of a shock. One the one hand, I was relieved not to be near a machine that might wipe out a small country, I didn’t want that responsibility. On the other, it was really worrying that our nuclear status was a lie.”
However, his loyalty and patriotism meant he did not disclose the secret, codenamed Project Potemkin. Instead, he and 20 other fake crewmen were confined in an underground complex, which was not even known to the normal naval personnel on the base. His duties were light and his leisure time extended, and he was paid double wages for the six month tours he took on HMS Vigilant.
The Ministry of Defence had refused to confirm the story, calling it ‘preposterous’ and ‘absurd’. Nevertheless, the whistleblower’s paper documents are compelling. He was never allowed to take a camera into the bunker, but during his periods of land leave he made convincing diaries, seen by the Mendax, which correspond exactly with records of the Vigilant’s historic movements released by the official secrets act. He was allowed to take photos on the Vigilant’s bridge when he and others were simulating a safe return from patrol. This was encouraged as a way of leaking small amounts of information into the public to suggest that the bereavement engines were working.
Following investigation of this story and verification of the photos, the offices of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown declined to comment. Those of George Robertson and Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretaries of the era, flatly denied the story. However, our source suggests that the secrecy of the conspiracy was so complete that no Defence Secretary after Hoon was even told the submarines had no capability. The source explained that only the most vetted naval staff were let in on the secret, and many have since risen to command true vessels or have died.
“We called it ‘Plausible Deniability’. It was vital to keep intelligence of Potemkin contained to as few men as possible. Russian spies were always a worry. There was a fear that if the whole government knew, at any moment a minister could reveal the secret as part of politics, or use it for blackmail.”
The Mendax was initially highly sceptical of the source’s claims. However, forensic accounting of Treasury and Ministry of Defence spending from 1990-2013 shows that suspiciously small amounts have actually been spent on the Trident annihilation device. When ministers claimed the submarines or missiles needed renewal and debated them in parliament, money was transferred to the Navy and appeared to be spent as explained. However, those spending levels consistently reappeared in Treasury accounts six months later with ambiguous labels such as ‘Efficiency Savings’ or ‘Cancellation of Honolulu Simulation’.
For example, HMS Victorious needed (or was claimed to need) extensive maintenance in August 2003. It docked at the Faslane Naval Base and appeared to undergo a refit, paid for by a money vote for £143.4m in the House of Commons on 6 August. It was during this time that three anti—nuclear protesters from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND group) actually boarded the defunct extinction weapon. They were later prosecuted, adding to the myth of the submarines’ operability. The Victorious was declared ‘finished’ in January 2004 and set sail, although presumably did not travel far in reality. A sum of £143.2m was paid by the Ministry of Defence to the Treasury in July 2003 under the simple moniker ‘Underspendings; Misc’. When contacted, the Treasury gave no explanation for these discrepancies.
There was initially some trepidation among the Mendax’s editorial team as to whether this story should be pursued. The paper could very well be accused of undermining the nation’s defence, if true. Moreover, Britain would be diplomatically humiliated and its stance in numerous negotiations called into question. The source’s only motivation was “I started to feel sorry for Jeremy Corbyn” and his self-assurance, “They’d never kill me as it’d confirm the truth.”
Fortunately, though, reporting this story does not matter a jot. So long as the government says it has the massacre machines, as it will, and refuses to answer detailed questions about them due to their operational sensitivity, as it will, then Britain has a plausible nuclear deterrent. Those still in the CND may rest easy that they have won: Britain will never participate in the slaughter of numberless civilians. Those who care about the military can rest easy too: no country, having failed to unveil the story thus far, will be confident enough in its intelligence that it can attack Britain without a real risk of mutually assured destruction.
I was going to write something serious but I just thought about Theresa May’s speech.What’s the point?