back to article Vote Lib Dem, doom humanity to extinction

Tomorrow is election day, and on most issues the politicians aren't offering you any clear choices. Nobody's being open regarding what they'll do about the public finances, for instance: more than one politician has revealed total ignorance combined with terrifying eagerness to make policy. But on one issue there is a clear …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Can't score a penalty how do think England would hit an asteroid with a nuke?

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Thank you

    For that, but please stick to IT news, its what you are ok at.

  3. Anonymous Coward


    Nukes are really going to deter a nation of suicide bombers ....... Get Real FFS

    The USA is really going to let us retaliate with weapons they effectively control if we have already been attacked .... same applies

    So when would we use these expensive luxuries ... first strike .. like they'll let that happen.

  4. nigel 15

    unusual pice for the reg.

    but i completely agree with it.

    1. ThomH Silver badge


      U r a IT news fanboi hahahaha.

      There you go, now this reads like some of El Reg's recent articles and most of the comments posted after any story that involves that fruity company.

    2. IanPotter

      Re: WTF

      "The USA is really going to let us retaliate with weapons they effectively control if we have already been attacked"

      The US do not (contrary to popular belief) have final control over the UK's nuclear weapons. As I understand it each submarine commander has sealed orders from the serving PM defining what the commander should do in the event of the destruction of the UK. That may be "submit to the control of the US" but may it may not. If the instruction is to fire on an identified attacker then the submarine can strike with no further input from anyone. British nuclear doctrine has for a long time been based on the idea that a US president could be unwilling to risk his own country on the behalf of an ally that was already a smoking cinder.

      Unlike France the UK system is not truly "independent" as most of the technology is American even if the warheads are built in the UK, but saying the Americans "control" it at an operational level is just plain wrong.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        the moon is made of blue cheese.

        Do you seriously belive that the USA would sell us dangerous toys that we may use to start a world wide conflict that could lead to their destruction without having some way of stopping it.

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: And

          Jesus wept! I'd have thought an IT site would have a readership who understood that physical access to the hardware gives you total control. Even if the US *had* inserted something into the control systems of the ICBMs, they've been in our possession for some years now and you can be damn sure that we have the only key and once they are launched they stay launched.

          You'll be telling me next that JFK was bumped off by the Lizard People.

        2. IanPotter
          Black Helicopters

          RE: And

          I can and do:

          The Tridents themselves are drawn from a common pool with the with US navy and get replaced from that when they go back for maintenance so any "technological" method you allude to would also be present in their own missiles. I doubt they would like that idea either. The warheads are made here (to a US design, probably) Nor are they dependant on the GPS system being inertially guided.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Well, given that we had already developed and deployed those weapons independently...


    3. Peter2 Silver badge

      Re: WTF.

      The USA does *not* have any control over our nuclear weapons. If we decide to land a spread of warheads over the USA then the subs could easily land a warhead on the Whitehouse lawn without leaving the Clyde.

      Yes, although we could do it we wouldn't because the US could do the same to London. But hey, that's deterrence and not any fault of the weapon system.

      The vaunted "control" over our weapon system is the fact that we bought Trident from the US. That's it.

      The USA has the same level of control over our warheads as your stationary supplier has over your pen. They don't have a key or any such like nonsense. The only people that say we do are just sprouting the usual "it's pointless" propaganda from the CND.

      Trident is not an "expensive" luxury at £25 billion over it's when compared to £186 billion of benefits payments. A year. In fact, I think you'll agree it looks downright trivial.

      And if you come back with the tired argument that international trade will prevent wars in the future, please look up who Nazi Germany's biggest trading partner was before the start of WW2. Given that trade didn't seem to protect France, I think i'll place my faith in the ability to reduce any possible aggressor to a molten crater. It's the golden standard of ensuring that we won't see another generation conscripted and sent to fight in a world war. Massive conscript armies are simply pointless in the face of nuclear weapons, and long may it remain the case.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Your right, shame this lot as no idea what they are talking about...

        ...beyond what they read in the papers.

        I’m afraid the average intelligence in the IT community is somewhat lower than that id expected, Peter2 you are indeed correct but i don’t think people on here have the first clue on anything Historical so we are at a loss on this one, but just think, if this lot get there way in 10 years or 50 years or 150 years’ time if the world goes tits up and hundreds of Millions die because of their ignorance we can sit back on whatever seat we reside and hope they feel a level of guilt, of course they will probably blame it on someone else but that is there nature.

        If only they would realise that the future is uncertain that no amount of thinking and forward planning can take every possible eventuality in to account, they would see how much of a gamble removing our Nukes is, as I’ve said in my big post somewhere below Removing them potentially gambles with Millions of lives vs. the slow but steady increase in world stability since the two wars, and not one of you can say I’m wrong,

  5. Daniele Procida

    Daily-Mail-style-ludicrous-hyperbole warning required

    This really has to be one of the daftest pieces of political writing the Register has published in a long time.

    Lewis Page is coming dangerously close to having a single-issue bee in his bonnet.

    I'd suggest that anyone who thinks that space migration or nuclear missiles are amongst the country's most urgent priorities needs to have his head examined, but I wouldn't go anywhere near it until that ridiculous bee has been dealt with.

  6. Ash 5
    Thumb Down

    Crap article

    Take a flimsy interpretation of Lib Dem policy and then extrapolate it to an absurd and illogical conclusion. Base your entire argument on the absurd and illogical conclusion.

    Between Orlowski and Page this website is becoming increasingly shite.

  7. Angus Nicolson

    Blindly pro-nuclear

    Masterful analysis that fails to explain the slight logical problem that none of those countries who *might* just try to nuke us have weapons delivery systems that can make this happen.

    Never mind, Trident will defend us against the much more probable dirty bomb delivered by hand, won't it???

  8. akicif

    Don't vote liberal or we'll shoot your straw dog?

    Oh dear. Those reasons for not voting Lib Dem would be very good reasons indeed if the LDs were in Opposition and in danger of achieving actual power on their own.

    But as the very best they can hope for is to be the minor party in a coalition, and that after a certain amount of wheeling and dealing, there's no danger of one of the two big parties agreeing to those particular planks of the LD platform when it so contradicts their own.

    To be honest, it all seems much of a piece with the Murdoch press's scare-mongering, designed to hand power over to Cameron's cronies: if you want a Tory Government, fine - just don't pretend that's not what you're after.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Paid per comment?

    2. Stewart Stevens
      IT Angle


      Perhaps the techies could provide a filter to block out Orlowski and Page articles.

      There had to be a an IT angle there somewhere!

    3. ThomH Silver badge

      How I'd play it if I were a Lib Dem, assuming the poll numbers are correct

      (1) become a coalition partner with whichever party will agree to any of the floated ideas for electoral reform;

      (2) get the electoral reform passed based;

      (3) find a suitable moral issue such as Trident to act as a pretext for walking out of the coalition;

      (4) wait for the inevitable early election and grab a hundred or more extra seats under the new rules.

      The Lib Dems with just about 100 more seats are as large as the Conservatives were post-1997 and post-2001.

    4. The Original Steve


      "Between Orlowski and Page this website is becoming increasingly shite."

      See title

      1. Gerard Krupa

        Ask and you shall receive

        Just install the Greasemonkey on your browser and add the following user script...

        var author = document.evaluate("//p[@class='byline']/a/text()", document, null, XPathResult.ORDERED_NODE_SNAPSHOT_TYPE, null);

        if (author.snapshotItem(0) != null) {

        var name = author.snapshotItem(0).textContent;

        if (name == "Lewis Page" || name == "Andrew Orlowski") {

        document.getElementById("body").innerHTML = "<p>I just couldn't give a toss what " + name + " has to say.</p>";



        1. Stewart Stevens



          1. Anonymous Coward
            Thumb Up

            Another alternative

            You could just stick your fingers in your ears and go "la-la-la" really loudly.

            Keep it up El Reg, hopefully the whining little frigtards here will eventually sod off somewhere else.

      2. Andrew Smith

        there won't be an election over nuclear!

        Since we're talking coalition government here, technocratic (i.e. big and bloody complicated) matters such as this were the partners disagree will be put to official review and a compromise deal reached. Any party that forces an election over subjects such as this will feel the full fury of the public who would be rather that the new series of Apprentice was not delayed again. With both the other parties broadly agreeing on these matters the Lib Dems would be obliterated if they tried to take it to the electorate.

        The Lib Dem base might grumble and mutter into their beards when their policies are brushed under the carpet but they'll have PR, a fairer tax system and a hand in many other policies.

  9. Anonymous Coward


    Makes me wonder how Germany, Canada, Sweden, Australia, Norway, et al ............ survive!

    1. Glyn 2


      This is true, but they've not annoyed as many nasty people as we have by asking "how high?" when the yanks say "jump"

      Me, I think it's a little bit hypocritical to have a go at Iran and whatnot for wanting weapons that we have, we're hardly couched in the Chair of Righteousness are we ;)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: Really

      By staying (relatively) neutral maybe?

      1. Anonymous Coward


        there's a plan!!

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Some balance please

    Cameron is a toff cock and Brown thinks ID cards are a good idea.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    No need to nuke

    If the UK needs to import 65% of its power, there is no need to nuke. Just switch the power off at source and wait.

    We are now a minor nation, little more than a laughing stock, £11billion in debt (most probably to the Chinese), we encourage tax evasion and grant privileges to the rich (who then rape our assets and avoid tax).

    The days of Empire are long gone, it's time we realised that our place is to do what America (or China) tells us and shut up. Unless we get a parliament with some balls and integrity.

    And judging from the candidates the parties have put forward, there's not a hope in hell of that happening. Even if it did, the unelected quangos in the EU (who meet in secret, of course) would attempt to block any actual change.

    "Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the bathtub.

    [And a borrowed bathtub at that.]

    Britons are now slaves.

    [Thanks to Brown, Blair, Mandelson et al]"

  12. Naughtyhorse

    Not an end to the brit space race!!!

    I can understand an ex-warmonger like yourself (subs by any chance?) being in favour of big bangs, the bigger the better. But we really dont need a nuclear deterent. the USSR is gone, and the loons currently trying to get into that game will not be deterred by anything.

    The greatest risk to the UK is now and always was friendly fire. and if you are proposing we get tooled up to parity with the inbreds across the pond, you are barking.

    Best way to reduce friendly fire - change our friends.

    Power stations - fair point we are in the brown stuff now and it will only get worse and nukes are the only sensible way to go.

    the british space programme


    it that really the best you can do.

    in space no one can hear you laugh

    1. Jimmy Floyd
      Thumb Up

      More balancing

      As heard on the Tube t'other day (the utterance came from someone not entirely sober):

      "This election is between the toffs and the chavs, so I'm voting Lib Dem."

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Go check your debt figures

      It is closer to £1 trillion.

    3. Sooty

      Don't be silly

      <daily mail mode>

      We just need to get all the poor people to run on giant treadmills to generate power, make them work for their dole money.

      </daily mail mode>

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    yay for reg commenters

    good on all the other commenters pointing out what a crock of shit this article is.

    Really, if you want to attack a party for being in any way "anti-science" you should be pointing the gun at the conservatives and their christian-powered, devoid of fact or reason policy machine.

  14. tgm

    doomed to humanity

    Possibly the worst piece I have read on the reg for some time - I thought the Sun was good at scaremongering but this takes the biscuit.

    Welcome Lewis to my new ignore list - you and Orlowski will be very happy together.

    Many more articles like this and I'll be setting my homepage to the bbc instead.

  15. GrumpyJoe

    Let me join the chorus of...

    WTF? If we have to vote for the least-worst party, then the Lib Dems get my vote - I'm FOR nuclear power but taken as a whole their policies match me the closest.

    Trident - WHO are we threatening again? I'd be really intersted to see where those Nukes are pointed at, I really would. It's the equivalent of the Tanks at Heathrow after 9/11 (remember those?). Bluster.

    Yes some of the LD policies do not match my own but nobody is going to fit me precisely, and policies can change in the light of reality.

    Your article is a charter for 'Don't bother' politics really - shafted if you try, shafted if you don't.

  16. Leo Rampen
    Thumb Down

    Considerable flaws

    There's a lot of reasons this article is flawed, not all of which I can address. I can however address a fair few of them.

    Firstly: Professor McKays book, while an incredibly interesting read and definitely recommended, simply adds up the cost of our current lifestyle and then looks for power to keep it going. The book doesn't address many energy saving measures, and so the claims that the UK would need to be packed to the rafters with wind turbines are somewhat redundant.

    Secondly: Nuclear power is prohibitively expensive. We don't realise this now, because the last power stations were built over 40 years ago. Nuclear power has benefited from huge government subsidies, in the form of various nuclear related agencies, limits to public liability insurance, and because of the by products it can produce. Without such subsidies, the economic viability of it is questionable. Nuclear power is inherently linked into the government, and so benefits from a lot of public agencies. If new power stations were solely public affairs, and these costs were taken into account in the cost of electricity, then this wouldn't be so bad, but the fact that new nuclear power stations would likely be private companies means that the government is essentially giving them a free ride.

    The article discusses some pretty fanciful things, like space flight, destroying asteroids and technology development. There are a number of problems with your arguments here as well.

    If there is an asteroid threatening the earth, the UK is unlikely to be the one called on to provide a nuclear strike. Given that we have no space program whatsoever (due to labour and conservative governments), it is highly unlikely we would have any real input on the matter, trident or not. Trident isn't capable of destroying asteroids anyway, so the point is pretty much moot.

    Without a space program, the UK is unlikely to explore other planets. This is pretty much unrelated to civil nuclear power. The nuclear power used by spaceships is very much unlike that used for civil power, and the two have very little bearing on each other. If the UK chose to not use nuclear power, it would have no effect on the development of small scale nuclear reactors for space ships.

    Finally, suggesting that voting for the lib dems tomorrow will result in the entirety of humanity becoming extinct is pushing it a bit even for the register. Voting Lib Dem will *not* cause humanity to die out due to asteroids, and is likely to have no affect on any space programmes anywhere in the world (given that we don't have one anyway). It will, however, bring the electoral reform this country needs. It will reduce the number of stupid databases the government holds. It will ensure that the poor are protected from poverty, it will bring a fairer tax system, and it will bring the governmental shakeup that this country needs.

    This article is mostly crap, with a smidgeon of idiocy mixed in. I understand that (for some reason) the register has a right wing political agenda (has anyone ever got to the bottom of why an IT news site catering to educated professionals is so right wing/climate change denying?), but that doesn't really mean you should push utter tripe onto your readership.

  17. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Down


    Has the Reg been bought out by Murdoch or something?

    Lewis Page is looking more and more like a militant nutcase.

  18. Tom 15


    Yet more dribble from El Reg that shows why it should stick to IT news rather than the political campaigning that this place has turned into... all three main parties are pro long-term disarmament but believe we should maintain a nuclear deterrent for the foreseeable future. All they disagree on is what form it should take; Labour and the Tories go on about the up-and-coming review of our seriously out-dated military but they've already committed them to an over-priced and out-dated nuclear deterrent in a form that is of no use to us. Having a single submarine at sea with our nuclear deterrent on simply gives us a single point of failure for our entire future safety, much more logical to have a good few land launched ICBMs or the ability to mount it to Eurofighters/F-35s as that way it can be kept separate, isolated and safe.

    As for nuclear power, I do overall agree with you that nuclear power is a necessary way forward but the Lib Dems raise the very good point that the lights are probably going to go out in 2014 but we're not going to get a new nuclear power station until at least 2018.

    As for the rest of it, they're hardly priorities.

  19. Roger Paul


    I'm glad that was marked as opinion, because a lot of it seemed to be making some pretty big assumptions. Like everyone else I'll just put in my worthless two penneth and sacrifice it to the internet gods.

    I think the commitment from the Lib Dems is that the Trident system will be added to the list of things discussed in the next strategic defence review, something all parties believe needs to be done I might add, and have merely suggested that there may be alternatives. No commitment to scrap, but equally no commitment for a like for like replacement.

    I also find it difficult (not impossible mind,) to imagine a genuine need for an exchange of nuclear arms on any kind of scale. Lets take the implausable scenario of a radical state developing a nuclear capability and producing a lone long range nuclear weapon. Lets further assume they detonate it over Birmigham. Would we retalliate? Realistically? And assuming we did, I think its safe to say that the UK's nuclear arsenal would be fully to committed to retaliation. Even if this system had been downgraded to cruise missiles and similar systems I think there'd be more than enough firepower to effectively delete a country.

    Again, I just don't see it as a likely scenario anyway. I certainly can't envision a scenario when a nation with a nuclear arsenal would start firing weapons off willy nilly as there are no illusions as to the consequences that would hold for their own nation.

    I'm trying to think of a nation with that kind of capability and the will to do it. Iran and North Korea are the obvious choices but their programs are very much in their infancy, despite what they want the world to believe. If someone knows better or can think of another nation with any sort of capability and the political will to cause problems for the UK please say.

    Personally I think nuclear power is the way forward so the Lib Dems and I disagree wholeheartedly on that point, but I think the automatic assumption that an unwillingness to invest in it will lead to power shortages and some kind of Heath Robinson-esque power system from overseas are a bit far fetched. It's easy enough to play the 'Bah, they're all pliticians' card, but I think common sense comes into play at some point, even for those with moat cleaning bills.

  20. stu 4


    what a bunch of absolute mince.

    Lewis - meet Andrew, Andrew, this is Lewis. Welcome to my kill file. you'll find refreshments on the side table. some might taste a little aniseedy...

  21. Simon Zerafa

    Well I would have to question your assumptions ...

    Why would cancelling or scrapping Trident rule out a keeping nuclear deterrent?

    ICBM's are inflexible and only really good for blowing the crap out of entire cities or most likely whole countries. They are good as a deterrent and that's about all they are good for. Anyone who actually uses one sign's their own death warrant. That's the MAD concept. Even the soviets got that.

    The chances that a country would launch a huge attack against any one else is now very small. The most likely cause would be an accident or a rogue element in the military.

    More worrying are terrorists and given their tendency for stupidity, it's a wonder that one of those missing soviet brief-case nukes hasn't been used before now. Difficult to trace and who do you attack in retaliation?

    Why not replace Trident with a more flexible missle system which has options to launch various precision non-nuclear weapons as well as lower yield nuclear weapons? Something small and stealthy and keeps the enemy guessing would be ideal lauchable from subs and aircraft would be super.

    With modern accuracy you don't need megaton weapons to cause serious damage; surgical strikes against infrastructure would be more effective in the short and medium term. The soviets want for big bangs because their accuracy was very low.

    However any use of a nuclear option, even in retaliation might well cause such a backlash from around the world politically and economically that it's use might not be worth the consequences.

    Conventional weapons can cause enough damage to make an enemy think twice about attacking. And we are not even taking about bio-weapons or nano-tech which would be far more scary.

    An EMP weapon detonated at 10 - 20 miles up would force most modern countries back to the 17th century for a while; probably at least a generation. Screw up their banking systems for long enough and they would be on their knees in quick order. Back to barter and exchange of gold / silver coins etc.

    All of those older generation of Plutonium based or triggered weapons can be recycled into new lower power options and civilian power sources at lower cost then having to make the stuff from scratch and keeps the stuff locked up away from terrorists.

  22. Robert Carnegie Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    I thought the Lib Dems were the only ones even thinking about the asteroid problem.

    Also, from your argument that no one would attack a nuclear-armed nation, nor, on the other hand, would NATO allies retaliate against an attack on any member - despite that being precisely what NATO is for - you've just proved that the 9/11 attacks in the nuclear-armed U.S. did not happen, nor did Britain go to war in Afghanistan and, for some reason presumably, Iraq, last decade, on account of our NATO mamber obligation.. Well done, I must have dreamed it. What a relief.

    As for nuclear power plants, economically they are mainly used for manufacture of nuclear weapons. Without the military cross-subsidy they are basically unaffordable.

    Mine's the dirty-bomb hazmat suit.

    1. The Original Ash

      Aniseed is fine

      Watch out for almonds, though. Death Cap fungi smell of almonds and honey.

      Wait, doesn't cyanide taste of aniseed? I forget.

    2. Professor Tinklepants

      I was going to up-vote you...

      ....til the climate change dig.

      There's absolutely nothing wrong with questioning the consensus and looking at the actual science.

      Sure, El Reg can be a little one-sided on the subject but I haven't seen any other 'mainstream' news site doing any real questioning at all.

      1. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

        Nope, almonds.

        The flavour of almonds actually comes from hydrocyanic acid, which is what you get when you dissolve hydrogen cyanide in water.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Can we also have a kill file

      For whining Commentards?

      Good work Lewis.

    4. Anton Ivanov

      The nukes are pointed solely at Russia

      The subs are stationed in the Atlantic and do not venture outside the few thousand clicks kill zone from which they can nuke Moscow. The Trident range is 7400 for the original one and 12000 for the "improved". I suspect that this is down-rotation figures so they are a 1K or so less shooting counter the earth rotation.

      In order to have a working nuclear deterrent in todays day and age Britain either has to develop proper ICBMs with "anywhere on Earth" range, position extra 3-4 subs so it can have some stationed in the Indian or Pacific Ocean or simply make it realistically limited - sized up for North Korea, Pakistan or the like and not for USSR, USA, China or France.

      Trident as current, updated or envisaged is an obsolete weapon and its ability to retaliate at "anyone launching an attack" is vastly overrated. There is simply not enough of them out on active duty to cover the currently known "anyones". ICBM or long range cruise missile bearing frigate fleet or train-based whole-planet range ICBMs are probably better suited for today's world.

    5. Anonymous Coward

      @ Leo Rampden

      I'm sorry but claims that the UK would need to be packed to the rafters to have any credible energy input from wind turbines are not redundant in the slightest. It comes down to simple maths:

      In 2004 the UK generated 382.7 TWh of electricity. For the sake of argument I'll agree with your "energy saving measures" and work on the principle we could save 50% of electricty through those measures. Using the 2004 figures that means we would need to generate 191.35 TWh of electricty. Say we wanted to generate half of this through wind power we would need to generate 95.68 TWh from turbines. Your average onshore wind turbine is rated at 2MW (yes, I know offshore turbines can be rated up to 6MW, but bear with me), and is about 25% efficient i.e. accross a 24 hr period it's average generation will be 0.5 MW. This means that in 24 hrs your 25% efficient 2MW turbine will generate 12 MWh, accross a year this equates to 4,380 MWh of electricty. To produce the 95.68 TWh (or 95,680,000 MWh) mentioned above would require no less than 21,844 turbines. This equates to 50% of our required electricty assuming we can cut our electricty use by 50% (impossible IMO). Don't even get me started on what happens when the wind stops blowing or everyone moves to electric cars!


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