The Reader: Need defence savings? Scrap our nuclear subs

Robert Fox does not mention the £200 billion we are spending on replacing our nuclear missile submarines [“Forget the tanker raid we could not stop — British defence has bigger issues”, August 8].

Far from being independent we have to borrow the missiles, on which to put “our” warheads, from the United States. We would do better to spend these billions on dealing with climate change and poverty.
Bruce Kent
Vice-President, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

AS Robert Fox correctly observes, maritime security and sea trade are vital to the UK, with over 90 per cent of food and energy imports being transported here by ship.

The Government should cut its losses with unsentimental defence reorganisation.

A smaller Army and RAF, that are able to fully recruit and properly defend our islands, are essential. A larger Royal Navy would match a need that politicians now acknowledge.
Lester May

EDITOR'S REPLY

Dear Bruce and Lester

You raise separate but not entirely unrelated points. They focus on priorities in defence and security policy spending.

I agree with Bruce’s point that the strategic nuclear weapon — Trident and its upgrade — should be up for major assessment in the 2020 review. But it isn’t. We will surely have to consider the strategic worth of the project when we reach the “inflection point” of 2024 and are faced with new threats and technologies. But we are in an age of nuclear proliferation — look at the US and Russian ditching the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty. There is, too, the likelihood of new and non-state players adopting nuclear weapons.

On the subject of depleting the RAF and Army budgets to boost the Navy, Lester, I don’t think it helps to rob Peter to pay Paul.

More urgently, we need combined service budgets, not separate ones, and a proper joint chiefs of staff forum.

Robert Fox, Defence Editor

Farage, a royal embarrassment

Ignoring the utter tosh reported as being part of an after-dinner speech by Nigel Farage [“Harry’s Lost it with Megan”, August 12], he should at least get his facts right. The late Queen Mother was not an HRH as he said but, previously being Queen Consort, kept her HM title for life, while for Prince Harry to become king in his own right, it would need not only the demise of Princes Charles and William, but also the three Cambridge children.

As to HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother being a chain smoker, I can’t comment, but if she was, living to the grand age of 101 while smoking thus, surely means that the royals are an altogether higher plane and her memory deserves not to be sullied by the likes of Mr Farage.
Roger Francis

Meghan is the best newcomer to the royal family of my 63-year lifetime. I don’t think many Londoners would quarrel with that. Nigel Farage, on the other hand, looks and sounds like a horse’s behind.
Christopher Manthorp

Opera tickets can be fantastic value

Hugh Jenkins is mistaken in his assertion that opera tickets at ENO are overpriced [“Swap TV for opera — not for £50 seats,” August 12].

Over the past 15 years tickets have been available for as little as £15 on the day and under £28 if you book in advance.

These have been for adults and have allowed me to take literally hundreds of people to see quality shows as a teacher, and not always with a group discount which is additionally available.

It is really unfair to read a misrepresentation of English National Opera in this way. It is a credit to the more affordable cultural aspects of London.
Mark Emson


Regarding Mr Jenkins’ letter on the price of tickets at ENO (Swap TV for opera – not for £50 seats), he should know that you can buy a seat for as little as £10 – a scheme we launched in April this year to ensure everyone can afford to see our productions. He could also buy a Secret Seat for just £30 and potentially be seated in one of our top priced seats.

And if he has friends or relatives not yet able to vote he can get them free tickets as part of our scheme aimed at Under 18s.​
Carolyn Sims, Director of Marketing, ENO

Which votes deserve respect?

ANDY Ranger “and all other like-minded people” (his phrase, responding to Richard Grant) need to explain how another general election is different to another referendum [“UK thrived before EU and can again”, The Reader, August 12]. Both would change or confirm the result of the most recent vote. Boris Johnson’s top aide, Dominic Cummings, says his boss thinks politicians “don’t get to choose which votes they respect”. Why is a general election more worthy of respect than a referendum? ​
Rog Laker