Wednesday, September 1, 2010

RAF Cosford Cold War Museum and C.N.D.

I have often stood at the train station at Cosford waiting to go to London at 6.17am and thought "I must make some time to take the kids to the Cold War Museum".

The Cold War Museum is the 1st place in my life I have ever actively wanted to pay for parking. They don't charge for entry, but they do charge for parking which I thought was very reasonable indeed.

I would really recommend it as a day out for any age. Aircraft that I had only heard about were on display and it really kept a 4 and 6 year olds interest, got them asking lots of questions and was a fun day. Even on a bank holiday weekend it was not heaving.

While this has been funded in part by the RAF, one of the exhibitions about the Cuban Missile Crisis makes it clear how lucky was are to be here at all and more significant why a civilian head of state has the ultimate decision on the use of weapons. The exhibition made it very clear that the U.S. military were spoiling for a fight and would have started bombing if given the chance. Made we wonder how many people would join C.N.D. if they had an enrollment campaign outside this exhibition.

Sir Humphrey: With Trident we could obliterate the whole of Eastern Europe.
Jim Hacker: I don't want to obliterate the whole of Eastern Europe.
Sir Humphrey: It's a deterrent.
Jim Hacker: It's a bluff. I probably wouldn't use it.
Sir Humphrey: Yes, but they don't know that you probably wouldn't.
Jim Hacker: They probably do.
Sir Humphrey: Yes, they probably know that you probably wouldn't. But they can't certainly know.
Jim Hacker: They probably certainly know that I probably wouldn't.
Sir Humphrey: Yes, but even though they probably certainly know that you probably wouldn't, they don't certainly know that, although you probably wouldn't, there is no probability that you certainly would.

It did make me think that an M.P. who wants to vote on the Trident replacement should visit the Cold War Museum. In part to get a sense of the history of M.A.D., but also to see how relatively small some of the bombs which carried 1970's nuclear warheads and ask the question "why do we need such big and expensive submarines to deliver such small warheads". The decision to have a nuclear deterrent or not and what form it takes are 2 very different questions which should be considered in isolation. History can't give us a definitive answer to the 1st question, but it does help with the 2nd.

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