Independent – 12 September 1990
Bruce Kent asks (10 September) if "Mrs Thatcher's laudable commitment to non-proliferation signals he long-awaited conversion to the cause of nuclear disarmament. Yet, who has been awaiting this conversion? Certainly not the British voting public, which in survey after survey have confirmed their determination to keep a nuclear deterrent as long as other countries have the ability to attack us with weapons of mass destruction.
If, however, Mr Kent is referring to a commitment to nuclear arms reductions, then the Government has a far better record of achievement than the unilateralist CND and its friends in the Labour opposition. If they had had their way in the early Eighties, NATO's intermediate-range nuclear forces would never have been deployed and there would have been no basis for the 1987 "Zero Option" which led to their removal, together with more than 1,900 Soviet SS-20 nuclear warheads targeted on Western Europe.
CND attacked the "Zero Option" when it was formulated, claiming that the Soviet Union would never agree to it. It opposed the Government's successful campaign in the Falklands, without which Argentina would not now be a democracy. Now it decries our firm stance against Iraqi aggression, despite massive cross-party and international support for what we are trying to do. Consistency may be a virtue, but not in causes such as these.
Dr JULIAN LEWIS
Conservative Research Department