Independent – 9 June 1988
"No Soviet concessions," writes Bruce Kent (letter, 7 June), "which in Mr Kinnock's terms would enable a deal to be struck, will ever satisfy the nationalist element in this country. Their bottom line is that Britain is going to have nuclear 'weapons' as long as the Soviets have any."
For once, Mr Kent is quite right. As he well knows, what he sneeringly terms the "nationalist element" – i.e. believers in nuclear deterrence – greatly outnumbers his unilateralist supporters.
On five occasions in the past three years, our organisation has commissioned Gallup to ask the question, "Do you think Britain should or should not continue to possess nuclear weapons as long as the Soviet Union has them?"
Here are the majorities, each time, in favour of continued possession: 69 percent versus 24 percent (March 1988); 68 percent versus 26 percent (November 1987); 67 percent versus 25 percent (April 1987); 66 percent versus 27 percent (November 1986); and 68 percent versus 26 percent (October 1985).
Mr Kinnock is thus in danger of alienating his supporters in CND, without placating his numerous opponents on the nuclear issue.
Dr JULIAN LEWIS
Policy Research Associates