Scene One: The House of Commons
The UK's interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan (both begun by Labour) cost more than £30 billion according to the Royal United Services Institute; the two aircraft carriers commissioned by Gordon Brown in 2008 were expected to cost more than £6 billion in 2013, a figure which can be expected to rise still further by the time the two ships go into service in 2017 and 2020. The Trident replacement is expected to cost more than £100 billion.
£136 billion and rising, and there are plenty more examples of bonkers military spending by Tory and Labour governments determined to maintain the fiction that Britain is a world power with a place at the top table.
Plaid Cymru, the SNP and the Greens called a debate in the House of Commons on 20th January calling on the Government to scrap plans to replace the Trident submarine system, with the Labour Party boycotting the event and describing it as a "little stunt".
A week before, Labour joined the Tories and LibDems in voting for another round of spending cuts to come after the election.
In the event, the SNP, Plaid and Caroline Lucas for the Greens were joined by a smattering of rebel Labour MPs, a handful of LibDems and a couple of Tories. Thirty-seven votes in all, with the massed ranks of the Tories and Labour turning out at the end of the debate to veto the call with 364 votes.
Interestingly, one of the Tory rebels was Crispin Blunt who had a distinguished military career before going into politics. He has said that he cannot conceive of any circumstances in which Britain would ever use its nuclear weapons.
In his speech, Jonathan Edwards pointed out that the decision to renew Trident would be the biggest single spending decision to be made by the next Parliament:
Due to the sums involved in the Trident renewal programme, it is vital
that this House debates whether or not it is a justifiable use of public
money...... It will be
the biggest spending decision made by the next Parliament, and with an
election in just over three months the electorate deserve to know where
those seeking election stand on this issue.
You can read the full text of his speech here.
The only Welsh Labour MP to join Jonathan Edwards, Hywel Williams and Elfyn Llwyd for Plaid was Paul Flynn.
Scene Two: The Hilton on Park Lane, London
There was a rather more enthusiastic turnout of Tory and Labour MPs for the annual parliamentarians' dinner on 2 February hosted by the ADS Group (one of the world's largest arms manufacturers). According to ADS, the event was sold out, with tickets priced at almost £250 a head.
If you are worried that our politicians will be claiming the cost of these exclusive tickets on expenses, don't: they all went as guests of various arms companies and defence contractors.
Thanks to Blog Menai for a list of those who attended, including Owen Smith (Pontypridd), Madeleine Moon (Bridgend) and Ian Lucas (Wrexham) for Labour.
As you can see in Cai Larsen's piece, the event featured an unscheduled speaker in the form of Anne Marie O'Reilly. Anne Marie O'Reilly is four months pregnant, and she managed to point out to the assembled worthies that while they were snuggling up to those nice weapons manufacturers and enjoying a swanky dinner, one million people in the UK had used food banks in the last year.
She was then drowned out by the hubbub of the guests before being bundled off stage.