"there's no knowing the effect of a vote"
Parliament will debate the renewal of Britain's nuclear deterrent. It's a generous concession - it maintains the facade of parliamentary democracy.
Des Browne, Defence Secretary, has followed his leader Tony Blair, promising "a full parliamentary debate" but adding, "We may not need a Parliamentary vote."
This major decision wasn't announced in parliament. There were "indications" from Tony Blair, then a statement in the Mansion House from the heir presumptive, Gordon Brown. Renewal of Trident is decided (work began at Aldermaston months ago) and our elected representatives will one day be allowed to talk about it.
Do we need a nuclear deterrent in "the war against terror" when we are told we are fighting groups rather than nations? (Nations are still invaded and bombed.) Once we were told that "mutual assured destruction" would save the world. Now political leaders argue for pre-emptive strikes.
In the new climate, the need for public and parliamentary debate seems clear. The public don't vote for the Prime Minister but for Members of Parliament, whose power diminishes daily. If we or our representatives are ignored, democracy is lessened. Our role as electors lacks purpose. We are merely the governed.