It is widely accepted that a new generation of Trident nukes will cost Britain around £100 billion over its 25-year life.
The decision whether to give Trident renewal the go-ahead - the so-called "maingate" of the development - is to be taken by Parliament in three years' time.
But in what looks suspiciously like a fait accompli, £3bn has already been committed to long-lead orders and preparation for the main manufacturing period once Parliament has made the decision.
So it is high time that the Commons had a debate on the future of nuclear weapons - and tomorrow it will be doing just that.
The back-bench business committee agreed to a submission from pro-nuclear weapons MP Julian Lewis and a number of us who are anti that this debate was vitally needed.
The moral case against nuclear weapons is overwhelming.
By their very nature they are indiscriminate, directed to kill millions of civilians and destroy industrial and commercial life of their target.
There can never be any justification for the use of such weapons, and therefore there can be no justification for their presence in any nation's armoury.
Not only this, but in constructing new nuclear weapons, Britain would be in breach of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which requires the five declared nuclear armed states to "take steps towards disarmament."
Trident is currently based at the enormous British facility on the Clyde, so the forthcoming Scottish referendum promises to focus debate on the fleet's future, regardless of whether or not an independent Scotland would, as a member of Nato, be able to rid itself of these weapons.
It is surely up to Labour to also oppose nuclear weapons in line with public opinion in Scotland and throughout Britain.
It is clear, despite many protestations to the contrary, that the MoD has been looking at alternative locations for Trident, should Scotland become independent and seek removal of the British base.
Milford Haven, Falmouth and Plymouth have been mentioned as possibilities and there's even been consideration of bases in the US or France.
One of the seemingly strongest arguments in favour of keeping Trident is that it would preserve defence workers' jobs.
These claims have been wildly exaggerated, but nevertheless, non-renewal would clearly have an effect on Barrow.
The Nuclear Education Trust has carried out some important research into Barrow's economy and identified possibilities for diversifying away from dependence on Trident and the military industry.
Detailed work is going on to promote green energy, sustainable transport and the peaceful use of high technology, instead of weapons of mass destruction.
The last time Parliament discussed nuclear weapons, in 2007, many MPs claimed that nuclear weapons deter potential attacks.
This argument is as fallacious as it is nonsensical. Taken logically, it would mean that every country in the world would have to have nuclear weapons.
Yet nuclear weapons-free zones have been established in Latin America, the Caribbean, the south Pacific, Africa, south-east and central Asia and and Antarctica.
A number of countries, including South Africa, Argentina and Ukraine, gave up nuclear weapons and development in order to achieve this.
The serious proposal for a Middle East nuclear weapons-free zone is still a live option and while the Helsinki meeting of all countries including Iran and Israel did not take place in December 2012 as originally planned, it is still due to take place at a later date.
It should be noted that Israel is the only country in the region that possesses nuclear weapons and is not a signatory of the NPT.
Iran, which does not have nuclear weapons and is a signatory to the NPT is under sanctions and extreme political pressure, with frequent accusations about its preparation for weapons development.
The way forward surely must be the creation of a nuclear weapons-free zone, which would not only bring about peace but would free up resources for more useful activities.
In 2016 Britain will still be affected by the coalition's austerity plans. An incoming Labour government would be faced with huge demands on education, housing, welfare, infrastructure, and public-sector pay and youth unemployment.
It is barely credible to imagine that within a year of taking office it could countenance the idea of massive expenditure on arms and a whole new generation of weapons of mass destruction.
The debate about nuclear weapons is not an alternative to a public campaign against cuts and austerity - it is part of the same discussion.
In Parliament on Monday junior Foreign Office minister Mark Simmons made a statement concerning Britain's involvement in the fringe operation in Mali.
British transport planes are ferrying French tanks and equipment from France to its base in Mali where Mirage jets have already been targeting insurgent groups in the north of the country.
Britain's involvement rapidly followed a telephone conversation between David Cameron and President Francois Hollande on Saturday evening in which France asked for support in propping up the Mali government against the rebel forces.
Simmons claimed that Britain would not be involved in a combat role, but would be limited to logistical support and said that it would all be over very quickly.
We were told much the same about the "short" campaigns of Afghanistan and Iraq.
A cursory look at any map of north Africa will see a series of suspiciously straight lines that are the delineated frontiers of Mauritania, Mali, Libya and Chad.
The map was drawn in Berlin at the Congress of 1884 when the Europeans calmly carved up Africa and shared it out among themselves, with little thought or recognition of the culture, language, communities or people in the region.
The Mali army has been involved in opposing Tuareg people in fighting for independence in the north for a long time and its human rights record leaves much to be desired, as was pointed out by Owen Jones in an excellent article in the Independent on Monday.
In their fight against the movement for the liberation of Azawad, the Mali army have committed some dreadful atrocities.
While it is right to condemn human rights abuses by al-Qaida and its forces, it doesn't follow that the allies of France and the rest have clean hands.
The Tuareg forces are well armed following their retreat from Libya at the conclusion of the Nato bombing campaign.
As French jets bomb villages it can only be a matter of time before civilian casualties mount and the war could then easily spread into any of the neighbouring countries.
A war by well-armed European states using sophisticated aircraft and drones against villages living in desperate poverty has become a normal picture in the 21st century. This situation threatens to create a new generation of hatred of the West and its power. As ever, the solutions should be political and humanitarian, not military.
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