I noted with interest the claim that ditching Trident would save the UK £84 billion (The Herald, March 23).

I suspect an argument could emerge along the lines that we need to replace the UK's existing Trident nuclear submarines because, if we do not, thousands of jobs will become redundant. This is an argument which will particularly resonate with BAE, which on a number of occasions has asserted that the capability to design, build and maintain nuclear-powered submarines would be prejudiced if the replacement of the existing Trident submarines did not proceed.

Are we really approaching the stage where a major justification for having new Tridents is preserving jobs? Surely some of the substantial savings which would arise from dropping the project could be utilised in helping to create new jobs and re-training. Other arguments for allocating large sums to nuclear missiles and their delivery systems are that such a deterrent is an intrinsic part of our protection against the uncertainties and hazards of the future and that we need to ensure the UK's vital interests are safeguarded. It would not be illogical for countries such as Iran, North Korea and Israel to advance similar arguments.

What is independent about our deterrent? The missiles are produced and serviced in the US. Whither our independent nuclear deterrent if the UK and the US have a policy fall out? Ernest Bevin, as Foreign Secretary in the post-Second World War Labour Government, is reported to have said in relation to the nuclear bomb: "We have got to have this thing over here whatever it costs. We've got to have the bloody Union Jack on top of it."

For the last 60 years we have been paying a high price for the display of that bunting. I believe the time has come to put aside our delusions of grandeur and realise our limitations. Like anyone else on the verge of impecuniosity we should be allocating our limited funds to our most pressing needs. There are other countries of substance which, while acting in their national interests, have not expended much of their available wealth on such weaponry. They appear to have coped admirably.

Ian W Thomson,

38 Kirkintilloch Road, Lenzie.