Why do we have nuclear weapons?

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Saturday night on BBC Parliament (you mean you weren’t watching?) saw the broadcast of Lord Hennessy’s lecture last week on Cabinets and the Bomb from the Queen’s Derobing room in the House of Lords. It’s available on iPlayer here until Saturday 12th February 2011.Lord Hennessy lecture – Cabinets and the Bomb.png

It’s only half an hour long, edited down from the excellent hour that I was on my way to last week. As such, it therefore misses the great Q&A session that Peter did at the end.

The lecture itself is great – Peter is that rare thing, an intellectual with an understanding of the need for anecdote and context when talking about great issues and moments of national policy. There is also a glorious hint of music hall in his delivery.

I’m biased of course – not only is he a friend, but in addition to being the Lords Speaker lecture, this was the inaugural Michael Quinlan Memorial Lecture in honour of my Dad – who is mentioned at the start of the lecture.

[As a pure aside, I couldn’t help but reflect that around the room were a series of wooden carvings of scenes from the legends of King Arthur – the Queen’s personal equivalent of the Catholic Stations of the Cross perhaps?]