THERE is a fair amount of nonsense in RAE Tilly’s letter of August 9, but a couple of forward passes in particular deserve the referee’s whistle.

First, there is no “pretence”

about this country being a nucleararmed power and it is not true to say that we could never use this weapon. The fact is we are a nuclear power and Trident is in use every hour of the day and every day of the year. Its invulnerable ability to inflict unacceptable retaliation means that no present or future nucleararmed country can threaten our cities with destruction. This amply justifies the money spent on Trident over its lifetime.

Second, it is untrue to claim that the Conservatives slashed everything in sight when they were last in office and are doing the same today. For example, spending on the NHS under the previous Conservative administration rose by 60 per cent in real terms.

As for current public spending, this is running at £64 billion a year more than the last year of Labour government. Thus current spending has been rising not falling.

COLIN SMITH, Totton Branch, New Forest East Conservatives.