I NEARLY choked on my porridge this morning when I opened my National and saw your journalist James Walker describe Faslane as “home to the UK’s nuclear deterrent”. This – the “d” word – is a vile euphemism and should never be used by any honest person.

The things carried on the subs are hydrogen bombs. To describe them as a deterrent is to assume the legitimacy of their role. To use that word is to underwrite the thing that the word denotes. It is a self-vindicating euphemism. Its very utterance justifies the hellish reality. It is its own lie.

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You can call it a peacemaker, Star of Bethlehem or any other oleaginous weasel word you choose. At the end of the day (literally!) this is a machine designed to burn, blast and eradicate all living things on a scale beyond all description.

When he was asked how to bring peace and harmony to the state, Confucius replied “Call things by their true name”. He was right. Tell the truth. A hydrogen bomb is not a deterrent. Never call it that.

Brian Quail