In a surprise announcement this morning the Treasury Secretary, Danny Alexander, has disclosed a 'third option' for the austerity Trident programme. Rather than cutting the committed contracts for the boats themselves, the government will keep 3 out of 4 of the submarines, but do away with almost all of the missiles.
The MOD's new Events Manager, who wished to remain anonymous while supporting Alexander, stated "The core capability for the new deterrent submarines is to sail about looking portentious and trying not to bash into any sandbars."
Danny Alexander added "We would keep a few real warheads, but nearly all of the missiles would be duds or really good fakes. The enemy will be kept on their toes by this new and affordable 'British roulette', as there will be that extra element of uncertainty to the will-they-won't-they brinkmanship. The pretend warheads will be ultimately safer, cheaper, greener and could be designed for all sorts of comercially viable purposes, such as advertising."
The coalition are eager to ensure the public see value for money from Trident, and see it as 'The People's Missile'. In an apparent bid to win hearts and minds, the MOD this morning revealed that the boat currently on patrol is 'somewhere in the Thames', ready to fire off some really big celebratory fireworks on the occasion of the Royal birth. Providing the missiles are still within warranty. "Tight security is ensured as even the boat's captain doesn't know which warheads are real, but on this occasion we are sure that this will be a spectacular success. The public should not be alarmed as we outsourced the fitting of novelty warheads to Serco and G4S, as part of the ongoing partial privatisation of the armed forces."
The MOD is also looking into plans to support the British film industry by allowing film crews to use the Vanguard class submarines as film sets for blockbusters about nuclear submarines that ulimately do not get used.
Without wishing to reveal too much and being quite good at keeping secrets, the MOD have suggested a twist in the storyline as the 'hero', usually someone with a stalled career, intervenes with some common sense at the eleventh hour. The starring role is widely tipped to go to someone outside the MOD and not in any way associated with the coalition government.