If you are the captain of a British nuclear submarine, how do you find out if your home country is still there?
Secret orders to the captains say that these deadly instructions are to be opened and acted upon only if the submarine cannot tune in to Radio 4’s Today programme for a given number of consecutive days. That is a reliable sign that Britain has been hit by a nuclear attack.
and then what?
Reports suggest that the Prime Minister’s letter, written just days after he won the 1997 election, offers the submarines four options: to put the vessels under US command, to make their way to Australia, to launch a nuclear strike against the enemy or to use their own judgement.
and this is what the foreign secretary has to say:
“Perhaps it’s a not so subtle bid by the BBC to increase the licence fee to pay the electricity bill.”