Never has the wisdom of retaining a nuclear deterrent been clearer. NATO studiously avoids anything that represents a genuine nuclear-escalatory threat to Russia; and, equally clearly, doesn't have the will to generate the scale of conventional forces required to deter Russia by the latter means alone. (Views that Russia has no designs on anything outside the borders of the Russian Federation look a little silly now: and the fact they'd get a bloody nose is obviously nothing that worries Putin: he has been vigorously doubling down** on bloody noses for 12 months now.) Conversely, behind its own nuclear shield NATO is doing a great deal to incommode Russia materially. Of course the exact status of the UK's deterrent vis-à-vis independence is a vexed issue - but for another occasion. The basic point stands.
Financing costly nuke-related stuff has long been shrouded in fog. The diligent chaps at the SPRU at Sussex University have long maintained that the whole point of the apparently bottomless government support for the UK's "civil" nuclear industry is to subsidise the military nukes, and they may very well have a point (though personally I reckon Keynsian job creation explains quite a lot, too). Rolls Royce probably didn't endear themselves to HMG when their initial sales pitch for SMRs said as much.
One current and rather high-profile thrust of UK defence policy is the new AUKUS thing, which is also in the news. I can't help wondering whether this is as much as anything to come up with a rationale for the ridiculous new aircraft carriers Gordon Brown saddled us with. What a git that man is. A bigger waste of money is hard to envisage (would the Aussies like to buy them?) and, as we've said before, naming one of them Prince of Wales was presumably some bright spark's brutal / witty way of underlining the point. It says much for the total lack of knowledge of history these days, that nobody put a stop to that little piece of devilment.
** OK, sometimes this is useful shorthand. Sorry about that. But no leaning in or curating, I promise you.