Thursday, 19 November 2015

Comrades in arms?

The report that Wales’ First Minister will no longer be extending an invitation to base the Trident nuclear weapons submarines in Wales is welcome, albeit belated.  It’s not entirely clear whether his change of heart is a reflection of the views of his new boss, or merely a recognition that an off-the-cuff remark in a debate in the Senedd, intended merely to score a political point in debate, came to look rather silly after the event.  It always looked more like a case of foot-in-mouth disease than a thought-through policy pronouncement.
At UK level, the Labour Party is still struggling with the whole issue.  Silly and wholly uncomradely remarks made by Ken Livingstone didn’t help, of course.  But some of the Labour Party’s own MPs have succeeded in giving the impression that they are quite happy to have a review of the party’s policy as long as the review is conducted only by people who agree with the current policy and doesn’t include anyone who might actually want to question it.  Sir Humphrey would be proud of them.
Whilst Livingstone’s comments were quite rightly turned upon, his silliness and his subsequent apology have unfortunately diverted attention away from the substance of the views being put forward by the MP he attacked, Kevan Jones.  As the BBC reported, Mr Jones said “I'm not sure Ken knows anything about defence.  It will only damage our credibility amongst those that do and who care about defence”.
Whilst he did not deserve the personal attack to which he was subjected, his view does need to be challenged.  It’s a very dismissive view to adopt towards any alternative viewpoint – in effect, he’s saying that ‘credibility’ means agreeing with him.  It’s a classic example of the way in which conservative politicians of all parties attempt to close down debate and restrict the range of opinion which can be discussed – and it avoids the substance of the issue completely.

1 comment:

Glyn Morris said...

I guess Kevan Jones would cal himself Centre Left with the emphasis on Centre. it is a sad fact that Cameron and his gang all claim to be from the Centre .

Of course in doing so you can claim that anyone who disagrres with your policies are extremist.

In the US the right who are dominant have tried to turn the term liberal as a dirty word as if it was some kind of deviance.

Here the right of both Labour and Tory have tried to decide fr themselves where the centre is.

But where is it? I would probably be labelled as an unmitigated Troskyite even though I think my views are quite moderate .

But I probably think the centre is in a different position