Wednesday, 8 January 2020

Nuking herself in the foot

There is little purpose in possessing nuclear weapons unless one is prepared to use them.  And for many of us – including some senior people in the world’s armed forces, that sentence would be equally valid without the last 7 words.  Theoretically, the only debate between the Labour Party’s supporters and opponents of the UK’s continued possession of such weapons is about the best way to get rid of them; but the word ‘theoretically’ is doing a lot of work there.  It would be more accurate to say that the party is divided between a minority who want more-or-less immediate nuclear disarmament, a majority who probably agree but are afraid to say so, and another minority who actually, genuinely believe that the UK should continue to possess such weapons.  And if that’s a fair summary, then the conclusion to be drawn from it is that the party’s policy on the issue is, in practice, decided not by those who have a clear view one way or the other, but by those who are simply too afraid of the Tory-driven reaction which would follow to express their views openly and honestly.
The result of that is to place people who have taken an honourable stance on the issue for almost the whole of their political lives – like Corbyn for instance – in a position where he cannot express his deeply-held view and is forced to pretend that he no longer agrees with everything he’s said on the issue for the past half century.  It also means that anyone aspiring to lead the party must answer the ‘button question’ and will immediately be deemed unelectable if they give the ‘wrong’ answer.  Thus it was that yesterday, Rebecca Long Bailey told us that she would indeed be willing to press the button and annihilate millions of people whilst also telling us that she’s an internationalist and supports a Green New Deal.  There’s nothing that quite says ‘workers of the world unite’ like an announcement of a willingness to use nuclear weapons against workers in another country.  And there’s nothing better for greening the economy than spending billions on turning scarce and valuable resources into weapons of mass destruction.  Apparently.
She could, of course, be lying.  I’d go further: she is certainly lying about something because there is no way that internationalism, green policies, and the use of nuclear weapons can coherently be combined, although the fact that she’s definitely lying about at least one doesn’t prove that she’s not lying about the rest.  Yet again, Labour are managing to fall into the nuclear trap from which the only escape is a series of attributes which most of them seem to be lacking – like integrity, honesty and courage.

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