Prospect of endless disarray dooms Labour

0
1065
The Trident nuclear submarine HMS Victorious is pictured near Faslane in Scotland. HMS Victorious was the second of the four ballistic missile submarines to emerge from the Devonshire Dock Hall in Barrow, where she was officially 'launched' on 29 September 1993. Based at Clyde Naval Base, HMS Victorious' is continuing the Royal Navy's proud record of over 40 years of uninterrupted nuclear deterrence, as at least one of the four 'bombers' is on patrol at any time.

The Trident nuclear submarine HMS Victorious is pictured near Faslane in Scotland. HMS Victorious was the second of the four ballistic missile submarines to emerge from the Devonshire Dock Hall in Barrow, where she was officially 'launched' on 29 September 1993. Based at Clyde Naval Base, HMS Victorious' is continuing the Royal Navy's proud record of over 40 years of uninterrupted nuclear deterrence, as at least one of the four 'bombers' is on patrol at any time.

 by Stuart Littlewood

 

Next year Britain will decide whether to replace her four Vanguard-class Trident submarines. The Labour Party’s shadow defence secretary in April said his party would commit to renewing the entire WMD kit if it won the general election. They didn’t win, but the nuclear weapon pledge now puts new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in a tight spot. Corbyn is for nuclear disarmament, a key plank in his landslide leadership campaign.

So much so that he promised supporters a debate on Trident at last week’s party conference. But he had to U-turn after the unions blocked discussion. So it’s unclear where Labour really stands. And time is running out. Entrenched positions for and against spell confusion and self-destruction ahead.

PM David Cameron has said: “I profoundly believe we should maintain our independent nuclear deterrent…” and we need “a full replacement for Trident”. His defence minister, Michael Fallon, talked about “the 60-year consensus that has existed among governments of all colours in favour of an operationally independent nuclear deterrent”, while Labour “remains committed to a minimum, credible, independent nuclear capability, delivered through a Continuous At-Sea Deterrent”.

They all seems to think Trident is “independent”. Or they are trying to kid us that it is. A number of states around the world have nukes and the means to deliver them. They all manufacture and maintain their own and have complete control over their use. Britain isn’t one of them. Our Trident missiles are manufactured by Lockheed Martin in the US and serviced by the US Navy. So if Britain detached herself America’s lunatic foreign policy what would our “independent” nuclear deterrence be worth… having spent £100 billion of British taxpayers’ money upgrading it at the expense of hundreds of essential social and industrial programmes that are crying out for the money?

And what is Len McCluskey, boss of the Unite union, talking about when he threatens to vote down any Labour Party motion to scrap Trident because “the most important thing for us is jobs”? How many British jobs will be lost if we don’t buy something that isn’t manufactured or serviced here? We’d still need a submarine fleet, with or without Trident. And the £billions saved should mean a far bigger investment in jobs here, not in the US.

The idea of a truly independent nuclear deterrent was dismissed in a 2006 White Paper, which said the substantial investment wasn’t worth it merely to insure against the unlikely event of a lasting breakdown in relations with the US. It therefore made sense to continue procuring the guts of the system from the US. As a result we have neither an independent nuke nor an independent foreign policy.

New Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has caused consternation in Establishment circles by saying that if he became prime minister he wouldn’t press the nuclear button. Even if he did, it is true that the US could not stop us launching the missiles. But to target Trident accurately, I’m told, the launching submarine needs access to US systems at the time of launch. Besides, would the US really sell a WMD system even to a close friend without safeguards to ensure it was used strictly in the furtherance of US interests? Someone needs to come clean on all of this.

In the meantime Cameron, on this morning’s Andrew Marr show, said: “If you believe, like me, that Britain should keep the ultimate insurance policy of an independent nuclear deterrent you have to accept there are circumstances in which its use would be justified. And if you give any answer other than that you are, frankly, undermining our national security, undermining our deterrent, and undermining Britain in a dangerous world…” There speaks a man who failed to exercise due diligence and voted for the Iraq war, thus undermining our national security big-time.

The Trident issue will be an early test of Labour’s integrity. It’s as plain as a pikestaff that the UK, staggering under a £1.5 trillion debt burden, not in control of its borders, its cherished national health service on the verge of collapse, manufacturing decimated and having little prospect of regeneration under EU procurement laws, lacking in skills, suffering deep slashes to benefits and other social programmes, and with countless thousands reliant on food-banks, simply cannot afford to splash out on such a cripplingly expensive new toy for its political and military poseurs.

The Labour Party was unelectable before Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell made their ‘outsider’ bid for leadership. Instead of having to recruit to their front bench people who fundamentally disagree with them, and being overruled by union bosses, Corbyn might begin to consider breaking away and, with his massive grass-roots support, building a new fit-for-purpose political organisation and leaving the passé Blairites to wallow in their failure. As things stand, they’ll never present a unified, coherent image to voters.

Such a wrench seems unlikely though, because both men are too much in love with the old Labour Party of Keir Hardie. Hardie was one of the first two Labour MPs elected to parliament in 1900, a small beginning from which the Labour Party grew to win power in 1924. Corbyn rounded off his conference speech by quoting Hardie: “My work has consisted of trying to stir up a divine discontent with wrong. Don’t accept injustice, stand up against prejudice. Let us build a kinder politics, a more caring society together. Let us put our values, the people’s values, back into politics.”

Fine words. But I doubt if the present Labour Party, with its Blair/Brown hangover and fatally corrupted views, will allow any of that. Another new beginning is needed if Hardie’s “kinder politics” and “more caring society” are to be realised. Corbyn’s appeal is not confined to what used to be called the working class. It extends well into the sensible middle class. ‘Labour Party’ is a 19th century brand name that brings with it too much unwanted baggage and negative vibes. It is an inappropriate vehicle in the 21st century.

 

ATTENTION READERS

We See The World From All Sides and Want YOU To Be Fully Informed
In fact, intentional disinformation is a disgraceful scourge in media today. So to assuage any possible errant incorrect information posted herein, we strongly encourage you to seek corroboration from other non-VT sources before forming an educated opinion.

About VT - Policies & Disclosures - Comment Policy
Due to the nature of uncensored content posted by VT's fully independent international writers, VT cannot guarantee absolute validity. All content is owned by the author exclusively. Expressed opinions are NOT necessarily the views of VT, other authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners, or technicians. Some content may be satirical in nature. All images are the full responsibility of the article author and NOT VT.
Previous articleSlaughter in Gaza Begins, Retaliation for Russian Ban on Syria Bombings
Next articleRag Radio: Poet, Historian & Activist Margaret Randall, Author of ‘Haydee Santamaria, Cuban Revolutionary’
After working on jet fighters in the RAF Stuart became an industrial marketing specialist with manufacturing companies and consultancy firms. He also "indulged himself" as a newspaper columnist. In politics, he served as a Cambridgeshire county councilor and member of the Police Authority. Now retired he campaigns on various issues and contributes to several online news & opinion sites. An Associate of the Royal Photographic Society, he has produced two photo-documentary books - Paperturn-view.com. Also, check out Stuart’s book Radio Free Palestine, with Foreword by Jeff Halper. It tells the plight of the Palestinians under brutal occupation and explains to me why the Zionists who control Israel should be brought before the International Criminal Court. Stuart's Very Latest Articles:  2023 - PresentArchived Articles:  2010-2015 - 2016-2022