Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Nuclear Button Nonsense

The Blair-right sections of the Labour Party, together with their fellow travellers in the Tory media are talking nonsense over Jeremy Corbyn's statement that if he was Prime Minister, he would not push the nuclear button.  They claim that, in doing so, he is pre-empting the party's discussion  over whether Trident should be scrapped.  Absolutely not.  For that to be the case, you would have to believe that immediately upon becoming Prime Minister, Corbyn would be asked to press that button!

This is a bit like saying, if on becoming Prime Minister, the planet was about to be destroyed by an asteroid, would you offer the population euthanasia!!!  The answer is, when the asteroid has actually been identified, is the time when someone has to answer the question.  Until then its a pointless question.  Neville Chamberlain, was ardently in favour of avoiding war at almost any costs with Germany.  He remained as Prime Minister until after the war had started.

There is absolutely no reason why Jeremy Corbyn could not be a British Prime Minister, whilst being ardently opposed to using nuclear weapons, because it only in the most extreme conditions the question of whether to use such weapons would ever arise, and such conditions would not appear instantaneously, any more than WWII, broke out instantaneously.  Margaret Thatcher was quite happy to use nuclear weapons, if necessary, and yet the knowledge of that fact, did not stop General Galtieri going to war with Britain, and occupying the Falkland Islands.  It was touch and go, as to whether Britain would win that contest, and yet, Argentina could be fairly safe in assuming that even were Britain to be clearly losing, they would not respond with a nuclear strike against Argentina.

Any such action, would have made Britain a pariah state.  But, even if global tensions were rising to such an extent that a new inter imperialist war seemed likely, say between western Europe and Russia, or the US against China, that might spill over into a new world war, such conditions are not going to materialise over night.  Until such conditions exist, the question of whether Prime Minister Corbyn would or would not press the nuclear button are moot.

If such global conditions existed, and Britain still had nuclear weapons, and the Labour Party was committed to retaining them, then just as Chamberlain eventually stood down, and Churchill took over, as a warmonger prepared to pursue the war more vigorously (and actually from a military/strategic perspective usually disastrously) then prime Minister Corbyn, would have to consider his position.  But, until such conditions exist, to suggest that he refrain from making such comments, is tantamount to the Blair-rights, and the Tory media, demanding that he abstain from the debate, and deny his own opinions.

In reality, in the period between now, and when the election takes place, which could be way before 2020, if the Tories lose their tiny majority, the party is likely to have changed its position.  Len McCluskey is a unilateralist, who is subordinating his personal position to the majority position of UNITE, but that position is based on the sectionalist interest of UNITE's members who fear a loss of jobs in shipbuilding.  But Corbyn has already set out the way the resources currently wasted on nuclear weapons could be better used to provide decent jobs for those workers, producing useful products required by the ordinary working people of Britain.  Its time to dust off the old Lucas Plan, which can not only show us how to win the debate about defending jobs by a conversion to useful production, but can simultaneously demonstrate how Labour and the Trades Unions can have an approach that is truly "pro-business" and aspirational.

It shows how being "pro-business" should actually be about being supportive of the actual workers and managers in businesses, rather than merely pro the financial leeches, the money-lending shareholder capitalists, and their overpaid representatives, who are only interested in making a quick buck, rather than the long-term future of the business, and its workforce.  It is aspirational, because it shows how the principle of democracy is not simply about placing a cross on a ballot paper every five years, but is about every citizen having a say in all aspects of their life, and control over it, whether at work, in their community or more generally.

If Labour, and socialists within the trades unions make this case, the fears about job losses will be removed.  In that case, the door will be wide open for Labour to adopt a policy of scrapping Trident, and putting workers to work in useful productive activities.

Some Blair-right MP's have already excluded themselves from the Shadow Cabinet, because they cannot reconcile themselves to the moderate social-democratic policies that Jeremy Corbyn and his election represents.  That is that prerogative.  Indeed, it is the principled thing for them to do.  But, similarly, if the party formally adopts these kinds of social-democratic positions, there will be many Blair-right MP's, who cannot reconcile themselves to those positions.

They will then have the same option as that they want to impose on Corbyn now - to abide by the decision or to step aside.  In the coming months and years, the party is likely to formally adopt policies that are significantly different to the conservative policies that were pursued under New Labour.  That will reflect the changed nature of the party, and the influx of hundreds of thousands of new members, standing behind those policies.  The Blair-right MP's need to consider now whether they will be able to persuade their own CLP's, to back their personal position, or not.  That is the position Corbyn, McDonnell and others have had over the last three decades.

The Tories boundary changes will make reselections necessary in the majority of constituencies.  It is not a matter of a purge of Blair-right MP's, but of straight forward democracy.  Some of them have already concluded that they cannot be members of the Shadow Cabinet, on the basis of the party's current policy direction.  They should likewise decide whether they can remain as MP's, whilst being so out of step with the Party's changed policies, principles and ethics, just as they required of those seeking to join the party recently, and just as they did in expelling large numbers of party activists, closing down CLP's and so on in the past.  There are after all hundreds of Labour councils, and thousands of Labour Councillors, who today, Neil Kinnock would have to lambast for handing out redundancies to their workforce, and their politics are far removed from those of the Militant Tendency!

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