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Jeremy Corbyn is right on Trident, and his haters know this

By Eamonn McCann

Published 27/01/2016

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn is an unpatriotic weakling who, if ever elected to Downing Street, would set about organising a car boot sale of British interests. That's been one of the thrusts of the propaganda campaign that began the instant it became apparent he might win the Labour leadership, and it has continued ever since.

Corbyn (below) has shamelessly admitted that, as Prime Minister, he wouldn't press the nuclear button. The cry arises that this undermines the nation's entire defence strategy.

In the unthinkable event of the people being so daft as to give Corbyn-led Labour a Commons majority, nobody in the world will ever be afraid of us again.

What, they go on, are we to make of a chap who has confessed that - even if he were standing alongside the head of Bomber Command as nuclear warheads rained down on Britain and the military chief turned to him and said "you must press the button now" - he still wouldn't be able to bring himself to jab a finger and launch the missiles?

"There is no reason for doing something like that because most of the people you kill would be innocent civilians."

The quote, in a 2008 BBC documentary, is from Denis Healey, Minister of Defence under Harold Wilson in the 1960s, widely regarded as one of the most doughty defenders of Britain's interests Labour has ever produced. An unwillingness to use nuclear weapons, then, may not be an aberration afflicting only far-Left ideologues.

Or take former Tory Defence Minister Michael Portillo, responding in 2013 to a speech by David Cameron maintaining that, without Trident, Britain would be at the mercy of the nuclear might of the North Korean megalomaniac Kim Jong-un.

The very idea, said Portillo, was "absurd". "To say we need nuclear weapons in this situation would imply that Germany and Italy are trembling in their boots because they don't have a nuclear deterrent, which I think is clearly not the case."

If there is a convincing argument that Corbyn is wrong about the renewal of Trident, its advocates have yet to spell it out. Perhaps it's a secret.

Even Tony Blair, of famously flexible mind and morality, couldn't come up with a coherent case. In his memoir A Journey he declared that he could see the "common sense and practical argument" against Trident. "The expense is huge and the utility... non-existent in terms of military use." Nevertheless, the system must be retained because giving it up would be "too big a downgrading of our status as a nation".

If you went out without a nuclear deterrent in your back pocket the big boys in the playground would laugh at you.

Taking all with all, fear of fat Kim makes more sense.

The Trident system involves four nuclear-powered submarines, each carrying 16 missiles with 12 nuclear warheads with the destructive power of eight Hiroshimas. At least one submarine is prowling the ocean 24/7, so as to ensure that, even if Britain were reduced to rubble and ruin with not a stone left upon a stone or sentient being alive, the watchword would still be: "No surrender!"

Gordon Brown has revealed that the first task required of him after moving into Downing Street in 2008 was to handwrite four letters to be placed in sealed envelopes in the safe of each submarine with instructions to the captain what to do in the event of the above dismaying scenario coming to pass.

What incentive the captain would have to do whatever it was that Brown ordered is far from clear. Brown - and everyone else in Britain - would by this stage have been reduced to a smear of ash.

It seems not to have occurred to Brown or any of his defence advisers that invoking this nightmare prospect as an argument for keeping Trident is more Strangelove than strategic or common sense.

Corbyn wants Labour's Trident policy determined by party members.

A couple of his front-benchers have been seen around Westminster breathing smelling salts from lace handkerchiefs and gently moaning: "Oh my!"

Party members dictating party policy? Whatever next? Demanding the right to select candidates to represent them at the polls?

Some of Corbyn's critics may well believe that the rot set in with the 1832 Reform Act.

The bearded one's line on Trident has the backing of as wide a swathe of political opinion as any policy has commanded in this or the previous parliament.

The main reason is that Corbyn is right.

Just as he was right on Afghanistan, on Iraq, on bombing Syria.

It's the fact that they know he is right which enrages his opponents.

Belfast Telegraph

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