Saturday, 27 June 2015

Nuclear disarmament would be popular with voters‏

Letter sent to The Guardian on 26 June:
Your liberal-minded columnists seem to be falling over themselves to get into print that Labour could not win under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.
The big election defeat of the Michael Foot-led Labour Party with its leftist manifesto  in the 1983 General Election seems to provide the main rational for this opinion.
Martin Kettle argues, for example, that centrist compromise of any socialist principles is necessary for Labour to ever win back power (“For labour the choice is a stark one: purity, or power,” 26 June).
A few days earlier, Polly Toynbee argued "Take Corbyn’s anti-Trident stand: I imagine, but I don’t know, that the potential leaders would not choose to spend tens of billions on these four submarines. But Labour is pledged to them, because any hint of unilateralism brands the party as unelectably reckless.I can argue against Trident, but Labour in opposition dare not…” (In Labour’s leadership race, Yvette Cooper is the one to beat,” 23 June).
Yet, current Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, told MPs in a Parliamentary debate on Trident  earlier this year "Government shares the vision of a world that is without nuclear weapons, (20 January) and just last month foreign office minister Tobias Ellwood said in a statement the "Government retains a commitment  to  a world  without  nuclear weapons  following the end of the month-long review conference of the Nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) in New York (foreign office press release 23 May).
The UK is both a signatory of, and depository state for, the 1968 NPT, which closed its most recent month-long quinquennial review conference last month at the UN in New York.
NPT article 6 requires each signatory state (including each nuclear weapons state) to undertake: “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament... “
Fred (later Lord) Mulley, as the Labour Government's disarmament minister, addressed the plenary meeting of the Eighteen Nation Committee on Disarmament (ENDC) in Geneva in early 1968, explaining why nations should sign up to the newly negotiated NPT, telling the ministerial delegations:
"As I have made clear in previous speeches, my government accepts the obligation to participate fully in negotiations required by [NPT] Article VI and it is our desire that these negotiations should begin as soon as possible and should produce speedy and successful results. There is no excuse now for allowing a long delay to follow the signing of this treaty." 
This is the reason why contemporary nuclear-armed UK governments cannot continue to postpone the moment to start the promised nuclear disarmament negotiations –including Trident- embedded in the treaty text.
I think a Government ensuring the UK fully abides by international law ( especially after the Iraq invasion debacle) and fulfils its treaty obligations would be popular  with voters.

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