Sunday, 4 October 2015

Corbyn's nuclear disarmament fellow travellers

Former Labour first minister, Rhodri Morgan wonders whether Jeremy Corbyn has just blown his hopes of election with his clear refusal to press the nuclear button to launch Trident nuclear weapons (Western Mail, Opinion, 3 October
The media hostile to Corbyn - along with some of his own MPs -  like to assert a Labour leader who advocates doing away with nuclear WMDs could never get elected. History demonstrates otherwise.
Harold Wilson led the Labour Party to victory in the 1964 General Election – at the height of the Cold War and only two years after the Cuban Missile crisis - backed by an election manifesto that stated: “We are not prepared any longer to waste the country’s resources on endless duplication of strategic nuclear weapons. We shall propose the renegotiation of the Nassau agreement [to buy Polaris, the predecessor of Trident]. Our stress will be on the strengthening of our conventional regular forces so that we can contribute our share to Nato defence and also fulfil our peacekeeping commitments to the Commonwealth and the UN. We are against the development of national nuclear deterrents“
It added:”We believe in the inter-dependence of the western alliance and will put forward constructive proposals for integrating all Nato’s nuclear weapons under effective political control so that all the partners in the alliance have a proper share in their deployment and control.”

A few years earlier, Albert Einstein, perhaps the greatest scientific genius of the last century, along with over 50 Nobel laureates signed the 1955 Mainau Declaration against nuclear weapons in 1955.(

In October 2009, a few years before he died, Robert McNamara, one of Kennedy’s advisers during the Cuban Missile Crisis and former secretary for Defence in the US, Robert MacNamara wrote a compelling piece for the important Foreign Affairs journal, called ‘Apocalypse Soon’ which argued for nuclear disarmament. (

General Lee Butler who was in charge of all the US nuclear weapons in 1991 now  strongly advocates nuclear disarmament as the only way to avoid nuclear war.(

Henry A. Kissinger (US Secretary of State from 1973 to 1977), Colin Powell (former US Secretary of State, National Security Advisor, Commander of the U.S. Army Forces Command and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) George P. Shultz (US Secretary of State 1982-1989), William J. Perry (Secretary of Defense, 1994 to January 1997), ex-Senator Sam Nunn (Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee) are also now high profile statesmen collectively  calling for nuclear disarmament.(

Speaking at the Hay literary festival in 2013 former UN weapons inspector Hans Blix pointedly asked if Trident was 'required to protect UK independence or UK pride'. And asserted it is time for Britain to halt  its Trident nuclear programme.("Hans Blix urges Britain to relinquish Trident nuclear programme," Guardian, 26 May 2013,

Perhaps Jeremy Corbyn has more support for nuclear disarmament from the mainstream political establishment than Rhodri Morgan gives credit.

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