Thursday, 21 November 2019

Why British political parties should be challenged on nuclear power, nuclear weapons and privatising threats to the NHS

Here are two letters to the editor challenging both the Labour Party and the Tories over statements made respectively on nuclear power& weapons, and the privatisation threat to the NHS:
On Labour to the Guardian:

In launching Labour’s election manifesto, Jeremy Corbyn implored the electorate to vote for positive change. Indeed the document, titled, It's time for Real Change ( is transformative for society in many innovative and progressive ways, especially its radical ideas on sustainability.

But it is badly undermined by two inexplicable anomalies: its support for new nuclear power and weapons.

On the former, in its energy and climate chapter of 2,812 words, it includes ten that assert, without explanation or justification, “We will build new nuclear power needed for energy security.”

Nuclear power brings no energy security as all uranium for fuel needs to be imported, and the only companies that have shown any interest in building such plants in  the UK are French, Chinese and Japanese, the last of which having developed cold feet.

Nor is nuclear low carbon compared to renewables, having greenhouse gas emissions between 10 and 18 times greater, according to recently published work by Mark Jacobson, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University in  California (

On nuclear WMDs, the manifesto states” Labour supports the renewal of the Trident nuclear deterrent,” but adds it would “actively” try to negotiate it  away  in “multilateral efforts under our obligations to the Non-Proliferation Treaty to create a nuclear-free world.”

If Trident is renewed it will cost at least £50,000,000,000 (£50 billion), with another £150 billion lifetime running costs. I can find no mention of this huge figure in the so-called full costed ‘Funding for real change’ 44-page gray book prepared by the shadow chancellor.

What kind of transformative change is delivered by very expensive new nuclear power plants and dangerous nuclear weapons?

And the Tories to the Times…

Your front page account of the leadership debate (“Neck and neck after TV clash,” The Times, 20 November 2019; records Boris Johnson as dismissing as an absolute, completely untrue invention Jeremy Corbyn’s allegations that the Prime Minister plans to sell off the NHS to US business interests, asserting “There are no circumstances whatever in which this government [or any Conservative government] would put the NHS on the table [in any trade negotiations.]”

However, your own policy editor reported 14 months ago (“Let American firms run hospitals, urges free trade group,” Sept 19, 2018) that Mr Johnson has supported the Initiative for Free Trade (IFT, set up by Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan, a long term critic of the NHS.


Indeed Mr Johnson hosted the IFT launch at the Foreign Office when he was Foreign Secretary, when he was recorded by the web site Brexit Central as saying to “my old friend” Daniel Hannan: “I am delighted to attend the launch of the IFH and to support its noble missions. It is no exaggeration to say that the livelihoods of millions of people depend on its success.” (


Mr Hannan has said on the record that he “wouldn’t wish the NHS on anyone” …asking “why would any sane  people cling to such a system?”


The IFT launched a report titled ‘An “Ideal” US-UK Free Trade Agreement’ on18 September last year jointly in Washington DC and London, edited by Mr Hannan.


The Times reported another of the report’s editors, Daniel Ikenson, as describing the NHS as an “incumbent” healthcare provider that should have competition. The purpose of liberalising trade is to expose incumbent businesses to competition, including healthcare providers.”


Voters deserve more than demonstrably untrue assertions on the future of the NHS from Mr Johnson in this contentious election campaign.

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