Friday, 22 July 2016

One Big Cloud


Dear Reader,

A year ago, Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader of the Labour Party by its membership and by a very substantial margin in the process.

Since then, the centrist members of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) have made quite a few noises of dissatisfaction, and this week it became very apparent that the reformists of yesteryear want back what they believe to be their party. They believe it's their party, in stark contrast to the view of the membership. They (the centrists and hangers-on) now believe that they will overcome this Corbyn spectre in the September leadership election.

It is very noticeable that none of the bigger names in the party have been brave enough to put their names forward for the contest, stating that the rather nondescript Owen Smith will do the job for them. I ask one question: really?

All the indications are that Jeremy Corbyn will win again, and again by a substantial margin. Leastways, I will be surprised if that is not the result. And the outcome of that? Maybe the centrists will join up with the Lib-Dems.

Corbyn has recently been labelled by the media as being a man without policies, but I see nothing but policies about worthwhile values in what he talks about, and in particular (this week) he has enunciated well his determination to bring fairness into the workplace. But he has long fought for issues of far greater impact, one being his peaceful fight against nuclear weapons (being a strong supporter of the likes of dear Tony Benn), but being - in general - one who sees nothing being achieved in warfare.

Is he wrong? Patently he is not. We have seen nothing but escalating warfare in the Middle East and north Africa this past 25 years, and a combination of that and sanctions imposed by "the west" have imposed considerable suffering among civilians. To what end?

The one positive note is that this week's BBC2 coverage of conditions in a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan reveals it to have grown as a well-ordered town in the desert over the last four years: the 80,000 Syrian people there are surprisingly cheerful and optimistic. But so were the Palestinians who preceded them in Jordan, and what progress have they been able to make in their near-70 years of camp confinement? Optimism can dissipate into anger after a generation or two.

So the war against war seems to me to be perfectly valid. And if that is so, surely nuclear war is even more a white elephant and should be got rid of.

So it was that the matter of the renewal of Britain's nuclear submarine fleet came up for a vote in the Commons this week, and many (centrist) Labour MPs joined in the gushing support of this great folly. 

Disappointingly, my own (Labour) M.P. voted 'for' the renewal of the nuclear programme, choosing to ignore the fact that £31 billion (plus £10 billion contingencies) could be better spent elsewhere. I wrote to my M.P.:

As you are a Christian (I believe), if you were to have a neighbour whom you felt to be dangerous, would you go out and buy a gun in case you should have to use it against him? Of course not. Then why support Trident, probably the greatest white elephant ever. It even beats HS2 [the superfast London-Birmingham rail project].
A Cumbria (Labour) MP launched a ferocious verbal attack on Jeremy Corbyn during the parliamentary debate on the Trident nuclear deterrent. He even congratulated the new Prime Minister in their choice of an official Labour Party policy! Another stab in the back for Jeremy. He described Mr. Corbyn - a long-time anti-nuclear campaigner - as “reckless, juvenile, and narcissistic”.
The sheer stupidity of this approach [he said] should be dragged out into the light and seen for what it is, because renewal is not only Labour party policy but the settled will of the country, and every parliamentary decision relating to it will have been taken by 2020.

So, according to him, it is "stupid" to try to prevent the wholesale slaughter of people in a kind of war in which there would be no winners and instead the erasure of life on this planet? And that's apart from the ability to put up to £40 billion to better use?

In contrast to the Prime Minister, Mr Corbyn has told the House that he personally would never press the nuclear button, murdering millions of innocent people. The Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said that renewing Trident would send out a message that all countries should have nuclear weapons – something that she said would not make the world a safer place.

"Stupid" views? Sounds more like wisdom to me coming from people who are probably seen as weak by the macho community.

And as for Jeremy Corbyn being specifically "stupid", it's interesting that a recent Guardian article listed 100 names of internationally prominent academics, philosophers and journalists (including elite thinkers Chomsky and Pilger) who have protested against the treatment of the Labour leader.

Is it that Mr. Corbyn has "stupid" friends, or have many Labour MPs simply lost the moral plot?

Thank you for reading this.