It’s official, Jeremy Corbyn MP is now Her Majesty’s Most Loyal Opposition and leader of the Labour Party. If it is political commentary you are interested, Twitter, Facebook and the web have gone into meltdown but what does this mean for defence and security?
Listen to some people and it will be the end of the world, certainly, he has been extremely vocal in his opposition of Trident and praise of tyrants and terrorists the world over. Withdrawal from NATO seems to have fallen away in terms of importance but Trident remains a cornerstone of his principles on defence.
The following is an extract from the Jeremy Corbyn website, peace section.
Arguing for a radically different international policy
I have always campaigned against neo-colonial wars that are fought for resources on the pretence of fighting for human rights. We need an understanding of our past and our role in the making of the conflicts today, whether it be the Sykes-Picot Agreement or our interventions in the Middle East post 9/11.
I argue for a different type of foreign policy based on political and not military solutions; on genuine internationalism that recognises that all human life is precious, no matter what nationality; and solidarity with the oppressed across the globe from the subjugated Palestinians to the displaced Chagos Islanders.
One the Jeremy for Labour website, defence diversification is the key message, swords to ploughshares as it were.
Coinciding with the 70th anniversary commemoration of Hiroshima, Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn MP is setting out how under his premiership, the policy of not replacing Trident with a new generation of nuclear weapons will be used instead to boost growth and innovation for the British economy, protecting the skills of the workforce.
The Defence Diversification Agency will re-educate and re-deploy defence workers;
Mr Corbyn’s Defence Diversification Agency will redeploy defence workers and diversify their skills in accordance with the Vision For Britain 2020 – rebalancing the economy and promoting growth, not austerity and cuts.
“Not renewing Trident gives our country an opportunity to invest in industry, innovation and infrastructure that will rebalance our economy and transform it into a high skilled, high-tech world leading economy. It is not only the right thing to do but a better way to deal with our economic challenges.”
Personally, I think his principled opposition to war is just that, principled. It is honourable and genuine and part of his appeal, as Nigel Farage has shown, the bend with the wind polished media performers that are so common in political life today have turned people off politics, anyone that has principles and genuine convictions has appeal.
I think most readers will think he is wrong, deadly, seriously, wrong. There are also questions to be answered about his support of the IRA, serious questions. He and his supporters no doubt helped to prolong the struggle for peace in Northern Ireland by naively encouraging the IRA strategy of bomb and ballot box, instead of ballot box alone.
More will become clearer in the coming weeks as shadow cabinet positions are filled and hopefully, confidential briefings will provide him and his team with the reality of the security threats facing the UK and behaviour moderated accordingly. An interesting barrier ahead is his membership of the Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council, it is usual for leaders of the opposition to do but given he is an avowed republican, this is no means certain.
What is certain, however, is that the Government of the day needs an effective opposition to hold it to account. The Labour Party will have to formally respond to the forthcoming SDSR and present a credible alternative. The Government has already shown its ability to, frankly, cook the books on defence spending, an opposition that doesn’t want to spend any more than a fraction of 2% is hardly likely to call them out for it.
Singing songs around the campfire in Islington with Gerry Adams and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi whilst campaigning for leaving NATO, dramatically cutting the defence budget and getting rid of Trident don’t seem like a terribly good means of providing an effective opposition to me.