Why the main pro-Trident argument doesn’t work, according to Mr Corbyn

160720 Corbyn Trident

I know. The vote on Trident happened on Monday, and far too many Labour MPs supported its renewal.

Here’s one good reason why they were wrong, and we should question their decision. In whose name is it “responsible” that Trident should be renewed?

This Writer agrees with Tina Savage, who tweeted about the 140 Labour MPs who supported Trident: “The next time a MP bangs on about cuts to their local area, ask them how they voted on .”

This, from Kapil Komireddi, is also true: “Looking at Trident vote, it’s clear: almost every Labour MP who abstained on the welfare bill in 2015 voted to burn £200 billion on Trident.”

For clarity, here’s a list of the 47 Labour MPs who voted against Trident renewal:

160720 Labour MPs against Trident
160720 Labour MPs against Trident 2

[The] argument, that renewing Trident is ‘responsible’, has been challenged by many, including Jeremy Corbyn. And the grounds on which he argues the case for nuclear disarmament speaks to this core issue in the nuclear debate.Speaking to The Guardian at the Tolpuddle festival in Dorset, Corbyn restated his longstanding commitment to unilateral nuclear disarmament, and his hope that the Labour party would get behind that position. He noted:

I recognise people are going to take some time to get into that position [unilateralism], but I ask them to look at the world as it is

The “world as it is” that Corbyn speaks of includes international laws, obligations and treaties. And there is a crucial treaty relating to nuclear deterrents, which Corbyn highlights in the justification of his anti-Trident position:

I will be voting against continuous at-sea deterrent, because it rules out any compliance with the nuclear non-proliferation treaty…I’ve been involved in peace transformation all of my life, and I think we’ve got an opportunity to show leadership in the world.

The Labour leader’s argument is that we have a responsibility to the United Nations, under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), to take measures to reduce our nuclear capacity. And that it would show “leadership” to do so.

The UK committed to the NPT at its birth. This treaty, ratified in 1970, aims to “prevent the spread of nuclear weapons” and bring about “complete disarmament” in those countries that already own them.

Therefore, as a signatory to the treaty, the UK should:

pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race

And what better moment than this to ‘negotiate’, when we have a key bargaining chip in our hands?

The UK could make a deal with the remaining nuclear powers to consign Trident to history if they agree to do the same with part of their arsenals. This could trigger a slowing of the arms ‘race’, and would have great symbolic weight as the UK is considered one of the major nuclear powers.

Source: Corbyn just blew a missile-sized hole right through the main pro-Trident argument | The Canary


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8 thoughts on “Why the main pro-Trident argument doesn’t work, according to Mr Corbyn

  1. jeffrey davies

    yet they said 30000 jobs inreality it was 520 jobs over here the rest in america surely we aint paying to keep the yanks in work funny no but most are missing this point and if a bomb ever got dropped on us then the fallout will be 250 miles without the blast effect our island is only around 160 180 miles wide ar its widest oh dear two bombs would see us off lucky the russians like america have dismantled many of these and we support more oh dear oh dear jeff3

  2. Pjay Mac

    I wish all the Media and General Public would stop addressing Watson Eagle Smith Hunt Cooper Harman et al as LABOUR they are the Abomination that is New Labour and have as much affinity with Jeremy Corbyn and The LABOUR MOVEMENT/ PARTY as UKIP the BNP and their best Friends The Uber Elite Conservative Party who they the New Labour MPs listed above and the Rest of the COWARDS who are trying to remain anonymous are desperately Striving to equal no Labour MP worth there salt would’ve Abstained on a Vote that was a killing blow to the Poor Unemployed Elderly and Disabled the Vote in favour on a system tailor made as an ego trip for the warmongering Tory and New Labour MPs 140 of them I wonder how many of these Tory and Wee Tory Gangsters have shares or going to acquire free shares in the Doom Merchants Companies this System is a bigger waste of our money than “The Edinburgh Trams” and this disaster takes some beating these Tyrants will authorise Trident BUT NOT IN MY NAME?????????

  3. Tim

    Has any country with nuclear weapons disarmed unilaterally? And if, yes, then did that country’s unilateral disarmament induce, encourage or persuade other nuclear powers to reduce or abandon their nuclear arsenals? As far as I know this hasn’t happened, ever. Surely the way to go is to bargain away some of your nuclear arms in return for other countries doing away with some of theirs, multilaterally.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      South Africa.
      The dismantling of that country’s nuclear weapons led to the African Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty, also known as the Treaty of Pelindaba, which has been ratified by 28 countries. It requires that parties will not engage in the research, development, manufacture, stockpiling acquisition, testing, possession, control or stationing of nuclear explosive devices in the territory of parties to the treaty and the dumping of radioactive wastes in the African zone by treaty parties.

      1. Tim

        Did South Africa’s unilateral disarmament induce, encourage or persuade other nuclear powers to reduce or abandon their nuclear arsenals? Did their good example cut any ice with any other nuclear power, or aspiring nuclear power, to follow suit?

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        Why are you repeating a question I’ve already answered?
        I’m getting tired of this behaviour, Tim.

    2. Tim

      The point I was trying to make was that if you unilaterally disarm you set a good example, from a moral and ethical point of view, but lose any influence you had regionally and internationally to negotiate with other countries to multilaterally reduce the number of nuclear weapons globally in the world. Once you leave a club you lose any power you owned as a member to affect what goes on inside the club, as we’re about to find out when we leave the EU. Much better surely to keep nuclear weapons and work with others to reduce them in concert with other countries and with them the dangers associated with their use?

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        South Africa disproves your point.
        That country unilaterally disarmed and then persuaded another 27 countries against nuclear weapons as well.

Comments are closed.