Category Archives: Nuclear Weapons

Here’s how Labour voted on Trident renewal, based on the Tory lie that it works

The vote on renewal of the American Trident nuclear weapons system was an attempt to put Labour on the back foot, by a Conservative Party that had no idea how to implement Brexit.

Jeremy Corbyn was already facing a rebellion by a majority of his MPs, stirred up with a false accusation that he had been ineffective in the EU referendum campaign (in fact his campaign was hugely successful. It is notable that, while he was pilloried for getting more than 60 per cent of Labour voters and supporters to vote Remain, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon was revered – for achieving almost the same result).

The hope, it seemed, was that a defeat for Mr Corbyn’s views on Trident (he opposes renewal) would put the final nail in the coffin of his tenure as Labour leader.

Perhaps that is why the Conservatives hid evidence that Trident is faulty. One wonders what they expected from a nuclear deterrent that uses an obsolete version of Windows – Windows XP or ‘Windows for Submarines’.

Mr Corbyn evaded criticism by making Trident renewal an open vote, meaning MPs could vote according to their consciences. At the time, he had no way of knowing that they were also basing their decision on a Tory lie.

The final House of Commons vote was 472 votes to 117 in favour of renewing the nuclear programme.

Considering what we know now, some of you who have Labour MPs may wish to discuss this matter with them.

The cost of Trident renewal is currently more than £200 billion, for a country that is constantly being told it cannot afford to fund the public healthcare system properly. That’s the NHS, which is currently in its worst-ever Winter crisis.

The total number of UK jobs safeguarded by keeping Trident is around 500 – all of whom could be given other work if the renewal had not gone ahead. The UK still needs to be able to defend itself, and cutting out Trident means more people would have to be employed on such work, not less.

So perhaps you might want to suggest the time is right to demand that the Trident renewal vote be revisited, in order to allow MPs to vote on the facts, rather than the lies?

Here is how the Labour MPs divided:

Aye – in favour of Trident renewal

Heidi Alexander
Rushanara Ali
Rosena Allin-Khan
Ian Austin
Adrian Bailey
Kevin Barron
Margaret Beckett
Hilary Benn
Luciana Berger
Clive Betts
Tom Blenkinsop
Ben Bradshaw
Kevin Brennan
Chris Bryant
Andy Burnham
Liam Byrne
Alan Campbell
Jenny Chapman
Vernon Coaker
Ann Coffey
Julie Cooper
Rosie Cooper
Yvette Cooper
Neil Coyle
Mary Creagh
Stella Creasy
Jim Cunningham
Nic Dakin
Simon Danczuk
Wayne David
Geraint Davies
Gloria de Piero
Stephen Doughty
Jim Dowd
Peter Dowd
Jack Dromey
Michael Dugher
Angela Eagle
Maria Eagle
Julie Elliott
Louise Ellman
Bill Esterson
Paul Farrelly
Frank Field
Jim Fitzpatrick
Robert Flello
Colleen Fletcher
Caroline Flint
Yvonne Fovargue
Gill Furniss
Mike Gapes
Pat Glass
Mary Glindon
Kate Green
Andrew Gwynne
David Hanson
Harriet Harman
Helen Hayes
Sue Hayman
John Healey
Stephen Hepburn
Meg Hillier
Margaret Hodge
George Howarth
Tristram Hunt
Dan Jarvis
Alan Johnson
Diana Johnson
Gerald Jones
Graham Jones
Helen Jones
Kevan Jones
Susan Elan Jones
Mike Kane
Liz Kendall
Stephen Kinnock
Peter Kyle
Chris Leslie
Emma Lewell-Buck
Ian C Lucas
Holly Lynch
Justin Madders
Khalid Mahmood
Shabana Mahmood
Seema Malhotra
John Mann
Rob Marris
Christian Matheson
Steve McCabe
Kerry McCarthy
Siobhain McDonagh
Pat McFadden
Conor McGinn
Alison McGovern
Liz McInnes
Catherine McKinnell
Ed Miliband
Madeleine Moon
Jessica Morden
Melanie Onn
Chi Onwurah
Albert Owen
Matthew Pennycook
Toby Perkins
Jess Phillips
Bridget Phillipson
Lucy Powell
Jamie Reed
Steve Reed
Christina Rees
Rachel Reeves
Jonathan Reynolds
Geoffrey Robinson
Joan Ryan
Virendra Sharma
Barry Sheerman
Paula Sherriff
Gavin Shuker
Andy Slaughter
Ruth Smeeth
Angela Smith
Nick Smith
Owen Smith
Karin Smyth
John Spellar
Keir Starmer
Wes Streeting
Gisela Stuart
Mark Tami
Gareth Thomas
Nick Thomas-Symonds
Stephen Timms
Anna Turley
Karl Turner
Stephen Twigg
Valerie Vaz
Tom Watson
Phil Wilson
Rosie Winterton
John Woodcock
Iain Wright

No – opposed to Trident

Diane Abbott
Graham Allen
Paul Blomfield
Nicholas Brown
Richard Burden
Richard Burgon
Dawn Butler
Ruth Cadbury
Ronnie Campbell
Sarah Champion
Ann Clwyd
Jeremy Corbyn
John Cryer
Paul Flynn
Vicky Foxcroft
Roger Godsiff
Helen Goodman
Margaret Greenwood
Nia Griffith
Louise Haigh
Fabian Hamilton
Carolyn Harris
Kate Hoey
Kelvin Hopkins
Imran Hussain
David Lammy
Rebecca Long Bailey
Rachael Maskell
John McDonnell
Alan Meale
Ian Murray
Lisa Nandy
Kate Osamor
Stephen Pound
Angela Rayner
Marie Rimmer
Naz Shah
Tulip Siddiq
Dennis Skinner
Andrew Smith
Jeff Smith
Jo Stevens
Graham Stringer
Jon Trickett
Keith Vaz
Catherine West
Daniel Zeichner

Abstained

Rupa Huq

Absent

Debbie Abrahams
David Anderson
Jonathan Ashworth
Roberta Blackman-Woods
Lyn Brown
Karen Buck
David Crausby
Jon Cruddas
Judith Cummins
Alex Cunningham
Thangam Debbonaire
Clive Efford
Christopher Elmore
Natascha Engel
Chris Evans
Barry Gardiner
Lilian Greenwood
Mark Hendrick
Sharon Hodgson
Kate Hollern
Lindsay Hoyle
Gerald Kaufman
Barbara Keeley
Ian Lavery
Clive Lewis
Ivan Lewis
Fiona Mactaggart
Gordon Marsden
Andy McDonald
Jim McMahon
Ian Mearns
Grahame Morris
Teresa Pearce
Yasmin Qureshi
Emma Reynolds
Steve Rotheram
Cat Smith
Emily Thornberry
Derek Twigg
Chuka Umunna
Alan Whitehead
David Winnick

(Information from The New Statesman)

If you have a Conservative MP, or an MP from one of the other parties, please feel free to contact them and find out how they feel about it.

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Tories covered up – that means they LIED – Trident test failure to secure renewal of nuclear weapons


Any number of jokes could be made about this – the Americans have sold us ‘homing’ missiles that are more likely to obliterate their country of manufacture than an enemy, for example – but the fact is that Parliament’s vote was based on the lie that this system was reliable. Clearly, it isn’t.

Labour politicians who rebelled against their leader, Jeremy Corbyn, must be feeling particularly embarrassed and exposed today.

He voted against Trident renewal but gave members of his party a free vote on the issue, which has been divisive among the Labour Party.

One wonders whether it will continue to be so contentious now that we all know Trident doesn’t work!

A Trident missile blasts out of the ocean, having just been launched from a nuclear submarine – probably in the wrong direction.

I will try to get you a list of the way Labour MPs voted on Trident renewal later. If you have a Labour MP, please use the information to request stronger support for Mr Corbyn from now on.

Downing Street has been accused of covering up a Trident missile malfunction weeks before a crucial Commons vote on the future of the submarine-based missile system.

The Sunday Times reports that a Trident II D5 missile test ended in failure after it was launched from the British submarine HMS Vengeance off the coast of Florida in June last year.

It was reportedly intended to be fired 5,600 miles to a sea target off the west coast of Africa but may have veered off towards America instead.

Source: Downing Street ‘covered up serious Trident missile malfunction’ weeks before crucial Commons vote

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Evasive Theresa May seems unable to answer any question – especially on Trident

This Writer has been a little unwell over the weekend so I wasn’t actually able to watch Theresa May’s car-crash interview on Andrew Marr’s show this morning (January 22). From the responses on Twitter I missed a classic display of attempted evasion.

From what she didn’t say, she appears to have colluded in hiding the failure of a Trident missile test from MPs before they voted on renewing the rubbish nuclear weapons programme for hundreds of billions of pounds:

Jeremy Corbyn had this to say about it:

And consider this:

It is now clear that she definitely wants to turn the UK into a tax haven – to your (and my) disadvantage:

And she tried to pretend that her party’s ‘divide and conquer’ rhetoric was “bringing the UK together as a country” (we know the Scots and Northern Irish are desperate to leave):

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Trident renewal costs rise by £6 billion


The cost of renewing Trident has increased by 55 per cent since 2006 – an extra £11 billion – according to the new figures. Is that value for money, for something we’ll never use?

Debate over the renewal of the Trident nuclear programme is set to become even more intense after the Ministry of Defence disclosed the costs have jumped by billions of pounds.

David Cameron, announcing the outcome of the five-year strategic and security review in the Commons, pledged to maintain nuclear weapons as “our ultimate insurance policy as a nation” but failed to mention the new estimated cost.

The strategy document disclosed the cost of the proposed four nuclear submarines at £31bn, up from a projected cost of £25bn five years ago and £20bn in 2006.

Source: Trident renewal costs rise by £6bn, defence review reveals | UK news | The Guardian

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Ken Livingstone and ‘psychiatric help’ shadow minister should BOTH apologise

There are no two ways about it: Mr Livingstone needs to apologise, even if he didn’t know about Kevan Jones and his psychiatric history.

Jeremy Corbyn has now demanded an apology, in any case.

But Mr Jones should also apologise. He should not have spoken publicly against Mr Livingstone’s appointment to the defence review.

One wonders why he did.

The row over Ken Livingstone’s appointment to Labour’s defence review has exploded after he said a shadow minister who criticised his appointment “might need some psychiatric help”.

Livingstone, the former mayor of London, made the comments about the shadow defence minister, Kevan Jones, who has suffered from depression.

Jones had questioned whether the anti-Trident Livingstone was the right person to lead the defence review with Maria Eagle, the shadow defence secretary, who has expressed support for renewing the nuclear deterrent.

Jones has in the past spoken publicly about suffering from mental illness in 1996.

“I think he might need some psychiatric help. He’s obviously very depressed and disturbed,” Livingstone told the Mirror. “He should pop off and see his GP before he makes these offensive comments.”

Jones said : “I find these comments gravely offensive not just personally but also to the many thousands who suffer from mental illness.”

Afterwards, Livingstone told the Evening Standard he had not been aware Jones had suffered from depression, and said he had never heard of him.

Source: Ken Livingstone says shadow minister ‘may need psychiatric help’ | Politics | The Guardian

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Put the blame for the Paris attacks where it belongs: On terrorists, not Islam

A French police officer takes cover while on the lookout for the shooters who attacked the restaurant 'Le Petit Cambodge.'

The horrific attacks on the people of Paris prompted an outpouring of anti-Muslim sentiment on the social media, long before Islamic State took responsibility for what happened.

We all know the score now – or at least we should: At least 127 people lie dead and many more injured, and France is in a state of emergency after a series of bomb and gun attacks in Paris on the evening of Friday 13 November. The terrorist group Islamic State claimed responsibility, several hours after the attacks took place.

The social media – in particular, Twitter – responded with hysteria that was mostly directed at Muslims, regardless of whether people of that religion supported the atrocities or not. This Writer has Muslim friends who were extremely distressed by the hatred shown to them.

And rightly so. Islamic State does not represent the Muslim faith, no matter what its title claims. This organisation is a gang of faithless bandits – no more, no less – who are trying to hijack an entire religion in order to create hatred and division among people beyond the borders of its own illegal caliphate.

Let’s put that in context: IS represents all of Islam to around the same degree as Zionists represent all of Judaism. Both groups have committed atrocities against others in the name of a wider religion – atrocities that the majority of the members of those religions don’t want.

As I stated on Twitter in the early hours of November 14, I’m not going to blame all of Islam for the actions of a few idiots.

And I’m not going to let anyone use Paris to justify the murder of Mohammed Emwazi – the man dubbed ‘Jihadi John’ by his colleagues in Islamic State.

The attack by US forces, approved by UK prime minister David Cameron, represents a lowering of standards. There was no justice to it – no attempt to make the man stand trial for his alleged crimes. It was state-sponsored murder of one of our own citizens – no more, no less.

In approving this raid, the British authorities have lost any claim to the moral high ground.

One more point. After the attack, France’s President Hollande promised “pitiless war” on the perpetrators. I was particularly struck by the response on Twitter from Chris Hayes of MSNBC. He wrote:

“Hollande’s pledge of ‘pitiless’ war is, I have no doubt, the kind of thing many people *want* to hear. But the US learned the hard way after 9/11 how hard it is to translate rhetoric, resolve and massive military advantage into actual security, peace or anything that resembles lasting and definitive ‘victory’.”

How true those words are.

America’s war on terror has been a crushing failure, not because of any military disadvantage but because of a lack of imagination. The terrorists were engaged on their own terms and simply turned military defeats into recruitment drives.

The message is clear: You don’t change people’s minds by killing their friends and families.

This is one reason Jeremy Corbyn is right to oppose the renewal of Trident; it is no deterrent against fanatics who want to attack the UK (just ask MI5) – and without knowing where they are based, where would the UK point its missiles?

No. The only effective response to this attack is intelligence. We all need to get smart.

And we can start by blaming the people responsible, rather than whoever they want us to.

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Ignore the back-seat drivers; Corbyn was right in his behaviour – and his beliefs

Does anybody care that some former First Sea Lord might resign the Labour whip over Jeremy Corbyn’s views about nuclear weapons?

Who thinks Nigel Farage should have any kind of say over Mr Corbyn’s behaviour at the cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday?

What about The Sun, claiming Corbyn should have bowed more deeply after placing his wreath. What does an exaggerated piece of theatre have to do with respect for the dead?

It’s all rubbish, of course. Silly noises made by the chatterers to undermine someone they don’t like. Gossip.

Corbyn has a view on nuclear weapons, but we can see from his words about the Second World War that he has a view about fighting evil, too.

Perhaps – and I know it’s an unfashionable idea nowadays – it’s why he went into politics in the first place.

Lord West criticised the current chief of the defence staff, Gen Sir Nicholas Houghton, for comments he made on Sunday in which he said he was worried by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s statement that he would never use nuclear weapons.

West said: “We (military figures) tend to say things as we see rather than spinning them or being clever with our words.”

“He was trying to be careful but he got bluffed into saying a little bit more than he should have done.”

The peer said no action was needed against Houghton other than to advise him to “be careful”.

He claimed that Houghton had been naive in being walked into answering a question he should not have answered, but insisted the issue had been overblown.

Nigel Farage said Corbyn should have bowed more deeply at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday.

The Sun newspaper also claimed Corbyn had insulted the war dead by failing to bow his head more deeply when he laid his wreath.

Corbyn turned up at the Cenotaph in a dark suit wearing a red poppy and stayed behind after the service to talk to former servicemen informally, rather than attending a formal lunch.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, the paper’s former editor Charles Moore refused to join the criticism, saying: “There was nothing wrong with his slight bow, he wore unobjectionable clothes, a red poppy and a respectful expression.”

Corbyn’s views are close to pacifist, but he has defended the second world war as a fight against fascism.

Source: Trident: former first sea lord criticises armed forces chief for Corbyn remarks | UK news | The Guardian

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Corbyn’s Scottish trip shows he means it when he says he’ll win back support

151002corbynirnbru

“Gotta feel sorry for Corbyn. “Don’t mention Scotland! Drink this! Just Drink. The. Irn. Bru. Try to look happy.”

That’s SNP councillor Mhairi Hunter’s opinion of Jeremy Corbyn’s trip north of the English border – but it’s one that doesn’t seem to reflect the actual state of affairs at all.

Sure, we have the photographs of Labour’s new leader brandishing a bottle of Irn Bru and claims like that in The National, that Scottish Labour has told him not to mention the word ‘Scotland’ for fear of “playing to the nationalist agenda” (it seems he was advised by senior party insiders to refer to towns and cities rather than the country).

Others have been taking the visit more seriously. According to the FT, “Some Labour members think that his left wing views will make it harder for the ruling Scottish National party to portray itself as a champion of socialist values while pursuing centrist policies” (Scottish Labour’s opinion seems to be that the SNP are “New Labour in kilts”).

This, of course, suggests that moving Labour to the left of the political spectrum leaves more of the middle ground for the SNP. Won’t that imply a visible shift in that party’s policies, away from what the electorate thought it was, though?

Mr Corbyn himself seems to endorse that view. Asked how Labour’s anti-austerity stance differs from the SNP’s, he told the Daily Record: “We mean it.”

“We’ve learned the lessons of the economic strategies of the past and the way they haven’t worked. It does mean rebalancing our economy, it does mean maintaining the 50p top rate of tax, it does mean not cutting tax credits for the poorest people in our society.

“We want to invest in a growing, expanding economy across the UK and we fully support the powers in the Scotland Bill, and we are going to be working closely with the Labour Party in Scotland to try to defend the people of Scotland from the worst effects of the Trade Union Bill and, of course, the Welfare Reform Bill.”

Mr Corbyn warned that the SNP plan for “full fiscal autonomy” would lead to “very, very heavy” austerity – implying that the nationalists have been misleading their electorate about the effects of their policies.

He told the Record: “If you go for fiscal autonomy, I don’t know what kind of austerity you are going to have but all I know is it would be very, very heavy. I want to see an end to austerity across all of the UK and that is what the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell did in his speech at the party conference on Monday.”

He made it clear that he rejects SNP claims that they are the only effective opposition to the Tories, and pointed out that Labour membership in Scotland it at its highest in years since he took over as leader.

“I believe we’re going to continue to gain support,” he said. “We’re going to do lot of campaigning and point out that what really matters to people is housing, is education, jobs, opportunities and opposing what the Tories are doing in the Welfare Reform Bill.

“We will do our best to get sufficient powers to the Scottish Parliament to try to reduce the impact of the disastrous welfare reform bill on the people of Scotland.”

And he repeated his position on Trident, saying his belief that it should be scrapped had been well known for years and would win popular support in Scotland.

Hmm. That’s six mentions of ‘Scotland’, just in the comments quoted here. Perhaps Ms Hunter and The National were mistaken?

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Disappointment as Labour conference decides against having a vote on Trident

Trident

That’s democracy for you, they’re saying.

A motion for the Labour Party Conference to vote on whether Labour should support the scrapping of plans to renew the UK’s Trident nuclear missiles (at a cost of around £100 billion) has fallen. It won’t be debated.

Already the spin doctors are at work. The BBC tagline is “Jeremy Corbyn has avoided a showdown over his support for scrapping Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons.” He didn’t want to avoid a showdown – he wanted to have one!

At least, that’s what Faisal Islam reckons.

The lack of a debate at conference means Mr Corbyn has more time to persuade MPs to take his side before Parliament votes on renewing the hugely expensive system, but This Writer would have preferred a decisive result sooner, rather than later.

It seems the unions voted against a debate. It seems some commentators may have to revise their opinions about Corbyn’s relationship with them, now.

Oh well.

That’s democracy for you.

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What’s wrong with ‘Labour’s biggest independent grassroots e-network’?

This blog was going to let Jeremy Corbyn’s Andrew Marr Show interview pass without comment – it’s a BBC show and therefore unlikely to have anything approaching useful to say. It seems others couldn’t bring themselves to exercise such restraint – to their shame.

According to the Graun, here’s Conor Pope of LabourList, which styles itself as ‘Labour’s biggest independent grassroots e-network’:

150927conorpope
What’s he trying to say? That Corbyn should be in another party, not Labour, if he’s going to spout such strong, traditional Labour views?

Corbyn was elected Labour leader with an overwhelming mandate. The Labour Party wants his policies. So, if Mr Pope has different opinions and cannot reconcile them with the prevailing view, perhaps he should go to a different party himself – along with anyone who agrees with him.

And perhaps he should stop writing for LabourList – along, again, with anyone who agrees with him. That site needs to represent the views of the Labour Party, not just a few creeps who think they’re part of some non-existent elite.

I’ve been wondering for some time exactly who LabourList is supposed to represent. Perhaps its time we were told.

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