Nuclear attack? We must support Corbyn’s refusal to murder millions: Oliver Tickell

Another unpublished article found in archives – extracts set out Jeremy Corbyn’s position on nuclear weapons.   

“There are five declared nuclear weapon states in the world. There are three others that have nuclear weapons. That is eight countries out of 192; 187 countries do not feel the need to have nuclear weapons to protect their security. Why should those five need them to protect their security? We are not in the cold war any more.

Some highlights from this article by Oliver Tickell (right) published on1st October 2015.

Jeremy Corbyn’s first Labour Conference as party leader and Leader of the Opposition was looking like an overwhelming success – the best in many years.

Even more important, opinion polls were showing that Corbyn popularity in the country was on the rise. In a Sky poll, more than half thought he would make a credible prime minister, 66% liked his leadership style, and 59% felt more likely to vote Labour in a General Election. Disaster!

In an interview with the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg he was asked about nuclear weapons:

LC: “Would you ever push the nuclear button if you were prime minister?”

JC: “I am opposed to nuclear weapons, I am opposed to the holding and usage of nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons are the ultimate weapons of mass destruction that can only kill millions of civilians if ever used. I am totally and morally opposed to nuclear weapons. I do not see them as a defence and do not see the use of them as a credible way to do things”

LC: “So yes or no you would never push the nuclear button?”

JC: “I have told you perfectly clearly its immoral to have or use nuclear weapons, I have made that clear all my life.”

LK: “But Jeremy Corbyn do you acknowledge there is a risk that you would put your own principles before the protection of this country?”

JC: “It looks to the voters I hope that I am someone who is absolutely committed to the spread of international law, spreading international human rights, bringing a nuclear free world nearer.”

LK: “And that is more important to you than the protection of this country? Some voters might think that.”

JC: “We are not under threat from any nuclear power. We are under threat from instability, yes, there is a terrorist issue around the world. Listen, the nuclear weapons that the United States hold, all the hundreds if not thousands of warheads they’ve got, were no help to them on 9/11.”

In other BBC interviews he referred to the UK’s legal duties to pursue nuclear disarmament under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, adding:

“I want to see a nuclear-free world. I believe it is possible. I do not think we should be renewing Trident … I think we should be promoting an international nuclear weapons convention which would lead to a nuclear-free world.

“There are five declared nuclear weapon states in the world. There are three others that have nuclear weapons. That is eight countries out of 192; 187 countries do not feel the need to have nuclear weapons to protect their security. Why should those five need them to protect their security? We are not in the cold war any more.

“I don’t think we should be spending £100bn on renewing Trident. That is a quarter of our defence budget. There are many in the military that do not want Trident renewed because they see it as an obsolete thing they don’t need. They would much rather see it spent on conventional weapons.”

And as he pointed out in his own speech to the conference, this is the position that he took in the leadership election, on which he was elected with a massive popular mandate.

Corbyn’s principled refusal to make himself a mass murderer and war criminal is legally, strategically and militarily correct, and in accordance with the UK’s international treaty obligations to pursue nuclear disarmament. We should give him our unconditional support in his quest for a nuclear-free world.

Oliver Tickell studied physics at Oxford University and is a founding fellow of the Green Economic Institute. He is a British journalist, author and campaigner on health and environment issues, and author of the book Kyoto2 which sets out a blueprint for effective global climate governance. His articles have been published in all the broadsheet newspapers and numerous magazines including New Scientist, New Statesman and The Economist. He is an experienced broadcaster on the BBC home and world services including “Today”, “PM”, “Costing the Earth”, “Farming World” and “Farming Today”.

 

 

 

 

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