Labour can’t seriously oppose austerity until it takes one bold step

A nuclear submarine and Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader of the Labour Party to oppose the Conservatives’ relentless commitment to austerity. But until Labour changes its position on Trident, its opposition will always seem disingenuous.

‘Tier 1 nation’

On 27 June, for the second time in a week, Theresa May failed to confirm that the UK will remain a ‘tier 1’ military power. The term refers to “nations that have the full range of military capabilities, including nuclear arms”.

This hesitancy prompted shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith to proclaim Labour’s underlying support for Trident:

And she boasted on The Andrew Marr Show that Labour has consistently spent more than 2% of Britain’s GDP on defence:

Not convinced

But despite her confidence, people aren’t convinced that this is the stance Labour should be taking:

And they would rather the money is spent elsewhere:

Others found the topsy-turvy situation baffling:

The ego of the British establishment

The UK spends 6% of its annual £35.1bn defence budget on Trident. That amounts to £2.1bn a year. And parliament’s decision to renew it in 2016 threatened to cost up to £40bn.

This seems a hell of a lot for something that SNP MP Mhairi Black branded as serving “no other purpose than to satisfy the ego of the British establishment”:

It represents a country looking back, glossy-eyed at its past status:

Instead, the Labour Party should be looking to the future, attempting to address the colossal damage of nearly a decade of austerity:

Corbyn vs the Labour establishment

Labour’s commitment to Trident seems even more ridiculous given Jeremy Corbyn’s position on it. He has admitted he would never hit the gleaming red button. In fact, during the renewal debate, Corbyn stated:

It is now time to step up to the plate and move rapidly towards disarmament.

Therefore, Labour’s position reeks of a lack of sincerity:

Corbyn became leader with a mandate to impart radical change, to leave the dull centrist policies of the past behind. But Labour backing Trident is achieving the opposite effect:

Labour cannot be anti-austerity and pro-Trident. The party must change its stance. Otherwise, it risks confusing voters and appeasing cruel Tory policies.

At the moment, Trident is acting as a deterrent against supporting the Labour Party.

Get Involved

– Contact your MP if you disagree with the Trident nuclear ‘deterrent’.

Featured image via Defence Images – Flickr and BBCiplayer

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