The death of veteran Labour MP Sir Gerald Kaufman (report, 27 February 2017; https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/feb/26/sir-gerald-kaufman-labour-mp-for-manchester-gorton-dies-aged-86 ) has led to many media recollections of Sir Gerald’s assessment that Labour ‘s 1983 General Election Manifesto was the ”longest suicide note in history.”
But where Labour went wrong was in the timing of the policies, not their content.
The manifesto pledged to take the UK out of the European Economic Community -today’s European Union - which last year’s referendum demonstrated is now the majority national opinion.
It also pledged to rid the world of nuclear weapons, starting with the UK.
Current defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon told Parliament two years ago “we share the vision of a world that is without nuclear weapons.” (Hansard, 20 January 2015: Column 105 https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm150120/debtext/150120-0002.htm)
Last week President Trump told Reuters in an interview “It would be wonderful, a dream would be that no country would have nukes.” (23 February 2017. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-idUSKBN1622IF).
And eight years ago President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize for his pronounced aim in his speech in Prague calling for a world without nuclear weapons (“Barack Obama launches doctrine for nuclear-free world,” The Guardian, 6 April 2009; https://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/apr/05/nuclear-weapons-barack-obama)
Labour should be given credit for political vision, not lambasted for it.