Monday, 27 February 2017

Labour's prescient political vision

Letter sent to the Guardian:

The death of veteran Labour MP Sir Gerald Kaufman (report, 27 February 2017; ) 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

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.

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;

Labour should be given credit for political vision, not lambasted for it.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Labour's enemies

 Letter sent to the Times:
I find it odd you give such prominence to David Miliband’s views on the political prospects Labour Party (“Labour at weakest for 50 years, says Miliband,” Feb 25)

He abandoned his working class constituents in South Shields, resigning as an MP for a job with the International Rescue Committee in New York, more than quadrupling his salary in the process.

He rarely visits Britain, but feels able to offer detailed insights into UK politics and the Labour Party from afar, a role for which he is totally unsuited.

He could have remained in Parliament, and fought for policies in which he professes to believe, but, as did former Labour MPs Jamie Reed (Copeland) and Tristam Hunt (Stoke), chose to cut and run form  the highly privileged position of representing  his electors in Parliament, to enhance his own personal bank account.

These former MPs have been critical of the Labour Party leadership, but in their carping from the wings, have contributed to the national electorate’s questioning of the Corbyn leadership.

A period of political silence from the resigned three would  be appreciated by all who have chosen to stay and fight for the poor, the downtrodden and the sick, who are being increasingly alienated by the May government.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Nuclear Disarmament Trump card


I strongly agree with the critical views against President Trump’s misogyny, racism and anti-Muslim policies expressed by your multi-authored letter (“We stand together against Trump’s toxic agenda,” 2 February;


But, as someone who has been a member and supporter of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament for nearly 40 years, I cannot understand why Dr Kate Hudson, national general secretary of CND  signed this letter in the name of the campaign she leads, rather than in a personal capacity.


To be sure, Just before Christmas last year, he tweeted, as President –elect: “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.” (


But Trump has made many more comments opposing nuclear weapons, which CND must know.


For example, on 16 January, he asserted:“I think nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially ( “How President Trump Could Bring About A Safer Greater World Peace,” Forbes, 20 January,


Over a year ago, on15 December 2015 he said “The biggest problem we have is nuclear—nuclear proliferation and having some maniac, having some madman go out and get a nuclear weapon. That's in my opinion that is the single biggest problem that our country faces right now.” (“Distorting Trump on nuclear war,” National Review, 6 September 2016,


Trump’s views on nuclear weapons are maverick, like many other of his policies, and they stretch back over three decades, as an  article published in US news web site, Slate, on 1st March last year, demonstrates with  extraordinary insight. (Trump’s Nuclear Experience: In 1987, he set out to solve the world’s biggest problem


Written by senior Slate magazine writer, Ron Rosenbaum, it revealed: Trump is not new to nuclear matters. He has been thinking about how he’d handle nuclear weapons and nuclear proliferation for more than a quarter-century, at least since 1987, when he claimed to me that he was “dealing at a very high level” with people in the White House (that would have been the Reagan White House) on doomsday questions.


Trump wanted to begin a crusade to find a way to halt  a national security policy based on nuclear mutually assured destruction (MAD)  “before a wild-card nuke deals death to millions.”


Trump foresaw a situation soon when “hair-trigger” heads of state will have their hands on multiple nuclear triggers. And, Rosembaum observed, it drives him crazy that nobody in the White House senses the danger.


In the  middle of last month it was revealed in the media that Trump wants to recreate the US-Russia presidential summit  that US president Reagan  and Soviet President Gorbachev held in Reykjavik, in Iceland in January 1986, where they very nearly came to an extraordinary agreement to outlaw all nuclear weapons. (“Trump wants Putin summit in Reykjavik, Sunday Times, 15 January,


CND and others campaigning against nuclear weapons should take some encouragement from this positive aspect of Trump’s outpouring of  negative policies, and read the US National Archive on Gorbachev’s Nuclear Initiative of January 1986 and the Road to Reykjavik, (Electronic briefing book 563,  12 October 2016, to see how Trump could  be, as were Reagan and Nixon with China, the Republican president who made a big difference in east-west relations