Goodness, I’ve been running around like the proverbial today. But I’ve had some blog thoughts too.
I would not be ready to push that button. (I know by the way that it really isn’t the case that one person can push one button and thus trigger all out nuclear war and the destruction of the world, but let’s go with the lazy shorthand anyway. It’s late.)
Here’s another apt meme: I’m not a fan of Jeremy Corbyn but…
…I agree with him on this thing. How on earth, after all, can it be an easy to thing to say, to contemplate, that you would be responsible for the deaths, suffering and loss of environment of so many innocent people? If you can honestly say glibly that you would be happy to take that responsibility, well, I’m not sure you’ve thought it through completely.
I could not be the person who started off a nuclear conflict. And I can’t see the point of using nuclear weapons as retaliation for an enemy nuclear strike: what would there to be gained in it? We’d already be dead or severely injured or dying of radiation sickness. Why inflict that on others? It would just cause more destruction, more suffering as an act of revenge and spite. I’d like to think I was better than that.
So, whatever I think of his Utopian Socialist views, I have quite a lot of admiration for the Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition’s openly stated view on the use of nuclear weapons. He has maintained his stance over the years when most other politicians have shifted theirs for political expediency.
Actually, that’s a fairly damning way of putting it. I was a member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the very early 1980s. I went on loads of marches and demonstrations and stood on a war memorial (an act of precedent) in silent, candlelit vigil on Hiroshima Day, to be jeered at by over-indulged kids my age with flicked hair, driving around in Austin Allegros.
My offspring can’t quite believe how we, growing up in the Cold War, faced the ultimate threat from the Soviet Union. I had vivid nightmares where I was hiding under a table, as per government advice, and a mushroom cloud would be taking shape behind my house.
For me, though, the cause of unilateral nuclear disarmament lost the 1983 election for Labour and consigned a lot of poorer people to a lot more misery and I don’t think I ever got over the depressing experience of defending the unilateralist position. And the multilateralist position of Mutually Assured Destruction and the nuclear deterrent was hugely persuasive in those days.
I think, though, that times have changed. Though more countries have acquired nuclear weapons, the world has not become safer. People contend that they have kept the peace but they have not actually stopped wars around the planet, many against countries who have nuclear weapons.
India and Pakistan, both countries with the Bomb, are constantly at each others’ throats and, as people often say, the fact that the USA has a substantial nuclear arsenal did not stop people flying aeroplanes into the World Trade Centre.
It is my feeling that a major threat, quite apart from climate change and environmental destruction, lies from those people who have been embittered and disenfranchised by aggressive foreign policies of governments around the world, including our own. To me, developing nuclear weapons is an act of hubris. Look at North Korea, prioritising its nuclear weapon strategy while its own children starve. Look at any number of countries who prefer to develop nuclear weapons as an act of, well, willy waving, when their people could benefit from things like education, healthcare, basic utilities.
And in these austere times, when there is no money to spend on supporting vulnerable people; young people; people who work hard and yet don’t earn enough to make ends meet, I can’t help thinking that the money spent upgrading weapons that no-one thoughtful could ever want to use would be better spent investing in people.
The Shadow Defence Secretary has openly described her new boss’s remarks about never wanting to use nuclear weapons as “unhelpful.” Well, I wonder exactly what she expects him to say. Does she think any government that might regard us with emnity would think that Jeremy Corbyn, if Prime Minster, had changed his mind? Everyone knows what he thinks. How would keeping quiet about his well-known views help anyone?
And, despite my general dislike of the smugness of our current Prime Minister, I would be very surprised if he would feel happy to contemplate pushing that button.
Talking of pushing buttons, I was overwhelmed today by the need to express my loathing for puns. I despise them.
What is it with people who consciously think them up and use them in that look-at-me-I’m-so-clever-for-thinking-this-up,-aren’t -you-kicking-yourself-that-you’re-not-as-clever-as-me-and-you’d-better-laugh-and make-it-convincing way?
I am not amused. No puns.