British Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn: ‘The Things That Are Real’.

He talks like a human being, about the things that are real to me’. These are the words of a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, a candidate for the leadership of the UK Labour Party who is receiving massive and unexpected support, especially from the young.

I concur. He talks about the things which are real to me. What can be more real than the ever-present threat to us all from nuclear weapons?

Mr Corbyn is against nuclear weapons. He is against Trident renewal. He does not want one hundred billion pounds of citizens wealth spent on a new arsenal of weapons whose unique ability is the instantaneous incineration of millions of civilians. In this he reflects the wishes of the majority of British citizens. Mr Corbyn’s policy includes the statement “Not renewing Trident gives our country an opportunity to invest in industry, innovation and infrastructure that will rebalance our economy and transform it into a high skilled, high-tech world-leading economy. It is not only the right thing to do but a better way to deal with our economic challenges.”

By building arsenals of nuclear weapons we are issuing a threat of a horrible death to millions ‘if our vital interests are threatened’ as the alleged war criminal and ex prime minister Blair put it in his 2006 Green Paper,’ The Future of the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Deterrent’.

All the other three candidates for the labour party leadership are on the side of Blair. They all want to spend £100 billion on a new arsenal of nuclear weapons.Mr Burnham (who voted for the invasion of Iraq and would not rule out air strikes on Syria) wants to replace the Trident nuclear missiles system1.

Yvette Cooper (who supported the Iraq war and supports air strikes against ISIS) wants to rebuild our nuclear arsenal. Liz Kendall (the most hawkish of them all1) supports Trident renewal.

What has happened to the British Labour Party when the majority of its leadership candidates want the world’s population of ‘ordinary’ people to live under this hideous and inhuman threat?

The threat is real

The reality of the threat from arsenals of nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert, ready to be launched within minutes and subject to cyber attack by murderous hackers was underlined this month (August, 2015) by former US and Russian commanders, ‘Retired military officers from the United States, Russia and other nuclear powers issued a report warning of the mounting dangers of the short fuses that allow hundreds of atomic weapons to be launched within minutes’2. A report sponsored by the disarmament group Global Zero tells us ‘Hundreds of missiles carrying nearly 1,800 warheads are ready to fly at a moment’s notice’.And we are warned that the hair-trigger alert, which applies to half of the US and Russian arsenals, is particularly dangerous in an era when “warning and decision timelines are getting shorter, and consequently the potential for fateful human error in nuclear control systems is growing larger.”

James Cartwright is a retired four-star general who has been in charge of the US nuclear arsenal. It is hard to imagine a more authoritative voice. He warns“There are a set of vulnerabilities particularly for the US and Russia in these systems [nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert] that were built in the fifties, sixties, seventies and eighties,” and “Many of these old systems are subject to false alarms,”

Our bold leaders escalate regardless

The human race and the planet will never be safe until nuclear weapons are banned (as are the other weapons of mass destruction – chemical and biological weapons) and a powerful international inspection team and force are in place to ensure compliance.

But never mind all that. The Obama government wants to spend as much as one trillion dollars on a new generation of nuclear warheads, bombers, submarines and intercontinental ballistic missiles3. Insanity – as the American nutritionist Susan Powter has declared it. Paranoia would appear to be one form this insanity takes. How else can we explain the US government spending more today on the military than during the Cold War ($610 billion per year!). This is more than the combined military budgets of the next 7 countries3 – China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, France, Germany and the UK.

The US has, at present, a stockpile of about 4,800 nuclear weapons with approximately 2,100 currently deployed. Each warhead is between 5 and 40 times more destructive than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The detonation of a few such warheads could threaten everyone on the planet. How mad is that?

Russia has an estimated stockpile of 4,500 warheads with about 1,800 deployed on missiles and at bomber bases.

The UK government is planning to spend one hundred billion pounds of its citizens’ wealth on building a new arsenal of nuclear weapons.

Of course, in no case have the citizens of the countries concerned been asked if this is the way they want their wealth spent, not in Russia, not in the US and not in the UK.

The madness is real.

The brink of self destruction

The reality is generally kept from the public. But occasionally prescient individuals tell it the way it is. An example is Arthur Milholland4 whose headline in the Baltimore Times reads ‘As long as nuclear weapons exist, we’re on the brink of self annihilation’. He quotes Albert Einstein saying; “The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything, save our modes of thinking and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.”

Mr Milholland tells us that most Americans have ‘little concept of how even a limited, regional war could end civilzation’, in fact they do not even know about the horrendous effects of a nuclear explosion. He tells us that there have been’.. hundreds of weapons accidents and malfunctions, mostly covered up. Moreover, serious threats to use nuclear weapons have been made time and again. They are always “on the table.” The phrase ‘all options are on the table ‘ has become familiar to us all from western sabre-rattling politicians.


1. Guardian 14.8.15


3. Negin, Union of Concerned Scientists

4. Dr. Arthur Milholland is on the steering committee of Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility


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Articles by: Jim McCluskey

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