The deranged reaction to Jeremy Corbyn's pledge of no nuclear genocide is discussed by Lindsey German in the first of our daily election briefings
Safe in their hands?
It didn't take long for the media to launch its 'Jeremy Corbyn is a threat to security' line, lapped up by Sir Patrick McLoughlin, the Tory who accuses him of aiding and abetting the dangers of terrorism. This is quite a claim from representatives of a party and a press which have devotedly followed every British military adventure for the past 16 years and have been some of the main cheerleaders for it.
Why should we take lessons from them now? They were warned at the time by the head of intelligence, they were opposed by the biggest demonstrations ever in British history but they pressed on regardless. Many of us said then, these wars will increase the threat of terrorism - and they have. Among those, was Jeremy Corbyn who has called it right over all these interventions, no small reason why he has been elected Labour's leader twice with big majorities.
It doesn't seem to occur to people like Andrew Marr, who asked the question whether Jeremy would be willing to start a nuclear war, that it's the question which is dumb, not the answer. There are certainly enough idiots who think 'pressing the button' is all that it takes to look strong. Donald Trump is the most obvious example. Sounds innocuous enough but it means the annihilation of whole cities and a war of extermination. Give me peace talks and disarmament anytime.
On which question, the UN called a conference in New York last month for its members to discuss stronger moves towards multilateral nuclear disarmament, an aim supposedly supported by May. Guess which government boycotted it?
France: poles apart
Macron and Le Pen will go forward in the runoff for the French presidency. Only a couple of months ago it looked like Le Pen, the fascist, and Fillon, the right wing Tory. It shows the volatility of the vote that the far-left Mélenchon seems to have gained around 19.5%, about the same as Fillon. Both Mélenchon and Macron came from outside the established parties and their votes in different ways show a rejection of the far right. But whereas Mélenchon has policies which would benefit the working people who are so disenchanted with the political establishment, banker Macron's adherence to a neoliberal EU and his desire to attack working conditions means that his policies will help to fuel further right wing challenges. Much to be said about this, and bad that Le Pen has got through to the second round, but her vote was down on earlier projections and the key task is knocking her out in two weeks. Longer term, there is an excellent basis for building a left party which can defeat the far right and the neoliberals.
The strong result from Mélenchon puts the lie to the widespread view peddled by the media and even parts of the left, that Europe is sliding to the right. Mélenchon's surprise surge led to the biggest far-left vote in France in decades. What we are seeing is deepening polarisation, and what that leads to depends on our actions going forward.
The sincerest form of flattery?
UKIP has announced that its manifesto will include a commitment to banning the burqa or full-face veil, along with a list of other racist policies. Such racist and discriminatory laws already exist in France, Belgium and Bulgaria. The frightening thing is that what the far right says today the Tories will say next time round. As Craig Murray has pointed out, May's manifesto has many of the same aims as that of the fascist BNP back in 2005, including strong security, tighter immigration controls and grammar schools. Let's commit now not to let what Muslim women wear become a political football for the racists.
He's back... again
Tony Blair has popped up to call for votes for pro-Remain Tory and LibDem candidates in the election. Normally, this would lead to expulsion from Labour since it is directly contrary to its interests. Don't hold your breath. The remarkable thing is how Blair (and his partner in crime Campbell) can just walk away from the damning indictment of Chilcot less than a year ago and present themselves as sane and rational forces in British politics. But just remember, it's that Jeremy Corbyn who's a threat to our security.
As national convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, Lindsey was a key organiser of the largest demonstration, and one of the largest mass movements, in British history.
Her books include ‘Material Girls: Women, Men and Work’, ‘Sex, Class and Socialism’, ‘A People’s History of London’ (with John Rees) and ‘How a Century of War Changed the Lives of Women’.
More articles from this author
- Lip service to the left, but moves to the right - weekly briefing
- Do not be fooled: Trump is the problem
- Soleimani assassination is an act of war
- Past mistakes, future opportunities - weekly briefing
- What we should take from the election and what we do next
- Where do we go from here? – election briefing 13 December
- We have a world to win – election briefing Polling Day