I find it staggering that this government has signed us up for billions of pounds of spending on technology that belongs to the cold war era. As someone whose first demo was a CND protest 1968, I find it depressing that my grandchildren will spend much of their adult lives paying for Hinkley and Trident. We are sinking billions of pounds into an obsolete nuclear power plant and obsolete missile system. It is equally depressing that the Labour Party has also failed to escape the cold war mindset and is supporting the Government in keeping these terrifying weapons and this dinosaur technology.
When attending a London CND meeting this week I was careful in drawing a distinction between those Labour MPs who have the good sense to oppose nukes (including Jeremy Corbyn) and the Labour Party itself, which looks set to back Trident going into the next election. This is not a unique problem for the Labour Party, which elected the famously unilateralist Michael Foot MP as leader in the early eighties but failed to put forward the case for giving up nukes in Parliament.
The Labour Party has a strong ‘jobs’ lobby of unions (but not all unions) who are pro-nukes, pro-Trident and pro-arms industry. When I was a London Assembly member campaigning to close down the east London arms fair I received a lot of support from elected Labour politicians, but never from the Labour Party Ministers making the decision. Voting Labour has never been a reliable way of challenging the big vested interests that dominate decisions in this country and unfortunately, though many of us hoped differently, that reality has not changed under Jeremy Corbyn. I know that lots of good people are trying to turn the Labour Party around and I wish them luck in doing so, but having more elected Greens is the only guaranteed way of escaping the costly cold war legacy of nukes and opposing the government’s close knit ties with our arms industry.