As you enter the highest office in our land, I urge you to put aside the gung ho rhetoric of the campaign trail, and shape up to meet the massive existential threats that our planet faces.
For the last two years, the hands of the Doomsday Clock have stood at 100 seconds to midnight, with climate catastrophe and the risk of nuclear war threatening to tip us over the edge into annihilation. Yet during that period, the government in which you have served has only made matters worse. It has pushed a vision of Global Britain which is that of a war-fighting nation, with an economy based on arms sales.
It has increased the UK’s nuclear arsenal and it has increased the number of scenarios in which nuclear weapons may be used – both illegal under international law. It has entered into a pact with the US and Australia to provide that country with nuclear-powered submarines, ramping up tension in that region and breaching the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
That same government has done much to fan the flames of the terrible war in Ukraine, blocking negotiations and backing increased militarisation – with no recognition that NATO’s own increased militarisation and expansion has been part of the problem. You even encouraged British nationals to go and fight there. Your approach at home seems equally warlike – a war against the people of Britain: against much-needed redistribution, against the NHS, against a just energy policy, cavalier about covid, happy to ditch environmental measures. What kind of future is this country facing?
Just a few days ago, the chair of the Defence Committee warned that nuclear weapons would be used in the next decade. Is this a view you share? What will you do to make sure that doesn’t happen? My blood ran cold when you repeatedly stated at that Birmingham hustings that you were ‘ready’ to press the nuclear button. How do you not understand that such an action would destroy this country? That the world would be uninhabitable. That to press that button would be mass murder on the most monstrous scale.
None of our problems can be resolved by war, or by nuclear weapons. Our broken society cannot be rebuilt while profits come first, while lies are common currency in politics, while leaders trample on the hopes and aspirations of whole generations – for food, for homes, for warmth, health, jobs and education.
This is what we ask of you today, Prime Minister. To turn from war, from nuclear threats, from might makes right; to turn to the values of peace that your parents embodied, and which you turned your back on. That is what we demand of you, and what we will fight for.