Written by Kate Hudson
The Conservative bid to gain votes by scaremongering about the nuclear threat has spectacularly failed. So too have their attempts to suggest that Jeremy Corbyn cannot be trusted because he won’t commit to killing millions by pressing the nuclear button. Far from providing Theresa May with a ringing endorsement and a strengthened majority for her nuclear-fuelled, intolerance-promoting, inequality increasing government, the election has seen a significant shift towards the politics of hope, peace, inclusivity, justice and equality.
Jeremy Corbyn’s longstanding opposition to nuclear weapons, and his personal opposition to Trident replacement, has not deterred millions of people voting for him. Indeed the likelihood is that many – particularly young people – have voted for him precisely because he opposes war, intervention and weapons of mass destruction. Support for Trident replacement is negligible amongst the younger generation and it is clear that the narrative of investment in homes, health, education and jobs, has been very popular.
After all, it has led to Labour’s first increase in seats since 1997 and its biggest increase in the share of the vote since 1945. Labour’s support has grown because of Corbyn’s policies based on peace, respect and our shared humanity. And this vision goes beyond national boundaries to his vision of how we relate to the rest of the world. No longer Blair’s ‘war-fighting nation’, ‘punching above its weight’, but a decent part of a shared community of nations.
Over the past months, the right wing of the Labour Party, and a small but powerful section of the trade union movement, have peddled the myth that Labour needs to look ‘strong on defence’ to win – and that this means supporting Trident replacement. This is now shown to be the nonsense that it is. Labour has not surged because its shadow defence secretary has insisted that Labour supports Trident replacement. It has surged in spite of that, because it has a radical vision of a different society, and because everyone knows that Jeremy Corbyn does not support Trident replacement.
The time has now come for Labour to throw off this ridiculous, dangerous and expensive burden, and recognise that Labour’s future lies in setting a new agenda for Britain, orientated towards the future, to doing things differently, for people, and for all our communities, local and global.
Part of this agenda must be to now reject Trident replacement and call a halt to it. There is no popular mandate for a Tory security policy, or a Tory-lite security policy. Those trade unions who have pressed Jeremy to keep Trident just need to back off and develop a diversification plan worthy of the name that will secure their jobs without holding the rest of the country over a nuclear barrel.
The lessons of this election need to be learnt and they need to be learnt now.