In November of 2019, we were highly critical of former Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson for her repeated pledges to annihilate millions, readily and eagerly agreeing to push the nuclear button. This criticism, however, should be applied universally and not just to our opponents and Rebecca Long-Bailey’s readiness to deal out nuclear destruction should be even more criticised given her previous stance against the bomb.
In 2016, Long-Bailey voted against replacing Britain’s four Trident nuclear missile submarines, suggesting something of a policy shift given that she’d be now quite happy to use the same weapons she once wished to scrap.
This shift essentially began during the 2019 General Election when Long-Bailey stated she’d use a nuclear weapon “if necessary”.
Indeed, the “nuclear question” seems to be the new goto question for Labour-critical interviewers looking to score a “gotcha” moment on national security, the MSM having successfully weaponised Jeremy Corbyn’s long-standing opposition to nuclear weapons against him, portraying him as soft on defence as he was unwilling to slaughter millions of the nation’s “enemies”. Those “enemies” of course being innocent civilians caught in the cross-fire of elitist wars.
This weaponisation appears to have made candidates on the left scared to take the same stance, instead abandoning our opposition to weapons of mass destruction and all too willing show their offensive credentials.
Long-Bailey, however, seems to have entered full-on hawk mode, insisting that she would “do anything it takes to ensure the people of this country are protected.”
Bizarrely noting the end of the world as we know it, Long-Bailey stated that a leader would understand we were “facing nuclear annihilation right across the whole world” but is still willing to add to the carnage.
“A leader would need to be prepared to engage in that, if they were going to use the nuclear deterrent going forward.”Rebecca Long-Bailey
So far only Clive Lewis has bucked the trend and stated that he wouldn’t use nuclear weapons, stating that he “couldn’t conceive of any circumstance where [he] would.” Lewis has been a long-tern sceptic on the need for renewing Trident and stated on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme that he doesn’t believe Britain needs nuclear weapons.
Lewis’ refreshing statement has won him plaudits from Labour members, with some fearing however that his stance away from the neoliberal orthodoxy will win him few friends in the PLP.