By any other manifestation, this was going to be a good week for Labour. A motion of no confidence against the government and preparations being put in place to bring Labour to power for the first time since the collapse of Sunrise and a Conservative Party looking inwards dealing with the election of a new leader. But then, they began their conference and they let the cat out of the bag. The country got to see the true face of Labour.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has been the cornerstone of British foreign policy since the end of the second world war. Brought together with the purpose of collective defence, the idea that an attack against one is an attack against all, the citizens of the UK are safer because of the existence of NATO. Today, we learnt that the Shadow Chancellor, possibly the next Chancellor of the United Kingdom, supports leaving NATO. And not only that, but he directly blames NATO for the aggressive actions that Russia are taking. By saying, and I quote, “NATO as an organisation’s continued expansion has led to increased conflict with the Russian Federation”, the Shadow Chancellor is allowing Russia to claim their illegal invasion into Crimea was justified. The Shadow Chancellor is saying Russia’s continued incursion into the air space of the UK and our allies is justified. The Shadow Chancellor is saying Russian backed cyber attacks against the UK and our allies is justified. And worst of all, he appears to be directly saying that Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia should not have joined NATO. And by saying this, he is condemning them to the influence of Russia without the backing of the West. If these were coming from a Labour backbencher, they would be condemned as far left fringe fantasies. But they are coming from one of the most powerful men in British politics. There can be no excuses for this. This viewpoint must be condemned directly and personally by the Leader of the Opposition. His motion also condemns the 2% target, suggesting under his stewardship of the public finances, Defence would not get 2% of GDP on spending. This country will be a less safe country with these policies, and our citizens will be less safe if Labour enact these policies if they get into Government.
The problem we see, however, is this is not just one far left opinion, but a multitude of them. Let’s now look at another of the motions put forward by the Shadow Chancellor. Trident. If the Shadow Chancellor was given absolute power, he would seek to close our continuous at sea nuclear deterrent. Our nuclear deterrent has always been the ultimate defence against a nuclear attack. It has kept us safe for decades. Under a Labour administration, that would no longer be in place. This has many negatives, but two of them are clear. The first, is that we would lose our influence on the world stage. Sometimes, Labour politicians get things right, and one of the Shadow Chancellor’s “favourite” influences, Shadow Foreign Secretary Nye Bevan called it perfectly. When it comes to unilateral disarmament, he said, it would be to “send a foreign secretary naked into the conference chamber.” Well, we agree! To abolish Trident would be to remove some of our key influence on the world stage. Could other countries trust us to protect them if we are failing to protect ourselves? Would Russia, already feeling empowered by the West’s inaction over their aggression, take us seriously whilst we weaken ourselves? The answer is obvious to even the humblest student of international relations. Secondly, it would make us more, not less, reliant on other countries, namely the United States. Until the world disarms, we would have to rely on the US to be out nuclear deterrent. The UK should never have to rely on other countries to keep us safe. We have the ability to do that ourselves. We should not abandon it.
The most telling part of the Labour conference however, and one which should worry every single member of the UK, is the Shadow Chancellor’s motion on Israel. In it, he directly calls for the UK “adopt the aims and objectives of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.” It goes without saying that the UK should stand up for human rights abuses on the world stage. Illegal settlements are illegal. And whether it is at the UN, in one on one diplomatic missions or elsewhere, we should use our soft power to influence them. However, does this mean we should adopt the aims of the BDS movement, of course not. The problems associated with that movement have been well laid out by /u/HollalfYouHearMe1 here, and I won’t spend time going over them now other then to say it is a dark day when a senior member of the Labour Party suggests endorsing the aims of such a movement. Now, it is vital and important to point out that not all of Labour have endorsed this. The Labour Party Chairperson and Shadow First Secretary of State /u/ThePootisPower is obviously a decent Labour member, and is a friend of mine. Very clearly, when informed of the facts, he came out and apologised for the motion, and disowned it completely. The Shadow Chancellor, however, wrote the motion. He is someone who could become one of the most powerful people in the United Kingdom. And yet he thought this was an acceptable motion. We should not be enabling this in our politics. He must explain himself to the British people, or the British people should and will tell them what they think of Labour. No excuses, a clear and simple apology. The country will forgive mistakes, but we won’t forget policies that endorse such a horrifying movement.
All of this gives severe questions to the Leader of the Opposition. Under his leadership, the party has taken a drastic turn to the far left. The party is moving to the policies of isolation on the world stage, a weaker defence policy and appeasement of Russia. No party holding these views should get near the levers of power. The Leader of the Opposition must come out behind the closed doors of the labour conference and tell the country their positions on these motions, and whether the Shadow Chancellor will serve in a government with views that will make the country a less secure place whilst abandoning our Eastern European allies to Russia.
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