He strikes me as a decent man ill-prepared for the incessant, full-on attack from the right-wing English media that comes with being elected to lead the Labour Party.
I watched him on television-news towards the end of the week: his exasperation was clear as reporters shouted questions regarding his position on Britain’s nuclear weapons. Actually, the journalists were not questioning Corbyn; they were proposing a scenario where, if he was elected Prime Minister of the UK but refused to ‘press the button’ launching a nuclear attack, then he would leave Britain undefended and would “have to resign”.
There is no logic to the right-wing position of most UK media – unless, of course, they are arguing that the vast majority of nations in the world are currently undefended because they do not possess nuclear missiles. Of all the countries around the globe, only five openly admit to having nuclear weapons – United States of America, Russia, China, United Kingdom, France. India and Pakistan also have them but are coy about admitting it, while Israel has them, too, but pretends it doesn’t. North Korea does not have nuclear weapons but is almost certainly working towards creating its own ‘independent nuclear deterrent’ just like the British one.
There is also the small matter of there being no identified target against which a British Prime Minister might unleash a nuclear holocaust. An attack against another country that has its own nuclear missiles would produce an immediate reprisal strike. It’s known as MAD – Mutually Assured Destruction. A UK nuclear attack in these circumstances would result in hundreds-of-thousands, possibly millions of British fatalities and casualties, not to mention the complete destruction of civil infrastructure, such as roads, electricity, hospitals.
A nuclear attack by Britain against a country that is, itself, not nuclear-armed, would be a war crime. Any UK Prime Minister who took this course of action would be an international pariah and could expect to face charges of being a war criminal.
Nuclear weapons cannot be used against terrorists. The United States of America has the most nuclear weapons of any nation on planet Earth, but it did not prevent the terrorist attack on New York’s World Trade Center in 2001. All of Britain’s nuclear missiles were an irrelevance in 2005 when terrorists attacked London, and again in 2007 when Glasgow Airport was the target.
The vilification of Jeremy Corbyn by right-wing newspapers and broadcasters because of his opposition to nuclear weapons is just part of the indoctrination by Britain’s ruling elite, where anyone who disagrees with their perverted logic is portrayed as dangerous, mad or both. The same right-wing elite owns most of the British media and racks-up multi-billion-pound profits from shareholdings in UK ‘defence’ companies that actually produce first-strike killing-machines sold to any despot or dictator who has the ready cash.
Of course, Corbyn isn’t helped by the fact he ‘leads’ a political party that supports the use of nuclear weapons and the human annihilation that would inevitably follow. His personal opposition to weapons of mass destruction means nothing while the Labour Party remains as staunchly pro-nuclear as their Better Together partners in the Tory Party.
The exasperation shown by Corbyn last week almost-certainly had as much to do with him being attacked from behind by right-wing, pro-nuclear Labour MPs. The Parliamentary Labour Party remains a clone of the Conservatives and Corbyn ‘leads’ a parliamentary contingent of Labour MPs that largely does not agree with him and does not support him.
Meanwhile, last week also saw Mr Corbyn’s lowest moment since he assumed the Labour leadership – he spoke about Scotland and was exposed as a liar. Of course, he may just be ignorant of contemporary Scotland and didn’t know that what he said was completely untrue. Ignorance, however, is no excuse.
Corbyn may just have been repeating the lines supplied to him by Labour’s Scottish branch office, but a principled politician should verify information before putting his or her name to it. According to the ‘leader’ of the British Labour Party, the SNP is responsible for privatising Scotrail and is in the process of doing the same to Caledonian MacBrayne (Cal-Mac). This is completely untrue. It is a lie.
UK rail services were privatised by a British Tory Government in 1993 – six-years before the Scottish Parliament was even created, and the privatisation was debated in the House of Commons, where Jeremy Corbyn was sitting as a Labour MP.
As for Cal-Mac, the SNP Scottish Government is obliged by European Union regulations to tender the contract to supply ferry services on the Clyde. This is exactly the same process followed by the Labour-led Scottish Executive the last time the contract was tendered. It is no secret the SNP wants Cal-Mac to retain the contract and for ferry services on the Clyde to remain in the public sector.
Jeremy Corbyn then visited Scotland and ignored all journalists, except those working for the Labour-supporting Daily Record. So much for a new, friendly, open and accountable brand of politics.
Having said all of that, I do think Jeremy Corbyn is a decent man. On a personal level, he undoubtedly wants to see a more equal society where opportunity is provided to everyone, and where the poorest are not forced to pay for the collapse of the capitalist economic system. However, being ‘elevated’ to the position of ‘leader’ of the British Labour Party has meant the man’s personal decency has been subverted to the cause of the party; and the party does not believe in the decent things Corbyn supports.
Labour remains a Tory-clone capitalist party. Labour continues to support spending billions-of-pounds on nuclear weapons of mass destruction while thousands of children in Britain rely on foodbanks to stave-off starvation. Labour will support the Tories’ fiscal plan that enshrines austerity and forces people to work for poverty wages on zero-hours contracts. Labour still opposes the right of the people of Scotland to govern their own country.
On the issue of Scottish independence, Jeremy Corbyn has made clear he is every bit as much a British Unionist as David Cameron.
However, I do fear for Jeremy Corbyn on a personal level.
The man seen on television news-bulletins is not leading a political party, he is being destroyed by it. His personal decency is being over-ridden by Labour’s right-wing corporate agenda and he is being forced to abandon long-held beliefs.
The exasperation Mr Corbyn increasingly shows in public is the outward manifestation of his realisation that he is not changing the Labour Party, it is changing him, and not for the better.
The decent Jeremy Corbyn should do himself a favour: accept the Labour Party is a Tory clone and is not going to change. The longer he denies this reality, the more damage the right-wing media and Blairite Labour members will inflict on him and, I believe, we are already seeing his health being affected by the stress of an impossible job.