Today at the Labour Conference: (a) Corbyn would never press the button, (b) Burnham, Eagles et al fear Russian aggression (though not NATO’s recklessly menacing eastward expansion) and (c) the press is having a field day.
Why, oh why muddy the waters of Trident renewal with unilateral nuclear disarmament? As North Korea shows, you don’t need anything fancy to deter external aggression. A couple of scruffy bombs will do it, and anyone who thinks a socialist Britain could survive without a bomb is disengaged from reality. (Granted, a socialist Britain is highly unlikely in the foreseeable future but then so is an unprovoked attack from Russia, China or, this side of that socialist Britain, the United States of America.)
So now, just when we have a chance to ask searching questions about precisely what problem Trident is the solution to – a debate given extra bite by SNP dominance in Holyrood – Corbyn kicks the ball into the long grass. It won’t do, and what we’re seeing are the limits of Corbynia as a force of resistance.
Actually I’m not being fair. The reason Trident was struck off the Brighton agenda is that the unions – including big boys Unite and GMB – won’t have it. Scrapping Trident, they reason, will cost tens of thousands of jobs. Oh really? Everywhere I look I see jobs that aren’t being done on account of this great belt-tightening we’re all in together. It won’t do, and what we’re seeing are the limits of ‘trade union mentality’.