Apocalypse Now


These are the best of times, these are the worst of times. The best of times, in that great questions are being asked, with some chance of resolution.  The worst of times, in that we may fail to rise to the occasion, and so confirm the plunge towards chaos.  Two most dangerous issues immediately before us are nuclear proliferation and the prospect of another illegal war, this time with Iran.  The illegal Iraq war may be just the beginning, or it may be the end of such wars declared by democracies, depending on what happens next.

KPN readers will be well aware of these problems – there is no need here to describe the dangers in detail, as would be necessary to the public in general.  As regards the worldwide spreading of nuclear weapons, it is clear that the current UK administration is set on worsening the situation by replacing the unimaginably destructive Trident with a new improved version – this will be debated in this session of parliament, with the dice loaded in favour of unreason.  We will probably be committed to spend at least an extra £15 billion of our money on a course that will make matters worse and encourage the rest of the world to join the nuclear club.  This writer’s cynical opinion has long been that the so-called Non-Proliferation agreement was always more a trick than a treaty – a fingers-crossed-behind-the-back promise to get rid of our own nukes, whilst providing a casus belli if any other nation had the temerity to follow our actual example.

Bruce Kent in a recent article in Campaign advises that in our attempt to harden public opinion against new British nukes, our approach should be to emphasise that we now have a ‘real possibility that we might eliminate all nuclear weapons everywhere by negotiation, in accordance with the NPT and the ICJ.  Our opponents used to say that they were multilateralists who wanted to negotiate and we were unilateralists who did not.  This was all a public relations illusion. They believed and continue to believe in the indefinite possession of nuclear weapons while we have always wanted to get rid of the lot by the fastest route possible.’  The hypocrisy is now revealed, but will the public, who have to both pay for the new bomb and suffer the adverse consequences of it, object strongly?  In a recent poll, more than half those asked did not want Trident replaced, and when the question included the cost of replacement, the figure rose to 80%.   Bruce ends his article on an optimistic note: ‘Open doors are there in front of us as we move towards a non-nuclear weapon future.’  We have to consider there is a chance, or else be paralysed into doing nothing in the face of the looming threat of a chaotic future.

The other large, malign question today is the possibility of another ‘pre-emptive’ war.  Articles appear every day explaining the great dangers of war against Iran, whilst at the same time considering the war as a real possibility, given the present US and UK administrations.  Bush is capable of anything, so any complacency induced by the thought that such a war would be ‘absolute nuts’ seems misplaced.  We, most of us, thought that an invasion of Iraq would be absolute nuts, yet it did happen.

The Iraq war was probably enabled by UK backing.  Blair, refusing to admit error (perhaps because to admit error would be too painful?), is again using the same sort of wild rhetoric he used pre-Iraq, this time against Iran.  So it is urgent that he be called to account over Iraqthat he is not allowed to ‘move on’.  Alex Salmond, M.P., has tabled an Early Day Motion (number 1088) which calls for the setting up of a select committee to investigate the way in which the responsibilities of Government were discharged in relation to Iraq.  Please check that your M.P. is a signatory, and if not, ask him/her why not.  Our member Jane Gilmore has written an excellent letter to her M.P., which follows.  You would probably prefer to write your own letter, but you may find Jane’s letter useful