Prime Minister Rebecca Long-Bailey is hosting the latest cabinet meeting, a year after Labour’s sensational return to power in the summer of 2024.
“Before we get onto the subject of practical vegetables..er…sorry, disabled people, are there any urgent subjects I need to know about?” she asks.
“Yes,” replies foreign secretary Richard Burgon. “I’ve received a request from Labour Party members that we launch a Trident missile at Israel.”
“Ooh, right,” says Ms Long-Bailey. “Any particular reason?”
“Well, remember when I said a few years ago that Zionism was the enemy of peace and then lied to Andrew Neil to deny I’d ever said it? A lot of our members agree with me and they want to declare war on Israel.”
“This is very serious indeed,” smiled Ms Long-Bailey, “but given that we were elected with a manifesto that said that “we would never back military action abroad without the explicit backing of party members”, we shall proceed immediately. Please inform the Palestinian Ambassador Jeremy Corbyn of our intention straight away. We’ll hold a special conference, ballot Labour members and I’ll press the magic button. Ms Cabinet Secretary: can you get me the nuclear codes, please?
And so it was, just before Christmas 2024 that the United Kingdom launched nuclear weapons at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
That’s some scenario, isn’t it? Somewhat unlikely, you might think, but given the state of the Labour Party these days, you can never rule anything out. And then look at the comments of deputy leadership candidate Richard Burgon. Burgon has said that if he is elected, he will issue a Peace Pledge. In it he says: “The (Labour) party would not endorse, or back, or support military action, unless the members gave it their explicit approval – apart from when there’s UN approval for it, or there’s a genuine national emergency”.
On the face of it, some people, mainly pacifists and peaceniks, might welcome these words. But hang on. Burgon allows some wiggle room by excluding the need for a consultation exercise on the use of military action “when there’s UN approval for it or of there’s a national emergency.” But even then, Burgon threatens “political consequences” for any Labour prime minister who calls for military action without balloting members.
We know where Burgon is coming from, the non-interventionist wing of the hard left who would never, under almost any circumstances, authorise military action against anyone. Not to prevent genocide in Kosovo or Syria, for example, and who would have been more than happy if Saddam Hussein carried on committing mass murder across the middle east. (Okay, the final one is controversial but the reality is, surely, that the error of taking out Saddam was more one of timing than of whether to do it or not.)
I could go on and on about this slow-witted dullard, who seeks office as Labour’s deputy leader, but let’s consider how this plays out with the British people. I would hazard a guess that large numbers of voters did not support Jeremy Corbyn’s 1980s Tony Benn tribute act Labour Party as being particularly patriotic. Corbyn has always been seen as the enemy of the west, not least through his close associations with the ultra left crank pressure group Stop the War. He struggled to condemn Russia when it poisoned people on the streets of Britain (Salisbury). Put simply: lots of people did not trust him with keeping our country safe and secure. Neither did I. How will people react to Burgon’s grand new initiative? Not very well, is my guess.
By the very nature of the job prime minister, big decisions are made from that office, sometimes very quickly, in the heat of the moment. It is a question of judgment, perhaps the biggest question of all. Burgon suggests taking that decision-making away from the most senior elected person in the land and handing that power to Labour activists.
Labour activists will not be privy to information from the secret service, GCHQ or any other military or civil organisation in the land. But they would need to be consulted in the event of military action being considered. Really? How would they do it? Would Prime Minister Long-Bailey convey a special conference of the Labour Party to decide whether or not to use military action, which would enable trade union barons like Len McCluskey to decide on the deployment of British service personnel in order to recommend a course of action for Labour Party members to consider in an all members ballot? Would there need to be hustings meeting around the country? Christ: the current Labour leadership is taking around four minutes to elect a new leader. How long would it take to consult Labour members? Perhaps we could ask an offending foreign power to just hold back from killing British citizens, for example, until the consultative process had been exhausted? I’m sure they’d be very sympathetic. Which takes us back to Israel.
We all know that the Labour Party has a major issue with antisemitism, so what is to stop far left Jew-haters convincing enough people that Israel’s very existence constituted a “national emergency” and then have members voting to bomb Israel? What would prime minister Rebecca Long-Bailey do then? Ignore the ‘will of the people’ ™ and ignore members? I can imagine the Dave Sparts of this world firing off motions of no confidence to Labour HQ. Could this happen? Probably not, but you could never rule it out happening, could you?
This level of abject stupidity from a man who seeks power in high office beggars belief. No political party that genuinely seeks to gain office and so improve the lives of the people it supposedly seeks to represent would behave like this, but then, this is the so called legacy of Jeremy Corbyn.
Even as things stand, the idea of Labour returning to power is fanciful, if not unbelievable. As things stand today, the party needs to win 124 extra seats to gain power, 100 of which are Tory seats. Does the hard left really believe this is the way to set about winning them back?
It is said that Labour is a broad church of opinion but I can’t see that the church is wide enough to include some of the barmy suggestions like this one from Burgon. Before the new leader can make Labour electable, s/he must make it credible. That, on current form, will take at least a decade and if Long-Bailey and Burgon win, let’s call it never.