Greater Manchester Stop the War Coalition have asked all Parliamentary Candidates in Greater Manchester to respond to the following set of questions covering Afghanistan, Gaza and Nuclear Weapons.
Interestingly enough our own Council Leader John Merry (Labour) recently declared he too would like to see Trident scrapped, my message to Mr Merry who also happens to be my local councillor and is up for re-election on May 6th is this:
“John – you are right to say Salford doesn’t need Trident, but your friend Hazel Blears won’t listen, she voted for it and still supports it. Trident is no small issue, it’s a significant and dangerous force against world peace which your party, the Labour Party used to oppose. Now it’s one of their flagship project… I think you’re in the wrong Party my friend. “
1.Are you for immediate withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan?
Yes. Britain should begin recalling all of it’s forces from the region with intimidate effect. There also needs to be an urgent full public inquiry to investigate why we ended up there in the first place and those responsible for the mismanagement of our foreign affairs need to be held to account. I thought we were there trying to help Bush find Bin-Laden and overthrow the oppressive Taliban regime? We never found Osama, and through Britain’s intervention we’ve replaced one oppressive government with another.
2. Will you call for an end to the siege of Gaza?
The blockades need to be lifted now. People are suffering due to sanctions and the closure of borders with all neighbouring nations as well as the international community. The blockade is preventing basic aid reaching countless ordinary Palestinians who desperately need it and I find that utterly appalling regardless of the status of the democracy which they are born in to. Free-movement of the Palestinian people must be restored, and Britain must ensure the safety of it’s citizens by calling on Israel to end it’s high-tech bombardments.
3. Are you for a cancellation of the Trident replacement?
Absolutely, it should be cancelled with immediate effect. The disgraceful so called “nuclear deterrent” that is the £25 billion Trident Missile programme should be cancelled. The country’s existing nuclear weapons stockpile be dismantled and never rebuilt. Not only is it a huge waste of public spending, in the current economic climate even for the minority of people who see the benefits it is surely financially infeasible.
The existence of Trident does not only come at an economic cost, but also at the expense of muddying international relations, making Britain appear as an imperialist, self-righteous nuclear super-state. Our stance on other countries having access to nuclear technology is viewed as hypocritical and misguided. How can any other national believe us when we tell them “we come in peace?”.
We need to set an example to the rest of the world by ditching our nuclear arsenal, not replacing it.
Salford alone could benefit from an estimated £133 million of local investment if Trident was scrapped. The money saved could be used to create sustainable jobs, build desperately needed eco-friendly social housing, and ensure everyone has access to quality health and social care, free education and public services that all the main parties have pledged to destroy.
It’s time to destroy our unethical and outdated interests in the continued proliferation of nuclear weapons before it destroys the planet.