Can you imagine any circumstances in which you would want Trident to be launched? If not, why on Earth renew it? For me, if Britain were a radioactive cinder, I would not want the last act of the British state to have been making another part of the World one too. I thought this a clever question, so went to Andy Sawford MP’s last surgery to put it: and he did not answer it. Though I enjoyed the conversation, and it appeared he did too, spending 35 minutes and charming me as well as talking endlessly, before he had to drive off to his next appointment.
I told him I would vote for him if he would vote against renewal. I had not realised he is a shadow junior minister, so has to support the Labour view, which is that we should preserve an independent nuclear “deterrent”- see question above. Do I want Mr Putin and Mr Xi and Jeb Bush to be the major nuclear weapons holders in the world? It gives us a “seat at the top table”. We could not spend the money on hospitals anyway, as we have a treaty obligation to NATO to make a certain proportion of GDP in military spending. I countered with the militarist argument against Trident: that it prevents us from spending on the troops we need. The mission in Helmand province was hopelessly undermanned. I agree the Baltic states need defended from Vladimir Vladimirovich.
He finds the Labour position arguable, and will vote for it. He is bound by collective responsibility. This means he has a voice within the party structures, as well as the national policy committee. His father was an MP and he grew up campaigning with CND; but though he cannot conceive of any British party leader letting Trident off, he wants to keep it.
Do I want to let Mr Pursglove in? Well, no. He is a horrible man. Mr Sawford explains that there are two broad groupings, and no-one could agree with everything they stand for, but he is with the main progressive party. Jonathan Hornett, the Green candidate, would bring schools back within a local authority system. The problem with that is that the systems have been crushed. They cannot just be set up so easily. He felt that schools needed a respite from reorganisation, though he dislikes children or parents being referred to as “customers” or a school as a “business”. Education should be a collective endeavour.
I agree, yet this is the mirror image of my father’s complaint. Every decade from 1945-1979, the Labour party would make the country more socialist, and the Tories would “try to make it work” without reversing it. Now, the Tories will privatise more of education and health, and destroy other services, and Labour will not reverse their damage. I want the Green voice to be heard, in a national vote.
UKIP may take some Labour votes, I said. He agreed that some voters in Corby have- did he say “legitimate” or “understandable” concerns about immigration? It is important to be precise, because I took his implication of dislike of Trident too far, and he said “I didn’t say that”. I could come away with a feeling his heart was in the right place, but be deceived.