To the dismay of many of Jeremy Corbyn’s parliamentary colleagues, foreign policy is the Labour leader’s main passion. Corbyn rarely appears more animated than when discussing the plight of Palestinians – or lambasting the Saudi Arabian government.
So, Mr S listened with interest as Corbyn’s closest allies gathered at Labour conference for a Stop the War fringe event. Corbyn adviser (and former Communist Party of Britain member) Andrew Murray was joined by shadow cabinet members Richard Burgon and Diane Abbott along with Chris Williamson for the packed event titled Why We Need An Anti-War Government. To kick proceedings off, Williamson said the party was making history:
‘We often talk about recapturing the spirit of 1945 and I honestly feel that we’re in that moment right now. I think in the future people will look back at this period and when ever the general election comes people will talk about capturing that 2018 moment or 2019 spirit’.
Here’s a glimpse of what foreign policy could look like in a Corbyn-led government:
- An anti-Trident government is in the offing
Chris Williamson – ‘Of course we went into the last election with a commitment to retain Trident and that’s the party’s policy position at the moment. But we all know that Jeremy’s own personal view is not that.’ ‘Let’s have a sensible debate about Trident, a despicable weapon we would never use in any event and Jeremy’s made it very clear he wouldn’t want to press the button were he in that situation. It’s just absurd. We are where we are that’s the policy at the moment and we’ve obviously got to win them on.’
- An end to the ‘special relationship’
Corbyn adviser Andrew Murray called on the man he advises to end the ‘special relationship’ with the US. He said President Trump does not care about the UK and views it as a ‘golf course with a Queen attached’.
- It won’t be in the spirit of 1945
Stop the War co-founder Lindsey German made the point that for all the talk of the Attlee government, Corbyn’s government would have to take a very different approach on foreign policy. ‘The Attlee government had pretty good domestic policy, it did not have a good foreign policy in terms of decolonisation.’
- There is no Corbynism without foreign policy
As shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon put it, ‘some commentators have been recently suggesting that things would be so much better if only we had a Labour leadership that retained Jeremy’s domestic anti-austerity politics but dumped Jeremy internationalist politics. At the end of the day, you’re not really pursuing a socialist analysis if your analysis of socialism stops at the English channel.’
- The International Monetary Fund must be tamed
Watch out Christine Lagarde, you’re next. Burgon said that the IMF would have to be dealt with: ‘Socialism is not socialism without internationalist principles. Yes, ending the financial domination of the IMF and the like. Working class politics can’t be devolved to international causes.’
And should the ‘deep state’ try to thwart Jeremy Corbyn’s foreign policy agenda? ‘We would rely on the mobilisation of the mass of people as we did in 2003,’ says Murray.
Get ready comrades.