Like some mushroom? It’ll cost, mind

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When I was a child in the 1950s, I used to have a recurring nightmare. I would be standing beside someone, usually a family member, staring at the horizon. Then a huge mushroom cloud would show, first grey, then pink, then red, and my insides would melt in fear. They’d exploded the atomic bomb. The world was ending.

I thought about that nightmare again this morning as the newspapers reported the final debate at the Labour Party conference. Jeremy Corbyn set the cat among the parliamentary pigeons by saying on radio that he could not see any circumstances in which he, as British prime minister, would order the use of Trident missiles. He was promptly ticked off by his shadow secretary of defence, Maria Eagle, who said this kind of talk wasn’t helpful. A range of shadow cabinet people backed up Eagle – Andy Burnham, Lord Falconer, Heidi Alexander and (the shame of it) Hilary Benn. Sir Paul Kenny (you can tell he’s true to the Labour cause with that ‘Sir’) the general secretary of the GMB union, said Corbyn might have to resign as prime minister if he refused to authorize the use of nuclear weapons.

I have a suggestion for Corbyn: fire the lot. Not the nuclear weapons, the people in his own party, in his own shadow cabinet, who openly criticize him for not being prepared to become a mass murderer. Who would these weapons be used against – one of the eight countries who currently have such weapons themselves? In which case, retaliation would be inevitable and it’d be good-night Vienna for our planet. At one of the 187 countries that don’t have nuclear weapons? If a leak in a nuclear plant in Japan can cause a cloud of radio-active dust to tour much of the world (forgotten about that, had you?), think what exploded nuclear weapons would do, not just to the country at which they were aimed, but to adjacent countries – in fact to all of us. And these people in Corbyn’s shadow cabinet are the people who would lecture us about resolving differences peacefully, and how terrible it is that two men have met violent deaths in recent weeks. Motes and beams come to mind.

Politics is often a question pros and cons, pluses and minuses. In the case of nuclear weapons, there is no plus. They cost phenomenal amounts of money – the Trident replacement will cost £100 billion. And what’s it for? For killing people by the million. And yet people in the Labour shadow cabinet are criticizing Corbyn because he says he won’t spend the money, he wouldn’t be prepared to slaughter millions of innocent people.

Nuclear weapons are costly, obscene and useless. As Corbyn himself pointed out,  all the hundreds or thousands of nuclear weapons available to the US were unable to stop 9/11 happening. Maybe being fired from their jobs isn’t enough for the likes of Burnham and Eagle. They’d be better in a prison cell for encouraging the use of murderous violence on a massive scale.






32 Responses to Like some mushroom? It’ll cost, mind

  1. paddykool October 1, 2015 at 8:30 am #

    Sometimes I think you really have to think like you did as a child to see things clearly. You have to regain that naivety to see the world as it really is.; to return to a mental room where you can see the real colours around you , see the various tones in the waving grass….A child could see clearly that nuclear weapons are a dead -end….literally .The might sit as some sophisticated club , deterring all sane men from threatening their neighbours.The other way to look at it is they are no protection from an itchy -fingered madman. Should they be used at any time ,the repercussions for all of us on the planet would be dire.The madman would be dead and so would be the rest of us . Life as we know it ,would cease. The air, land and waterways would be poisoned. Life and the many ecosystems would die…if not immediately , gradually as an all -pervading cancer took the planet and ate it . If any few of us survived the use of these weapons , life literally mightn’t even be worth living, such would be the environmental destruction for eons.Any survivors would be crowing atop a dungheap.
    It’s an awful joke in plain sight that nuclear weapons would spell the end for those that use them and for those that they are used against.The emperor’s new clothes, again. That is why money shouldn’t be spent on them in the first place .We all know how we can waste money on governmental nonsense on a daily basis.We’re doing it right now..but to waste even more on nuclear weapons while arguing about the state of the health service, the poverty in our society and the refugee problem when you know that the weapons can never really be used ….and if some crackpot does use them , then it’s all over anyway .
    Jeremy Corbyn is thinking very clearly on this one and is ahead of pack with his radical thinking. Beyond the fear and the paranoia , the pressing of a nuclear button is literally the end. Why should anyone agree to use that option …even in a fantasy scenario.? Mad or what?

  2. Bridget Cairns October 1, 2015 at 8:42 am #

    A memory that stays with me Jude, is on a visit to Hiroshima, the shadow of what was once a human, on a footstep. Not even an X-ray photo, just a shadow.

  3. Calvin McGrath October 1, 2015 at 8:54 am #

    Perhaps the SNP should stand candidates throughout Britain in order to give the English electorate a left wing option because Labour are nothing short of tory lite.

    Strange indeed when a democratic leader expresses his refusal to murder on an industrial scale and gets criticised in response.

  4. giordanobruno October 1, 2015 at 8:56 am #

    Angela Eagle would be pretty miffed, I think, to be fired for something her sister Maria said.

    • Jude Collins October 1, 2015 at 2:20 pm #

      I know, I know, gio (although it’d serve her right). I plan to rectify. And to think you guys don’t get PAID for proof-reading me…

      • giordanobruno October 1, 2015 at 3:26 pm #

        Smugness is its own reward!

  5. Séamus Ó Néill October 1, 2015 at 9:08 am #

    Absolutely agree 100% Jude.Not in my name,my children’s names ,my grandchildren nor in the name of unborn generations….who do these warmongering morons think they are. Are they so cretinous to even contemplate the destruction of a whole planet? Was the unimaginable evil that was perpetrated on the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki not a stark lesson for us all….tiny minds playing with infinite power. I could categorically state that 99% of all humans want an end to war forever……if you don’t make enemies you wont have enemies….these people don’t belong in a prison cell but in a lunatic asylum. Jeremy Corbyn is the brightest hope for a peaceful future that the British people have been given in generations…if Blair and Bush were tried for war crimes , as I think they should , it might instill a few sobering thoughts into these imbeciles.

  6. PJ Dorrian October 1, 2015 at 9:10 am #

    I recommend your readers have a read of Neville Shute’s “On the Beach”. Without giving away what happens the story is about life after a Nuclear War.

    • Jude Collins October 1, 2015 at 2:19 pm #

      Good movie, too, PJD…

      • paddykool October 1, 2015 at 3:49 pm #

        Yep that was a really fine film …Greg Peck , Ava Gardner, Tony Perkins and Fred Astaire…worth a watch alright…a Stan Kramer job…

    • Ryan October 1, 2015 at 4:21 pm #

      Thanks for the recommendation PJ, just looked it up on Amazon and it looks like a great read, bought myself a preowned copy and look forward to reading it after I’m finished with “War of the Worlds” by H G Wells, which I also recommend.

    • Sherdy October 1, 2015 at 4:53 pm #

      Can’t be much of a story as there wouldn’t be much life after a nuclear war!

  7. billy October 1, 2015 at 9:21 am #

    jeremy thinks meat comes from tescos,hes appointed a vegan in charge of agriculture.he wouldnt be much cop in a war situation i would imagine.

  8. Iolar October 1, 2015 at 9:56 am #

    Sugar? One lump or two? From Jamaica, the British Prime Minister tells us, “The independent nuclear deterrent that we have in Britain is a vital insurance policy for our nation in what is a very dangerous world.”

    Question: Who continues to make the world a dangerous place?

    Question: Who is selling the insurance policy.

    Sugar replaced piracy as English Jamaica’s main source of income. The sugar industry was labour-intensive and the English brought hundreds of thousands of enslaved Africans to Jamaica. In 1654, Oliver Cromwell launched the Western Design Armada against Spain’s colonies. Cromwell increased the island’s white population by sending indentured servants and criminals to Jamaica. Further information is available in Sean O Callaghan’s book, ‘To Hell or Barbados: The Ethnic Cleansing of Ireland’. The number of slaves in Jamaica increased to over 300,000 as Jamaica became a haven for outright pirates: Christopher Myngs, Edward Mansvelt, and Henry Morgan to name just three.

    At present we have paralysis through analysis in the United Nations Security Council as the U.S. and Russia engage in the art of bombing as a method of problem solving in Syria while homeless men, women and children are obliged to seek sanctuary in foreign countries.

    It is indeed heartening to know where some American politicians stand when they comment on Irish history and where ‘Labour’ peers stand on the need for nuclear weapons. Someone should remind them that sugar and nuclear weapons are not conducive to the health of nations.

  9. fiosrach October 1, 2015 at 10:34 am #

    You can’t stay in the Big Boys Club aka a World Power unless you have big boys toys. The US probably said that Britain had to have them so that’s that. And if you have the power to nuke, the temptation looms large to use it especially if a war is going against you or is becoming too costly. Think Hiroshima or the Malvinas. The cost in £s doesn’t come into it when ones world stature is at stake and if the smuggling was stopped shure that would pay for it. Two birds with one stone.

  10. Jason October 1, 2015 at 10:41 am #

    It was Maria Eagle, although Angela did get a dig in as well.

    I agree with Corbyn on this, as I imagine most of those who voted for him as leader do. The problem here is that his (admirable) open and direct interview style has led him to pre-empt the debate around Trident renewal, and this has given the right-wing media the ammunition they wanted. They were struggling to find material in his maiden conference speech to attack – so much so that they lamely had to attack what he *hadn’t* said (e.g. about the deficit), or resort to criticising his choice of tie. Laura Kuenssberg et al. must be delighted with Corbyn’s straight-talking interview policy, as they can ask him a ‘yes or no’ question and he’ll actually answer it.

    On the other hand, there was no point in Corbyn pretending there would be circumstances where he would ‘press the button’; what would those circumstances have to be? And having made a lifelong commitment to nuclear disarmament, he can hardly spit in the eye of the electorate and abandon the principles he was elected on. And fudging the issue or refusing to answer would have been spun as hypocrisy or weakness.

    Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. But it would have been helpful if those amongst his shadow cabinet who were interviewed had had the sense to state that Corbyn’s views on nukes are well known, and that there’s a debate to be had on the issue, rather than sticking the boot in. But I don’t think he can afford – right now – to sack the lot of them, despite their adherence to the ‘old politics’, and their disloyalty. Issuing a dictat from on high or carrying out a purge would undermine Corbyn’s whole ethos. No, if I was him, I’d be reminding them about the mandate, and telling them to stop trashing the hopes of the electorate. If they continue to ignore the massive grass roots movement that’s behind Corbyn they’ll be shunted aside by it.

    • Sherdy October 1, 2015 at 4:58 pm #

      Something eyrie about those sisters!

      • ANOTHER JUDE October 2, 2015 at 11:50 am #

        Do they ever appear together?

      • giordanobruno October 2, 2015 at 12:38 pm #

        Not at all, they are merely very talon-ted.

  11. Pat October 1, 2015 at 11:07 am #

    Jude this has struck a chord with me as I had recurrent and very vivid nightmares as a child in the early 80s about nuclear war. There seemed to have been a raft of films on the subject then and they chilled me to the bone, more so than any of the so called horror genre of the day. One in particular was called ‘The Day After’ which told the story of families in America coping with the aftermath of an all out USA-Soviet Nuclear war. I was ten years old at the time and I was very disturbed by the whole notion of a bomb so powerful used against humanity. Id nealry be afraid to watch that film again. Kudos to Jeremy. Politicians telling us we need missiles as a deterrent are really promoting the subtext that there is something we need to fear. And keeping us in fear is how they wield so much power over us.

  12. Sherdy October 1, 2015 at 12:09 pm #

    Jude, Corbyn was voted in as Labour Party leader by the members of the party, but the would-be mass murderers you mention are part of his parliamentary party.
    Unfortunately he is not in a position to fire them, apart from those he has promoted to shadow positions, and so he will have to house train them on the evils of mass murder, not the least of which is, if you murder one million people, how many of them are guilty of any crime, and how many of them are totally innocent?
    We are told that the existing western powers nuclear arsenal has the capability of wiping out the entire world many times over. So why the need for extra or even more destructive weapons?
    The quoted replacement cost is £100bn, but history tells us that such estimates eventually turn out to be only deposits on the final costs.
    Who would want to waste £500bn on a weapon which will never be used, when we realise that if anyone was mad enough to use it, that would trigger retaliatory nuclear strikes, and so no one would be left alive on the earth.
    People are telling Corbyn that not going ahead with the nuke project would cost thousands of jobs.
    How many jobs are worth millions of lives?

  13. Belfastdan October 1, 2015 at 12:26 pm #

    The old myth of the British independent nuclear deterrent. Trident is an American system and can only be used if they say so. Britain will never and can never use them on their own initiative.

  14. Gerard McGuigan October 1, 2015 at 1:24 pm #

    Will Trident 1 not kill enough people?

    • Sherdy October 1, 2015 at 4:59 pm #

      Yes, but Trident II will kill them deader!

  15. Perkin Warbeck October 1, 2015 at 2:50 pm #

    The first question, Esteemed Blogmeistrr, which held out its begging bowl on reading today’s blog , was: did they grow mushrooms on the Glennane Farm for Peace and Reconciliation in 1974?

    This was prompted on perusing the list of Labour Party peaceniks – call them the mushroom crowd – who hurled epithets at their newly elected leader whom they wish to ditch forthwith. They came across as some class of Masonic Lodge for whom Roy might well well have been their go-to guy to come up with the line:

    -Hi, my name’s Jeremy, please feel free to bury me.

    Roy Mason, it was, of course who was the Warlord in Chief who oversaw the introduction of the SAS into bandit country on both sides of the border. Ever true to his down and dirty roots as a a coalminer he sadly passed away earlier this year, obviously under the unbearable burden of being Baron Mason of Barnsley, by dad.

    Having absorbed the arts and craft of underground skullduggery in the mineshafts of , South Yorkshire these came to a apotheosis one fine day (May 17, 1974).. That was the day the Mason’s Apron was hung out to dry by the Bob Hoskins -strut alike as the Butcher’s Apron in the streets of Dublin and Monaghan.

    Or, as the Labour-spined Free Southern Stateen Government of the same fine day preferred to designate the flag: The Victualler’s Veil. This would have been the coinage of Conor Caterpillar O’Brien who was yet to metamorphose into the butterfly of the UK Unionist, up in Down.

    The Victualler’s Veil would account for a certain reluctance on the part of the all the would be gung-ho Pinkertons on Liffeyside to get to the bottom of the biggest bombing in the Thirty Year Dirty War. And who, for whatever reason, opted to sing dumb and do a version of the humming chorus. Till this very fine day, indeed.

    But of course there are mushroom crowds and then, there are mushroom clouds.

    On a hillside overlooking the panoramic harbour of Nagasaki is the Glover Garden in which stand statues to Giacomo Puccini and the diva Miura Tamaki who made of the role of Madame Butterfly her own.

    When the opera opened in La Scala, Milano in 1904 some forty one years before another fine day, there was an eerie prophecy contained in the lines of its most famous aria:Un Bel Dia: ‘one fine day they will see a puff of smoke on the far horizon’.

    Curiously enough, one of the special terms of endearment which the faithless cad, Lieutenant Pinkerton called Madame Butterfly was : Orange Blossom. But that may be apropos nothing in particular.

    Incidentally, while mushroom in leprechaun is ‘fas aon oiche’ / one night growth no dictionary has yet to take up the offer of ‘bas aon oiche’ / one night death as the leprechaun for mushroom cloud.

    • Sherdy October 1, 2015 at 5:02 pm #

      But Johnny Cash thought the Orange Blossom was Special!

      • Perkin Warbeck October 2, 2015 at 7:27 am #

        That, indeed, Sherdy, there is no denying.

        In fact,the, erm, cash amount you mention (500 billion squids sterling) strikes one as being a fine five figure of a sum which could be put to another, perhaps, more useful use.

        For, say, a recently deceased miser to count, coin by tedious coin, repetitively, either on Cloud 9 or on the hob of h. itself, depending on his destination. And to the rhythmic Johnny Cash line:

        -Well, I don’t care if I do-die-do-die-do-die-do-dough.

        This being a Yeatsian year (aren’t they all?) his legendary line ‘great hatred, little room’ is in the air. Which seems, of course, to be parody for the course: ‘great hatred, mushroom’.

        This also being an Election Year-ish down here in the FSS, aka the Cahillphat, there are also parodies of preparations underway. And although the Cahillphat has been ominously quiet of late, this does not necessarily mean it has gone away, you know.

        Certainly if that familiar hammering sound in the background is any indication: the refurbishment of the kangaroo courts in the myriad studios of the media..These courts are so called, not because of their studio-hopping or marsupial similarity but rather for their distinctive morsupial movement, i.e., morally superior.

        It is based of the time-honoured jurisprudential tradition known as Retro-Selectivity. This is a bewigged and miked-up tradition which is particularly robust South of the Black Sow’s Dyke.

        And indeed, so many are the retrospective riches to select from that one is sometimes prone to moments of doubt that all will get a fair shake-down. Time being of a premium.

        Though some will be deservedly ignored, such as this lame effort from Perkie’s inner poetaster whose lines are now deservedly paying the price for pooh-poohing the poetic advice of WB.

        No need to emphasise his failure (a) to learn his trade; (b) to sing whatever is well made and (c) to scorn the sort now growing up. As one glance at this all out shape from top to toe abomination will reveal:

        The Mushroom Growers, Class of 74.

        A charm offensive was planned on Glennane Farm
        By the L.Prima of Hiroshima in an aura of underarm;
        And,hey, on the way backy
        Make Monaghan Nagasaki
        Just the gig below to achieve unbelieveable harm !

  16. Ryan October 1, 2015 at 4:08 pm #

    It just shows you how sick and pathetic British politics has become when a person (in this case Corbyn) is criticized for saying he would refuse to murder tens of millions of people with nuclear weapons but Cameron on the other hand is championed when he says he would.

    Its the same when it comes to dealing with poverty in Britain. Corbyn is, yet again, criticized for saying he would pay the most needy and vulnerable in society more and demand massive corporations like Amazon/Google to pay their fair share in tax. Whereas Cameron is championed when cutting the benefits of the poor to the bone, cutting jobs causing families already struggling to be struck into deeper poverty, etc While on the other hand Cameron cuts taxes to the very rich, turns the blind eye to billion pound corporations avoiding paying tax, etc.

    Britain is a deeply unfair and unbalanced society. The gap between the rich and poor just gets wider. A little off topic but I really do fail to see why even moderate Unionists want to stay in the UK. NI is an economic basket case within the UK, some of the poorest regions in the UK is in the North of Ireland (West Belfast ranks 2nd for child poverty, parts of Manchester rank 1st) and all the NI MP’s combined in the House of Commons make up less than 1% of the total MP’s, having next to zero influence. And, of course, we all know Westminster doesn’t care one iota about the North of Ireland, as the near empty, echoing House of Commons proves every time when it comes to debates concerning the North.

    • Am Ghobsmacht October 2, 2015 at 2:51 pm #

      ” A little off topic but I really do fail to see why even moderate Unionists want to stay in the UK”

      A fair question Ryan.

      When you remove all the ‘stuff’ that is endemic in NI’s politics you see a badly run place, with little influence which happens to be at the bottom rung of the ladder in the UK.

      I have only recently started to see how the UK is ever-more London city orientated and whilst bending over backwards to Russian billionaires and other bankers might make the books seem good in terms of GDP etc it has an ever increasingly negative effect on the rest of the country.
      The rest of the country (outside of the home counties, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and the odd pocket here and there) is increasingly dependent on ‘McJobs’ and low income jobs.

      NI is going the same way: Things are more expensive (thankyou property boom), community relations are breaking down and there’s little hope of investment. It’s like an never-ending derailment in slow motion.

      Working class areas of NI are going to suffer the same fate as working class areas in the UK as long as they remain part of the UK.

      Perhaps even more so as politicians in NI can always blame ‘themuns’ and pull out flegs and parades and memorials to distract the masses:

      “That’s right, we have done SFA regarding the budget, investment and infrastructure but looky!; a new memorial for a volunteer/soldier/battle! Isn’t that great!???”

      When I think of it in these terms I find the idea of a UI more appealing but alas I too, like the flegging masses, go all nuts when flags are involved (see previous conversations on the tricolour).

      Before we can have sensible drama-free discussions on unification we need to have a level playing field, but to level that playing field robs the main political parties of their toys, voting base and perhaps even their raison d’etre

  17. Am Ghobsmacht October 1, 2015 at 10:52 pm #

    Corbyn is right, he just shouldn’t say so:

    All you need to know about the topic…

    • gendjinn October 3, 2015 at 12:53 am #

      Exactly my first thought on reading the OP! And how prescient and correct was the good professor.

      It was odd seeing the same actor play essentially the same role in A Very British Coup.

  18. gendjinn October 3, 2015 at 12:52 am #

    Strange game, the only winning move is not to play. Would you like a nice game of tic-tac-toe?