Thursday, March 09, 2017

Labour and nuclear power

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said after the Copeland by-election that Labour's message had not "cut through" on the nuclear issue.

It is hardly surprising that after Jeremy Corbyn had spent decades opposing nuclear power, and at first refused to change this position in the early stages of the run up to the Copeland by-election, that when he did claim to have done so a couple of weeks before the election many Copeland voters did not believe him.

But it is not particularly surprising that Mr McDonnell tool should have failed to "cut through" in Copeland on this issue.

Today the Telegraph released footage of John McDonnell saying that Labour should take action against nuclear power and nuclear weapons in the first 100 days of a Labour government.

The clip is from 2012, before John McDonnell was shadow chancellor, but that is certainly recent enough to be relevant as a guide to what ends he would use his influence in any Labour government towards: he said that he wanted to build on the early success of Gordon Brown, who mapped his first days in power shortly after becoming prime minister.

Speaking at a Labour meeting in July 2012, Mr McDonnell said:

"From the Left now [...] we should now be mapping out not in manifesto form but in a manual form the first 100 days of a Labour government going into power.

"The issues around energy, you immediately announce no more nuclear power. On foreign policy, you immediately say we are coming out of Afghanistan now, we're scrapping nuclear weapons. We would have built up popular support for those policies."

Copeland Labour party can repeat until they are purple in the face that official Labour policy is pro-nuclear but with an anti-nuclear PM and an anti-nuclear chancellor there is going to be no new nuclear build because the effort to go out and make it work will not be there.

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