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Tories play the Trump card

Donald Trump’s interference in the British general election is as unwarranted as it is undemocratic, writes MURAD QURESHI

WHILE the focus has been on Russian interference in British politics, we should not forget the interventions of the President of the US, Donald Trump.

As soon as the general election campaign began Donald Trump returned to his running commentary on British politics to again attack Labour’s leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Speaking to Nigel Farage — of all people — on LBC he said “Corbyn would be so bad for your country, he’d be so bad, he’d take you on such a bad way. He’d take you into such bad places.”

This comes in addition to his regular attacks on our Labour and Muslim Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

Both Corbyn and Khan can of course take these attacks as a badge of honour. Labour stands for everything Trump can’t stand — peace, international respect for human rights, action to tackle the climate emergency, plus support for equality, tolerance and diversity.

Furthermore, by demanding a pact between the Tory and Brexit parties it is clear that Trump wants a so-called “special relationship” between the UK and the US firmly rooted in the politics of the far-right. This is consistent with his international alignments with the likes of the far-right Jair Bolsonaro, President of Brazil, among many others.

John McDonnell rightly called it “Trump’s alliance” of “Farage and Johnson following Trump’s orders” after Farage stood down candidates against the Tories.

As for the Nato conference in London — which Trump and others like Erdogan are attending — one needs to ask, what is the point of Nato? It is, after all, 30 years on from the fall of the Berlin Wall ending the cold war and the organisation was set up to contain the threat from the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact alliance.

More recently, we have just witnessed the cancellation of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty of 1987 between Moscow and Washington. More may follow with the end of the Strategic Weapons Treaty START 2 due to run out in 2021 and no realistic replacement in sight.

A new cold war is emerging and we have yet to adjust to the old one ending. The former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev — an architect, with US president Ronald Reagan, of the above agreements — has warned that the current tension between Russia and the West is putting the world in “colossal danger.”

He raised severe concerns about the threat from nuclear weapons and called for all countries to declare that nuclear weapons should be destroyed.

The good news is that during this election campaign we can tell Trump clearly that his interference is not welcome by attending the national demonstration in central London when the Queen will be hosting a reception for Nato leaders at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday December 3.

We should also remember that this is in the context of the Tory government’s latest review of defence spending with its proposed 2020 budget of £2.6 billion to maintain, at Trump’s insistence, Britain’s Nato contribution. This is almost as much as their intended spend on schools, health and policing.

It also shows where their real priorities lie in appeasing the Trump administration — as does the priority they are giving to a sweetheart free-trade deal with the US, even if it means putting the NHS up for sale and a race to the bottom on workers’ rights and environmental protections.

If you want an anti-war prime minister committed to peace and international justice, rather than slavishly following Trump’s hard-right, war-mongering agenda, you can only vote for the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership on December 12.

As Corbyn has said, it’s time that we stopped outsourcing our foreign policy and security to the increasingly erratic Trump administration.

So let’s make this happen, as part of our programme for real change, both here and around the world. Join the demonstration and vote Labour.

Murad Qureshi is chair of Stop the War.

 

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