Thursday 15 February 2018

No defence to 'ignoring defence'

Last night the Labour Party launched a brilliant Party Political Broadcast , focusing on the Tories failure to deal with crime in this country, the unacceptable cuts to police numbers. A brilliant bit of the work by the Labour team followed up with similar messages from Jeremy Corbyn and the Front Bench team.

Also this week the party have announced some policies about pets- a popular campaign issue, that all local councillors could tell you - and important to many residents , so understandable why Labour would come out with a policy that makes it easier for tenants to keep pets in their houses and flats. But I do wonder if they consulted any Labour run authorities to ask about the problems that we often have with pets and their owners.

Good to see policies coming out and often as with the campaign on police numbers with good use of newspapers, TV and social media. But there are some topics we just seem to want to ignore.

BREXIT - I wish we would be more Pro EU, or just make our position clear - but I understand why it is difficult and not just because in the past Corbyn has been seen to be anti the EU. Many of our voters, particularly in the Midlands and the North voted to leave, if we came out pushing for a second referendum we would probably lose any hope of winning back seats like Mansfield.

However, there is no excuse for the silence on defence issues from Corbyn and his Front Bench team, again, defence is a difficult issue for Jeremy, he in the past ( and a not too distant past) has been very anti NATO, critical of both defence policy and the British Army and that is without even mentioning Northern Ireland.

 But defence is a big issue, the armed Forces are facing savage cuts from this Tory Government, people are losing jobs and this country is not being protected like it should be. Defence is an Achilles heel for Corbyn, speaking up on it now may help people change their mind on if he could be a good PM - but it seems he would rather stay silent, and not upset his friends in organisations like 'Stop the War.

This is a mistake not only if he wishes to win the next General Election but if he  wants to be seen as a statesmen that people respect, trust and can get things done - not just in the UK but internationally.

Cuurently over 1,000 British troops are deployed to the Baltic states to help defend them from the Russian threat, a threat that is probably more severe now than it was during most of the Cold War. British troops are still in Iraq, helping training the Iraq armed Forces and the Kurds, so they can continue the fight against ISIS. British servicemen and women are also deployed in a number of African countries, helping those countries fight back again the rise of Islamic terrorist groups.

And if that was not enough, Afghanistan is close to losing a large percentage of it's land back to Taliban control - but what do we get from Corbyn?? A policy that will allow people in flats have the right to own a dog!

I understand that his principles and his association with certain groups make talking about defence a difficult situation but if wants to lead a Labour Government into power, he needs to start talking about defence and that does not just mean criticising American foreign policy or talking about the conflicts that Tony Blair took us into.

He rightfully attacked the Tory Government for their handling of the Carillion collapse but he could have highlighted the fact that the Tories gave Carillion control of Armed Forces housing,  so now soldiers, sailors and airmen are not even sure who their landlords are - they are more worried about who will fix a leaky pipe when they are away on operations rather than can they keep a pet budgie.

There is no defence for Corbyn not talking about 'defence'