Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Comprehensive Plan of Action

There are people in this world who believe that the Shia-slaughtering hordes of al-Qaeda and the Taliban are clients and proxies of Iran, and that Iran is both a more brutal dictatorship and a greater threat to Western security than Saudi Arabia is. Yes, such people really do exist. Mercifully, however, they would never be allowed anywhere near the running of anything. Would they?

Americans should demand a vote in Israeli elections, since those now determine their foreign policy word for word. But therefore, for the first time since December 1941, the United Kingdom now has a foreign policy distinct from that of the United States.

Yet it is less than 24 hours since the prospect of such a thing, and not least of a less confrontational approach to Iran, was one of the two principal reasons cited by the Conservative Party, by the Parliamentary Labour Party and by the media as self-evidently disqualifying Jeremy Corbyn from becoming Prime Minister. 

Now, however, only the other such reason survives, namely that the election of a Corbyn Government in 2022 would end the 45-year hegemony of the economic policy that had begun with the Callaghan Government's turn to monetarism in 1977. 

Again, it is assumed that "everyone" recognises that that end would be disastrous, so that the desire for it was insane. Well, this time yesterday, "everyone" took that same view of a British foreign policy distinct from that of the United States, and specifically of a less confrontational approach to Iran. Britain should press its advantage.

Specifically, Corbyn should press his advantage. The supply of British arms to Saudi Arabia needs to be brought back to the floor of the House of Commons as a matter of the utmost urgency. The rather good Labour Chief Whip ought to publish in advance the list of MPs with leave of absence. For anyone else, abstention this time ought to mean deselection in due season, and universal moral revulsion with immediate effect. No such person ought to be re-elected. Therefore, no such person ought to be reselected.

Corbyn should also board a plane to Tehran, unannounced, and with a smartphone in his hand so that he might tweet immediately before landing that he would not be leaving without Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Abbas Edelat. When he came back with them, as he undoubtedly would, then his claim to the Premiership would be unanswerable.