It is an emergency. In 5 days' time we will elect a new Government in which we vest responsibility for our future. And we are in danger of an entirely specious question influencing the outcome.
Last night on BBC Question Time we were able to compare Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May on their policies and their leadership qualities - not in debate, because the PM clearly fears that she will not fare well in direct opposition to Corbyn and argues that she is better employed going round the country preaching to the converted at staged events. The truth is that she is fearful of a debate with Corbyn, and this alone ought to raise questions in our minds about her courage under fire. She has assured us that she is proud to be 'a bloody difficult woman' and that she is tough enough to press the nuclear button. Words, just words, no evidence, no proof. And yet it plays to that section of the population which considers itself patriotic and celebrates our historic military victories. And to many ordinary people who think it is a matter of survival. It is not. Nuclear war is not now anything like the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, terrible as they were. Nuclear war is now about global devastation, the immediate destruction of billions of lives, and the slow extinction of the remainder through ubiquitous radiation.
The Hiroshima bomb was 1 megaton (equivalent to 1000 tons of TNT in explosive power).
We are now talking about 20 megaton bombs/missile warheads, and 50 - 100 megaton devices have been developed. The US and Russia reduced their stockpile to around 1600 nuclear warheads each: collectively they could end life on the plane, human and animal.
Worst case scenario: a single 100 megaton nuclear weapon strikes London:
However distressing, it is essential that we ground any discussion of nuclear weapon use in this reality. The reality is one in which a direct nuclear strike on London would pulverise most communication systems and take out all of the political and military decision makers, if they had not had sufficient time to get to their nuclear bunkers.
In the case of a first strike against us, that would be unlikely. And a second, 'revenge' strike may not be possible to mount amidst the destruction and chaos, if indeed there were any point.
So the debate around 'pressing the button' and who would/not do it is academic, literally a debating point. Any nuclear strike begins a succession of events in which communication becomes nearly impossible, and negotiating a peace equally so, and the conflict continues until both sides have exhausted their arsenals, or their ability to deliver them. The result is death on an unimaginable scale, the radiation poisoning of the planet and its foodstuffs accounting for the survivors.
Corbyn was brave to stand up to the questioner's pressure to declare his position. He could have said "I suppose, reluctantly, I might feel I had to do it", but it would have been a deceit and a betrayal of life-long principle. It is a long time since we have had a leader with that much courage and commitment to the truth, and puts him head and shoulders above May and her sabre-rattling friends, who seems to fear Corbyn more than the moral dilemma of authorising genocidal aggression.
Press the button on this posturing and deceitful nonsense: it's a non-question whose answer makes not one jot of difference to the eventuality: the end of life as we know it on this planet. See it for what it is: it is smear inside a red herring which should have no part to play in this election or any other. May is not any more patriotic then Corbyn. In any case, as Samuel Johnson wrote 'Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel' which is why the Tories, UKIP, the BNP and the National Front before them, all draped themselves in the union flag.
VOTE LABOUR, and bring principle back into Government.