Speaking to Stop the War Conference 2021 on Saturday (February 27), Jeremy Corbyn said:
In September, the US ordered six hundred new nuclear warheads.
Each one is twenty times more powerful than the one dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.
Only recently have we begun to understand just how close we came to nuclear destruction in the Cold War. How much firepower was trained on almost every major city in the world, how few safeguards there were on that firepower, how many frightening near-misses and blunders happened, and how first strikes – not just retaliation – were standard policy.
Despite all that horrific knowledge, we risk sleepwalking back toward the edge.
Britain, the US, and other big powers are renovating and increasing their nuclear arsenals.
And nuclear arms control treaties, including the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, have lapsed.
But, the public consensus is changing.
One hundred and twenty countries have signed the Treaty on the Prevention of Nuclear Weapons at the UN this year.
Three out of five people in the UK think we should join them, and four out of five people support a total ban on all nuclear weapons globally.
That’s the legacy of our movement’s efforts, of everyone since the great Aldermaston march of the Fifties who has stood up for a world without the threat of these doomsday weapons hanging over our heads.
And something else has happened. People have begun to understand where the real threats to our security are.
The US is spending one hundred billion dollars on its six hundred new warheads. Think about how astronomical that number is, and then remember the doctors and nurses over the last year who have been left to respond to a deadly virus wearing bin bags.
Pandemics were near the top of our risk register – but healthcare was neglected while our governments put trillions into preparing for hypothetical wars.
Imagine if all that money, all that ingenuity, all that labour, was going into projects to improve people’s lives.
From coronavirus to environmental destruction to economic inequality, we face threats that the war machine cannot fix, and can only worsen.
Real security is public health. Real security is education. Real security is providing decent jobs in a fair economy, jobs that tackle challenges like climate change.
I want to thank Stop the War for all the work you do for peace, and for real security. And with our newly founded Peace and Justice Project, we want to work with the anti-war movement on campaigning against nuclear proliferation, against the arms trade, and for cooperation and internationalism.
I will close by reminding everyone once again – that when we come together, we have the ideas, and we have the power, to build a world of peace and justice.