Threats from a senior general that the army would take “direct action” against a possible Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour government show a jaw-dropping contempt for democracy.
Top brass “wouldn’t stand” for a prime minister committed to international peace, said the September 20 Sunday Times, and would be prepared to use “fair means or foul” to stop a PM who “jeopardise[s] the security of this country”.
The outspoken military chief remains anonymous, of course.
But where is the chorus of condemnation from all parties concerned with Britain’s future as a democratic society, with the people’s right to determine our military and foreign policies accepted by all?
After all, why should the military get to define what constitutes a “threat to our national security”?
Few prime ministers have done more to put British lives in danger than Tony Blair. As Reg Keys, whose son Tom was killed in Iraq, wrote recently, Corbyn’s patriotism — which opposes lawless acts of aggression against foreign countries — is far more genuine than that of the armchair generals who wish to bomb their way out of every problem.
The invasion of Iraq created a failed state, provoked a huge rise in the influence of al-Qaeda and sowed the seeds for ISIS.
The carnage Britain and its allies have unleashed in the Middle East has seriously endangered our security. But the military did not overthrow Tony Blair ahead of Iraq or David Cameron on the eve of the Libyan bombing spree.
It is clear that what this unnamed general fears is not that Corbyn would put British lives at risk, but that his principled opposition to war would prevent a callous and corrupt Establishment from sending soldiers to die whenever it suits the interests of the ruling elite.
Apparently, the army would not accept a refusal to renew our nuclear weapons arsenal — although polls show most Britons are opposed to splurging £100 billion on a new set of weapons of mass destruction.
Even Blair, in his autobiography a,dmitted Britain’s nuclear “deterrent” did nothing for our security. But when Corbyn says this, he is suddenly an existential threat.
There is nothing surprising in this. Corbyn is a threat — but not to people in Britain who would be much safer under a government that pursued peace.
He is a threat to a discredited political system that exists to defend the privileges of a tiny minority. This system is clearly not going to stop at media sneers and character assassination. No, the army might need to take “direct action”.
If Prime Minister David Cameron cared for the rights of parliament or the rule of law, he would be on the airwaves denouncing the real threat to our “national security” — an army that thinks it can forcibly reject the wishes of the electorate.
He is not. Our prime minister cares for no rights but those of big business and no rule save that of unregulated capitalism.
If you want to change that, the necessity of building a movement capable of getting Corbyn into Downing Street and keeping him there is more urgent than ever.
[Abridged editorial from the Morning Star.]