Labour leader Keir Starmer and Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey visit the BAE Systems site housing nuclear submarines (Picture: Keir Starmer Flickr)

Labour is once again proving itself as a reliable backer of imperialism.
 
Keir Starmer—Labour leader—described his commitment to nuclear weapons as “unshakeable” and “absolute” in an article he wrote for the Daily Mail last Thursday.
 
And in an interview with the i newspaper on the same day, Starmer said Labour will aim to raise Britain’s defence spending to 2.5 percent of Britain’s total production “as soon as resources allow”.
 
It currently sits at 2.1 percent of gross domestic production (GDP). What this means is ramping up arms spending at a time when ordinary people are struggling.
 
On top of this, after Iran’s retaliation against Israel, Starmer said, that Labour “continue to stand up for Israel’s security” condemning “the Iranian regime’s decision to subject Israelis to these unacceptable attacks”. 
 
He added, “Our thoughts are with all those in the region who want peace and security, not the fear and instability by Iran.”
 
There was no mention of Israel’s initial bombing of an Iranian embassy in Damascus, Syria or a condemnation of Israel’s ongoing slaughter of Palestinians.
 
It is Israel’s political, economic and military ambitions that lead to instability. Starmer, with his support for Israel and Britain’s military, is siding with our imperialist ruling class.
 
Labour has committed to a “nuclear deterrent triple lock”, committing to building the next generation of Dreadnought-type nuclear submarines, to continuing Britain’s sea nuclear deterrent and promising to deliver all future upgrades.
 
The cost of this is tremendous. Britain’s nuclear weapons programme costs £3 billion a year to run and an estimated £205 billion to renew by 2030. And increasing arms spending to 2.5 percent of GDP will cost £16.5 billion a year.
 
But Starmer rolled back on spending £28 billion a year on climate investments and refused to commit to free school meals or getting rid of the two-child benefit cap, claiming the policies were “too expensive”. Yet there always seems to be a magic money tree for war.
 
In Starmer’s article in the Daily Mail, almost every reference to Labour has the word “changed” before it—“my changed Labour Party is utterly committed to our nation’s defence”.
 
But Labour hasn’t changed—it’s keeping to its historical role as a party that props up the current imperialist system of economic, political and military competition.
 
Even Starmer admits this, as he detailed in his article how Clement Attlee, Labour prime minister after the Second World War, created an independent British nuclear programme after the Second World War. 
 
And Starmer explains how Labour foreign secretary at the time—Ernest Bevin—was a key figure in establishing the Nato alliance, an imperialist alliance built on war.
 
No matter what Starmer wants us to think, nuclear weapons and more military spending contribute to escalating rivalries and a global arms race.
 
What Starmer’s latest statements show is Labour is not diverging from fueling Britain’s war machine, all while ordinary people continue to suffer.
 
Protests as Arab regimes defend Israel and betray Palestinians 
It wasn’t just Britain and the US that backed Israel against Iran last weekend—Arab regimes also lined up with Zionism.
 
Jordan’s air force intercepted and shot down dozens of Iranian drones. Its army was also in a state of high alert and radar systems monitored drones to back Israel.
 
Saudi Arabia also helped shoot down drones. One Saudi official disgracefully shielded Israel by criticising Iran for having “engineered a war in Gaza” in order to destroy the “progress” Arab regimes had made in normalising relations with Israel.
 
Jordan’s rulers had to claim that their actions last weekend were “self-defence” and not really supporting Israel. 
 
That’s because they are fearful of an escalation of the mass protests that back the Palestinians and also target Jordan’s rulers.
 
A trade unionist in Jordan told Socialist Worker that there was anger over the government’s pro-Israel stance.
 
“Many Jordanians on the streets will agree that any military attack on Israel will weaken the terror state and ease the pressure on Gaza. The Jordanian streets will continue to express anger against the war on Gaza,” he said.
 
Since 24 March an average of 6,000 to 10,000 people have gathered every night as close as they can to the Israeli embassy.
 
The cops and other repressive forces stop them from approaching closer than a mile from the site.
 
Protests last until early in the morning, often ending in confrontation with the security forces.
 
The demonstrators demand an end to Jordan’s 1994 peace deal with Israel and the normalisation of relations that followed.
 
“There are demonstrations where we live, but this is the biggest one in the country,” one demonstrator told the Los Angeles Times, on his 15th consecutive night of protest.
 
“Of course we have to be here.”
 
Some protesters chant Hamas slogans. Others raise slogans such as “Normalisation is…Treason,”
 
“The embassy is …Treason,”
 
“The economic deals are …Treason.”
 
Palestinians make up at least 2 million of Jordan’s 11 million people and another frequent chant at the protests is, “Who said we are separate? Jordan’s blood is for Palestine.”
 
The Arab regimes have betrayed the Palestinians—again.
 
We hope that the Jordanian protests can spread to set off a revolutionary challenge in solidarity with the Palestinians and against all the Arab monarchs and dictators.
 

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