Can anyone help me out here? STV are quoting the new Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale as having made this baffling statement on nuclear weapons -
"I'm proud of the fact that my party is a party of nuclear disarmament. More warheads were abandoned under Labour than in any other country in recent history."
Not according to this website, they weren't. Britain is estimated to have had 203 nuclear warheads when Labour took office in 1997 - and 225 when they were ejected in 2010. I'm sure that Kezia thinks she must mean something, so does anyone have a clue how a net INCREASE of 22 warheads somehow represents "more warheads abandoned than in any other country in recent history"? To put it in perspective, Russia had 40,000 warheads in the late 1980s, and has now reduced that to around 5000. At the other end of the scale, South Africa had a small nuclear weapons system that was totally scrapped at the end of the apartheid years.
The only minor nod to disarmament during the Blair/Brown years was the ditching of the RAF's nuclear capability - which was very modest compared to Trident, although ironically it was the only part of the arsenal that could be genuinely called "independent", ie. not dependent on the Americans. Since the late 90s, the whole idea of an "independent nuclear deterrent" has been something of a fiction.
Kezia's broader point will raise a wry smile -
"I think the way to [disarm] is together on a multilateral basis. I recognise, however, there are people in the Labour Party and there are people who desperately want to support and join the Labour Party that take a different view. So why can't you have a situation where we're not afraid to debate these ideas?"
Translation : If Jeremy Corbyn becomes leader, I need an elegant way of reversing official policy without losing face. But if by any chance Corbyn is stopped, we'll have our "debate" and carry on as before.