It's been a great week for the end of the world. At the Labour party conference in Brighton, delegates—including, prominently, those from Unite, GMB, and other major unions—have voted against debating the party's position on the Trident nuclear weapons program. Of course, this is a small victory: the motion wasn't for Labour to oppose Trident, but for them to have a debate about the possibility of opposing it, and with a Tory majority in Parliament it's likely that the program would have been renewed anyway. For the next five years, at least, the lives of every single person on the planet will remain where they belong, in the hands of whoever has been chosen to lead the Conservative Party. But for those of us who eagerly await the fiery destruction of all human life, it's a victory nonetheless. Because, as we know, the end of the world is good for Britain's economy.
It's not entirely clear why Jeremy Corbyn is so opposed to Britain's nuclear deterrent. (After all, in 2004, he sponsored a motion in Parliament to officially welcome "the day when the inevitable asteroid slams into earth" and wipes out humanity forever. Maybe it's the means, not the ends, that he's concerned about.) His anti-Armageddon stance certainly isn't making him many political allies. He's recently come under attack from senior Labour party figures for claiming on Radio 4 that, were he Prime Minister, he'd refuse to push the big red button. According to shadow defense secretary Maria Eagle, "a potential prime minister answering a question like that in the way that he did" is not "helpful." At least someone's saying it how it is: What's the point of spending £20 billion [$30 billion] on nuclear weapons if you're not going to use them?This is a critical moment for the party: How can they win the trust of the electorate if they're not seen to be grunting and drooling at the prospect of instantly annihilating millions of people? Power is ultimately more important than principle, and Labour needs to be a party of government, not of opposition, even if what it ends up governing is a big mutant-strewn stick of charcoal in a sea clogged with ashes and bones. But nuclear weapons aren't just good for Labour, they're good for the country. Here's why.
This was the line taken by many union delegates when they voted against any debate on the nuclear issue. For Len McCluskey, the general secretary of Unite, while there's "a moral case and the huge cost of replacing Trident, especially in this era of austerity," these concerns are outweighed by "jobs and the defense of communities." Five hundred twenty civilian employees at the Faslane naval base in Scotland—and their families— depend directly on the continuation of Britain's nuclear deterrent. While it's true that, were Trident to be scrapped, the £20 billion [$30 billion] of savings would be enough to compensate each former worker with a redundancy payment of just under £38,461,538.50 [$58,310,000], their new lives of unimaginable wealth and luxury would soon start to feel like a hollow sham; without good honest work they'd soon become bored and restless, wishing for a nuclear apocalypse just to save them from the sheer ennui, and tragically impotent to bring it about.In any case, laying off British workers just because what they do has the potential to kill every living thing on the planet is a slippery slope. The British arms industry is one of the few manufacturing concerns that this country still has, and much of its output is exported to repressive states like Israel and Saudi Arabia. Should that be scrapped too, along with the thousands of jobs it provides? What about the BBC, which makes a significant profit selling Top Gear and Doctor Who around the world, subjecting millions to programs so terrible that any honest tribunal would class them as war crimes? Some countries base their economies on oil or minerals; Britain's is based on monstrous, inexplicable evil. Nobody likes it, but any attempt to change that is just not feasible.
TRIDENT KEEPS BRITAIN WORKING
It's not only those workers directly employed by Trident that might feel its benefits. For decades, there's been a severe lack of good, dependable, unionized industrial work available in this country. This has been the result of numerous factors, but by far the most significant is the industrialization of the Global South. It's simply cheaper for British employers to open up factories staffed by Malaysian slave-laborers than it is for them to invest in communities at home. Our attempts to deal with this historical shift haven't been entirely successful—while there's been some investment in the formation of a high-tech workforce, and an effort to drive down wages to competitive levels through zero-hours contracts and other mechanism for casualizing labor, unemployment is still high, and productivity is still flatlining. Trident offers an effective alternative. It'll be much easier for hardworking British people to compete with workers overseas when those workers have been turned into gently drifting clouds of dust by the ungodly heat of a thermonuclear explosion.The tourism sector is another vital component of the British economy that could be helped out by the irradiation of much of the world's surface. As things stand, our traditional seaside resorts are in steep decline, thanks to a combination of cheap air travel and the fact that they aren't very good. Rather than doing their bit for the economy by pretending to have fun as the rain lazily spits its displeasure at Weston-super-Mare, thousands are instead choosing to fly out to more enticing destinations overseas. It's very likely that targeted nuclear strikes on popular holiday destinations, turning pristine beaches and charmingly rustic hotels into a silent span of black glass that bubbles underfoot as the radiation-burned survivors pathetically crawl for the sea, will be a much-needed boon for our traditional hospitality industry. Many voters in seaside towns have abandoned Labour for UKIP, and a newfound commitment to the systematic eradication of all foreigners might be what it takes to lure them back. A fairer, better, full-employment economy is almost within reach: all we need to do is push the button.
NUCLEAR DEVASTATION HELPS THE WIDER ECONOMY TOO
All this is assuming that Britain itself emerges unscathed from any nuclear war, which isn't likely. But if a future Prime Minister's decision to deploy Trident ends up being the last decision anyone ever makes, it could still be great news for our economy. The millions we're currently spending on welfare payments to scroungers, smackheads, and the rest of the undeserving poor can finally be put to better use. Unemployment will instantly be wiped out, at the small cost of the unemployed. Admittedly, overcrowding at NHS hospitals will briefly become an extremely serious problem, but within a few days it will recede into utter insignificance. Britain's balance of payments will be perfectly even and its debts will fall to zero. There'll be no inflation, no credit crunches, no dropping share prices. And the Labour party will never lose another election.Follow Sam Kriss on Twitter.