ARCHBISHOP HEENAN'S timely plea for the deprived members of society is a rebuke to our shaky sense of priorities when it comes to fighting a general election. The next one may he fought mainly over the British deterrent. While half the world remains hungry, we spend £2.000 million on defence. What a change it would be if, just for once, a party could fight the election. not on the basis of what is good for Britain, but on the basis of what Britain can do for the world.
Quite apart from the morality or otherwise of nuclear war, we have lost our sense of reality. If the argument is to make ourselves physically safe against a hypothetical aggressor first, and then to consider the starving millions from a position of strength, one can only reply that an awful lot of people will go on suffering for a very long time.
Moves for global disarmament and a global effort for the deprived peoples of the earth must enjoy at least a kind of co-priority with defence. The three go together.
There is a certain logic in the Prime Minis
ter's argument that. unless Britain has some sort of standing as an independent striking force, she will have no standing at international councils. The fact that Britain had a nuclear status of her own, notwithstanding her dependence on the American contribution to it, let us into the Moscow treaty negotiations, says Sir Alec, and Khruschev was grateful for it. Britain's role as mediator is continuing and basic to world peace.
But the fact that Britain was making a major contribution to a NATO deterrent or a mixedmanned force on the Kennedy formula would be enough to let her into the councils of the nations. Nor can we understand why, when two opposing countries each have one big banger, there is any need for them to have a lot more.
The answer is a rapid return to Kennedy's line of thought, with the Western powers acting jointly in defence, in negotiating for disarmament, in building up international aid for developing countries. As. long as Britain hangs on to past glories of splendid isolation, and refuses to think globally, there is no hope of sanity anywhere.