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Vote a. Number for Air Force Service

Part of Orders of the Day — Air Estimates, 1962–63 – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th March 1962.

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Photo of Mr Konni Zilliacus Mr Konni Zilliacus , Manchester, Gorton 12:00 am, 12th March 1962

The doctrine of the balance of power as a way to preserve peace, particularly when it takes the form of the so-called nuclear deterrent strategy, is a doctrine that I repudiate altogether as an exploded and murderously dangerous fallacy. The so-called nuclear deterrent strategy is a nuclear destruction strategy, because so far from preventing war it makes certain that sooner or later, unless the policy is abandoned in time, there will be a war, by accident or design, even when neither side wants to attack the other and both sides believe they are fighting in self-defence. That is what happened in the last two balance of power and arms race wars, and that is what we are heading for again unless we can learn the lessons of the past.

The Secretary of State for Air seemed rather put out and took us up when some of us laughed at his statement about trying to explore the possibilities of space for military purposes. Frankly, I laughed because the contrast between that point of view—what one might call the political development of humanity and particularly of our rulers—and the infinite possibilities afforded by our growing command over the powers of nature was something so tragi-comic that one had to laugh if one did not cry. What do these possibilities mean? They mean that if we do not stop hating and fearing and relying on exploded and barbaric fallacies, and thinking in terms of slaughtering our fellow men rather than of abating our fanaticisms, then all these great powers will be prostituted and used to our own undoing.

I believe the whole attitude of the Government is a betrayal of our people. It is treason to civilisation and a blasphemy against humanity. I loathe and detest the whole of this defence policy, and particularly the madness of the so-called nuclear deterrent strategy.