For a Labour victory

Labour CND activists are working flat out for the election of a Labour government on 8 June.  We are certain that securing a government led by Jeremy Corbyn is the most urgent task for all those of us campaigning for peace and nuclear disarmament and against unjust wars. Under Corbyn, Labour will no longer be the party of the Iraq War.

Labour’s manifesto commitments include:

  • putting conflict resolution and human rights at the heart of foreign policy
  • backing effective action to alleviate the refugee crisis
  • working through the UN
  • supporting reform to make UN institutions more effective and responsive
  • ending support for unilateral aggressive wars of intervention
  • a comprehensive peace in the Middle East, and
  • the creation of a Minister for Peace and Disarmament.

The manifesto recognises the UK’s ‘responsibility to fulfil our obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty’. And it pledges Labour to ‘lead multilateral efforts with international partners and the UN to create a nuclear-free world’.

Labour’s vision stands in sharp contrast to the outgoing Tory government’s boycott of UN negotiations for a treaty to ban nuclear weapons in March. Talks reconvene on 15 June, a week after the election.

The manifesto affirms that a Labour government will undertake ‘a complete strategic defence and security review when it comes into office, to assess the emerging threats facing Britain, including hybrid and cyber warfare’. The recent cyber attack on the NHS has demonstrated that Labour is right to focus on the real security threats facing Britain.

It comes as no surprise that the manifesto supports the renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system, wrongly referring to it as a ‘deterrent’.

Corbyn has acknowledged an in-coming Labour government’s commitment to Trident. He has also emphasised his commitment to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and support for a global nuclear ban, consistent with his personal opposition to all nuclear weapons and reflected in his vote against replacing Trident on a free vote in the last parliament.

Labour CND remains opposed to all nuclear weapons, including Britain’s. We strongly support Labour’s commitment to a nuclear free world. Equally, we will continue to take every opportunity and use every avenue to campaign against Trident replacement which we believe is an important component part in achieving such a world.

General Election

IT’S NOT TOO LATE, REGISTER NOW TO VOTE

The General Election takes place Thursday 8 June 2017. We hope that all Labour CND subscribers are already registered to vote on Thursday 8 June – and out on the doorstep with their local party.

But if someone you know hasn’t registered to vote yet, it’s not too late. Applications must be in by MONDAY 22 MAY. Registration takes just a couple of minutes, less time than making a cup of tea!

Register online now at gov.uk/register-to-vote/ If you know of anyone who wants to register but is not internet connected, download a form for them at yourvotematters.co.uk and get them to contact the local council.

Students with a different home and term-time addresses can register at both – but only vote in one. If this is you, chose which carefully – it can make a difference.

Postal votes – the deadline for a postal vote’s earlier, Friday 19 May.

CND’s message to parliamentary candidates

The General Election takes place Thursday 8 June 2017. CND UK has called on us all to send a clear message to government by electing more anti-nuclear MPs. CND is asking candidates for their views on three key issues during General Election 2017: Trident replacement, the UN nuclear ban treaty, and the construction of new nuclear power stations. You can see these responses and contact candidates standing in your area via the CND website.

Labour’s peace and disarmament policy misrepresented

And they actually think that nuclear weapons keep the peace?The attacks on Jeremy Corbyn support for nuclear disarmament began on day one of the election campaign.

In the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show (23/04/2017) interview at the start of the general election campaign, Corbyn said that an incoming Labour government would carry out a defence review, including the Trident nuclear weapons system. A couple of days later, the Guardian carried an article claiming this statement meant he was in breach of Labour’s manifesto commitments.

 

Labour CND says

Labour CND chair, Walter Wolfgang replied to this accusation in a letter the Guardian failed to publish:

Your article in the Guardian on Monday “Corbyn is behaving a bit like the right wingers he once denounced” is mistaken. The 2014 Labour Party conference decided that the national policy forum would seek the opinion of party members on a new statement on Trident replacement.

Statements were collected from Labour Party members and most of these were opposed to Trident replacement. The incidence of a second Labour Party leadership election meant that the review was never published.

Consequently the issue is still open and Jeremy Corbyn was correct to suggest that the best way of resolving it would be by a Labour government having a Strategic Defence and Security Review. This should be clearly stated in Labour’s 2017 manifesto.

Walter Wolfgang, Chair Labour CND

 

Media misinformation

As usual nowadays, the Guardian was acting as the purveyor of the Progress view point – cherry picking those parts of Labour policy which represent the pro-Trident standpoint.

As Walter makes clear, the defence review is Labour policy too, and the party should return to this when the election is over. We already know that a majority of members are opposed to Trident replacement, as are sections of the military and a wide variety of security think tanks and individuals.

 

Nuclear disarmament policy

Time after time, Labour’s manifesto and conference policy also include supporting multilateral steps towards nuclear disarmament and honouring international treaty obligations. This means support for the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty talks and, by extension, the global nuclear ban treaty negotiations that began last month, March 2017.

Jeremy’s statements on the Andrew Marr Show and elsewhere are entirely in line with this.

The rogue point of view is that which ignores these aspects of policy and attempts to suggest that Trident replacement must override all other aspects of Labour’s security and defence policy.

No one’s been prepared to put that to a vote at the National Policy Forum or Labour’s annual conference. And we suspect we know why!

Labour CND fringe at Unite conference

The Labour CND fringe meeting at thelabour-1 Unite Policy Conference was a big success, with a packed room hearing from a number of speakers setting out why Unite should adopt a position opposing Trident replacement and engage in efforts on defence diversification.

The meeting heard from economist Michael Burke, CND General Secretary Kate Hudson, Labour Party activist Simeon Elliott and Hilary Wainwright, who has written a book about the Lucas Plan. The clear message from the panel and delegates in attendance was that Unite must take the issue of diversification seriously in order to protect long-term high-skilled manufacturing jobs for the future.

Michael Burke called for the money currently allocated to Trident to be used to springboard a comprehensive industrial policy for the UK. He also spoke about the proposals in the CND? Jobs not Trident report.

Kate Hudson welcomed Jeremy Corbyn’s commitment to establish a Defence Diversification Agency and called on all trade unions, including Unite, to play a full role.

Hilary Wainwright drew on the lessons from the Lucas Plan which could be applied to the current debate around Trident while Simeon Elliott talked about the policy debate underway in the Labour Party and the need for Unite to support a move away from supporting Trident.

Contemporary Motion for Labour Conference

Labour CND has prepared an anti-Trident motion for Labour Party conference delegates to vote on in September. Labour’s annual conference has avoided a vote on Trident for almost 20 years – previous motions have been ruled out. But with huge opposition to Trident amongst Labour Party members and the present leadership clearly opposed to Trident, Conference 2016 represents a strong opportunity.
A change in Labour Party policy on Trident would be a huge step towards stopping government plans to replace Britain’s nuclear weapons system. It would mean a future Labour government could stop the programme before hundreds of billions are wasted on a militarily useless weapon. It would also be a strong platform to construct a new foreign policy designed for the 21st century.

Although CLPs have not been holding meetings in recent months, meetings to consider matters relating to Conference will be taking place in the coming weeks. The text of the motion is below, if you have any questions please email info@labourcnd.org.uk

Proposed United Nations conference on Nuclear Disarmament affects domestic policy

Conference notes on the 19 August 2016 the United Nations Open-Ended Working Group on Nuclear Disarmament recommended that the General Assembly convene, in 2017, a conference to negotiate a legally-binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination. Conference condemns the United Kingdom boycott of the Open-Ended Working Group and calls on the Government to enter into negotiations in good faith to eliminate nuclear weapons around the world.

Conferences reaffirms its commitment to a world without nuclear weapons.

Conference recognises the strength of arguments against Trident from a financial point of view, and from the perspective of an assessment of the actual contemporary threats to British security, such as terrorism. Conference also accepts the compelling moral argument against the use of nuclear weapons.

Conference believes that defence diversification must be an urgent priority for the next Labour government. The next Labour Government must offer cast-iron guarantees on the security of related skilled employment, which is lacking from the existing ?Successor? programme. The priority must be to secure the employment for individuals and the future of the communities involved.

Conference therefore resolves:
1. That a Labour Government will cancel plans to replace Trident and engage in ongoing UN work towards a global nuclear weapons ban.
2. To instruct the NEC to immediately establish a ‘Shadow Defence Diversification Agency’ with trade union participation and which shall report annually to the Labour Party Conference until a Labour Government has set up a statutory Agency.

Labour CND fringe meeting at Unite Conference

On Monday 11 July Labour CND will host a fringe meeting at the Unite Policy Conference on “Trident and Jobs: Truth and Myths”.

The fringe comes ahead of an anticipated debate on Trident at the Policy Conference and a vote in Parliament, which is expected before the end of the year.

You can see the flyer for the meeting, which will be addressed by Mick Burke, Kate Hudson, Hilary Wainwright and Labour National Policy Forum member Sim Elliott here.

Labour CND has also produced a newsletter to accompany the fringe meeting, which you can read here.

Labour’s Defence Policy review continues

Thanks to everyone who responded to Shadow Defence Secretary Emily Thornberry’s invitation to participate in Labour’s Defence Policy Review. Her report will be presented to the International Policy Commission which reports to the National Policy Review. The NPF will meet on 2nd July, after which it will prepare a report for Labour Party conference in September.

Labour’s review of defence policy is not over. It has now entered another stage, and the next deadline is Wednesday 8 June. Please participate, by responding to the International Policy Commission’s consultation. We explain how to do so below. You don’t have to be a member – anyone can express their views.

CONTACT THE IPC via the yourbritain website at http://www.yourbritain.org.uk/agenda-2020/commissions/international or search on ‘IPC consultation’. The page which comes up invites you to share your views, and allows you to download the consultation document, Britain’s defence and security priorities. Anyone can read anything on the site.

TELL THE IPC YOUR VIEWS Anyone can participate, Labour Party member or not. You can put forward your own views by making a submission. You can also read, comment and vote on the views of others.

To do so, you must first log in. If you’re a member of the Labour Party and registered for Membersnet, just click log in in the top right corner and give your Membersnet username and password. (Depending on the browser you use, you may need to log in after each comment or vote you make.)

If you’re not a Labour Party member, or not registered for Membersnet, you will have register by clicking register. You’ll then be asked to give your name, postcode, and email address, and to choose a username and password. The information you give is not shared with others.

You can now express your views by clicking make a submission. You?ll be asked to give a title and a summary of not more than 600 words. You can also choose whether to give your full name or a shortened version – eg Josephine Smith or Jo S. You can attach a longer document if you wish, putting your views at length -?but if so, it helps to make a summary as not everyone browsing the site will take the time to download and read the long version.

What you say will be posted for others to see, and to comment and vote on. You can also respond to other people?s comments on your submission. Here’s an example taken from the website:

Renewal of Trident does not increase our security

Posted on 19-05-16 by Annie Tunnicliffe

Number of votes: 1 | Number of comments: 2

Top threats to our national security are Terrorism, cyberwarfare, global epidemics, natural disasters, instability in Middle East and chemical/biological WMDs. Trident has no relevance to any of these. Also advances in cyber technology underwater mean that by the time Trident is renewed, tracking the “secret” submarines will be on stream??

Comment posted on 21-05-16 by Simeon Elliott

Thank you for your submission Annie. I agree with all the points that you have made, and like George I shall be supporting your views in the International Policy Commission. Sim Elliott, an NPF representative (South East CLPs) on the International Policy Commission.

COMMENT & VOTE ON OTHER SUBMISSIONS

Commenting and voting on the submissions of others is important. The number of comments and votes will be recorded and may be taken as evidence of support for a point of view.

That helps tell the Labour Party know how much opposition there is to Trident replacement. We encourage you to visit the yourbritain website from time to time, to look at and respond to other submissions.

Thanks for your patience in reading through this, and please share it with others. Together we’ll let the Labour Party know that the majority wants to Stop Trident!