Policy consultation extended

In response to pressure from members and local parties, the Labour National Executive Committee has decided to extend the consultationto Monday 20 July. Still time to make a submission on international policy, and voting to support Labour CND’s five responses. Check out the details in the post below.

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Respond to Labour’s International Policy Review

Labour CND has responded to the Labour Party policy consultation with 5 submissions in answer to each of the questions posed in International Policy Commission document, Championing internationalism in the post-coronavirus world. The IPC consultation covers foreign, development and defence policies, as well as broader issues such as Labour values and concepts of internationalism. LabCND urges you to access our submissions, sign in or register, and support them with a brief comment and a vote, and please consider making a submission of your own too.

You can read a summary of our submissions, posted by our secretary Ruth Brown, on the Labour Policy Forum website below. Then click on the question numbers to go straight to the website and add your own comments and vote to support them.

Q1: Labour’s internationalist values should include a war powers act
There’s great stress on Labour values without specifying what they are – a feel-good approach that fails to acknowledge differences. The most basic human right is the right to life. Labour’s 2019 manifesto promised a war powers act ‘so that no prime minister can bypass parliament’. Keir Starmer reaffirmed this promise. Putting flesh on the bones of Labour’s post-Covid internationalism, starts with reaffirming our commitment to the primacy of peace and justice, and the introduction of a war powers act.

Q2: UK defence policy: realism vs illusion
Real security is human security. The UK National Security Risk Assessment has highlighted their chief risks facing the UK, including health pandemics and ecological disasters as well as terrorism and cyber-attacks. Trident does not protect Britain from the actual threats we face. The participation of defence contractors in  the Ventilator Challenge Consortium shows the practicality of a just transition from nuclear weapon production to socially useful, sustainable alternatives. Let’s have a Shadow Defence Diversification Agency now in line with TUC policy.

Q3: International development values and strategy
Labour should re-assert the international development values expressed in our 2019 manifesto. Announcing his decision to merge the Department for International Development with the Foreign an Commonwealth Office, Boris Johnson said DiFD’s goals ‘will be wholly integrated with UK foreign policy and described the merger as ‘an opportunity to get value for the huge investments we make in overseas spending’. Labour should make the case for the retention of DFID with a standalone aid budget of at least 0.7% of gross national income, and commit an incoming Labour government to re-establishing an independent aid-giving department.

Q4: International priorities and global leadership
Global leadership takes many forms. Remembering Britain’s colonial legacy, we must be cautious about assuming that British leadership is what’s needed. The UK’s positive contributions to emergency and international aid, and to diplomacy are recognised by the UN and others. Labour should support the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and push for progress on the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It’s time to break with bipartisanship and strive for an independent, non-aligned foreign policy based on the primacy of peace.

Q5: Weaknesses in national security
Real security is that which makes our citizens safe. As criticisms of the Tories handling of the Covid19 crisis demonstrate, state security back up by military force does not always coincide with human security.Real security is not about national status that Trident supporters believe comes from Britain possessing nuclear weapons. Labour should commit to scrapping Trident replacement at the earliest opportunity and be prepared to dismantle the existing system when in government, starting with an end to at-sea patrols.

ACCESS MATERIALS HERE
To download a copy of Labour IPC document, the LabourCND submissions, or our quick guide to the IPC site, click on the links below:

Championing internationalism in the post-coronavirus world here
Labour’s internationalist values should include a war powers act here
UK defence policy: realism vs illusion here
International development values and strategy here
International priorities and global leadership here
Weaknesses in national security here
NPF: the basics here

The economy stupid, Mark II

This half hour exchange with Prof Paul Rogers and Kate Hudson is one of the best and most challenging things out there on the UK government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. It takes a look behind the headlines about hard working NHS and other essential workers… and ask why they’re still unprotected, untested and undervalued three months in to the crisis.

Angela Rayner: ‘I want a world without nuclear weapons’

Angela Rayner MP, Labour’s new Deputy Leader

Congratulations to Angela Rayner on her election as Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. We reproduce below her response to Labour CND’s lobby for a Minister for Peace and Disarmament:

Thank you very much for getting in touch with me about the post of Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament and the other manifesto policies. My Shadow Cabinet colleague Fabian Hamilton has done a great job as Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament and I absolutely believe that there should be a front bench spokesperson with specific responsibility for disarmament.

I can also confirm that I continue to support the commitments made in the “New Internationalism” section of the 2019 Manifesto and would want to maintain those commitments. I want a world without nuclear weapons and that’s what I want a Labour government to work towards. When the last Tory government tabled their motion to renew Trident in the House of Commons, I voted against it.

Of course, I don’t want to do to workers in shipyards and the supply chain what Thatcher did to pit towns, so any change would need to be underpinned by a plan for replacing those jobs with other skilled, well paid and unionised jobs. I would much rather we invest billions in low carbon, sustainable infrastructure, creating jobs, and building a future for our economy in exporting the means to save lives, not take them – the new, green technologies of the future. I have also made contributions during the hustings on arms sales that you might find interesting, you can watch that here.

Any candidate for Prime Minister who by contrast relishes the thought of unleashing death and destruction isn’t fit for the office. I’d rather work towards reducing the nuclear stockpile across the world because that’s the one thing that would make us all safer. We need an international commitment to disarmament and cooperation; the Tories have dismally failed to provide such leadership and the next Labour government must provide it.

Minister for Peace & Disarmament remains

Fabian Hamilton, MP for Leeds NE since 1997 retains his Front Bench post as Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament

Labour CND is delighted to see that the Front Bench post of Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament is to be retained under the new leadership, and will continue to be ably filled by Fabian Hamilton MP. Fabian will be working with colleagues in the Shadow Foreign and Commonwealth Office team, including Catherine West, another committed nuclear disarmamer and Vice President of London Region CND. Congratulations both.

Labour’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office team, led by Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy, comprises Wayne David (Ministter for Middle East and North Africa) Stephen Doughty (Africa, jointly with DFID) Stephen Kinnock (Asia and Pacific) Catherine West (Europe & Americas) and Fabian Hamilton (Peace and Disarmament). It is not yet known if Fabian’s post has the same brief before, which also ranges across policy areas within the defence team.

Thanks to everyone who participated in Labour CND’s online lobby in support of the Minister of Peace post.

Details of Labour’s new front bench here

Expensive MoD projects vs NHS spending

Extravagant military projets mean driving a tank through NHS spending

Co-Founder of Declassified UK Mark Curtis takes a look at how the Mininstry of Defence is planning to spend hundreds of billions on expensive military projects while our under-funded health service struggles to address the coronavirus.

Read Mark Curtis article in full
Take a quick look at what MoD money’s going on

Covid19 exposes government security failure

Wash your hands of Trident to combat Covid19

Successive National Security Risk Assessments commissioned by the UK government have identified pandemics one of the top threats to Britain’s safety. Then why wasn’t the government prepared for Covid 19? And why are we spending £205 billion on replacing Trident when the NHS is struggling to survive? Read CND’s blogg and let your MP know just what you think government priorities should be.

Save Labour’s Minister for Peace

Labour’s 2019 manifesto promised that ‘international peace and security will be a primary objective of a Labour government’s foreign policy’. Under Jeremy Corbyn a new post of Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament was established, with a brief to pursue these issues across policy areas.

Labour CND urges everyone who supports nuclear disarmament to help ensure this post is retained by the new Labour leader. Please contact Keir Starmer and ask him to retain this post, and write to your local Labour MP if you have one to let them know that this is important to you.

It only takes a minute to participate in our online lobby. Here’s how

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.

Continue reading “Labour’s peace and disarmament policy misrepresented”

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.