“We need to avoid a nuclear apocalypse” – Corbyn statement on Nobel peace prize

This is the full statement published by Jeremy Corbyn on LabourList after the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, a coalition of hundreds of NGOs based in Geneva.

Congratulations to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) on its well-deserved award of the Nobel Peace Prize.

I’m proud to have worked with ICAN for the goal of a nuclear free world for many years and the Nobel Committee’s call for serious global nuclear disarmament talks demands an urgent response.

The need to avoid a nuclear apocalypse, killing millions upon millions of innocents and wrecking our planet. is becoming ever more pressing. Sadly, Theresa May and the Conservatives have tried to turn the issue into a party political game.

They are deeply irresponsible. Acting to prevent war, especially nuclear war, should be the starting point of any serious and sensible defence and foreign policy.

The tensions on the Korean Peninsula underline the urgency of the nuclear powers’ obligation under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to bring about nuclear disarmament.

We have to wind down the rhetoric now. As a member of the [United Nations] Security Council, Britain has an important responsibility and role to play. The next Labour government will ensure Britain takes a lead in strengthening global peace and security.

Reproduced from LabourList

Is the US-Korean conflict leading us into nuclear war?

As the war of words between Trump and North Korea entered its second week, newly elected South Korean President Moon Jae-in emerged onto the diplomatic stage on 16 August, declaring there’d be no second war on the Korean Peninsula. But is he right? In this video clip from China Global Television Network, Brian Becker, executive director of the US anti-war ANSWER Coalition explains some background to the conflict.

No Need For Nuclear

Labour CND recently participated in the conference No Need For Nuclear: The Renewables Are Here, which took place at Conway Hall, London, on 17th June 2017. Below are two short videos, which include presentations by Dr Carl Clowes, Public Health Wales, and Kelvin Hopkins, Labour MP for Luton North. 

Welcome Session
Dr Ian Fairlie, Dr Carl Clowes, Caroline Lucas, Kate Hudson.

Can Labour change its policy on nuclear new build?
Kelvin Hopkins MP

Corbyn: bringing end to conflict and war almost always involves talking to people you profoundly disagree with

In a speech on Friday 26 May 2017, Jeremy Corbyn reiterated his condolences to the families and friends of the victims, paid tribute to the emergency services and Manchester’s mood of unwavering defiance.  ‘The man who unleashed carnage on Manchester,’ he emphasised, ‘was not representative of Muslims.’

The war on terror was not working, Corbyn said. Whoever led the next government must do better.  Labour’s approach means change at home and abroad:

  • Labour would reverse cuts to emergency services and police. The UK cannot be protected on the cheap.
  • Labour would be tough on terror and on the causes of terror. The causes of attacks like Manchester can’t be reduced to foreign policy decisions alone.
  • An informed understanding of the causes of terrorism is indispensable for effective response. Many professionals acknowledge connections between wars the UK has fought and terrorism in Britain. This connection in no way reduces guilt of those who carry out attacks like Manchester.
  • Bringing end to conflict will almost always involve talking to people we profoundly disagree with. But the responsibility of government is never surrender the freedoms we have won. Carrying on as normal is an act of defiance of those who do reject our commitment to democratic freedoms.

Continue reading “Corbyn: bringing end to conflict and war almost always involves talking to people you profoundly disagree with”

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”

Daily Telegraph letter – Leadership election

Labour CND Vice-Chair Walter Wolfgang had the following letter on the Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership bid published in the Daily Telegraph on Monday 17 August 2015.

SIR – Polls show that most voters in the United Kingdom reject Trident, not just those in Scotland. Jeremy Corbyn is the only leadership candidate to represent this majority view.

As Labour leader, Mr Corbyn’s firm anti-Trident stance would win support in Scotland – and in the rest of the country too.

He can promise to scrap Trident and spend the £100 billion on reversing some of the cuts. He’d be backed by the TUC, Unison and many other unions who oppose Trident.

Mr Corbyn represents the public’s view on Trident, just as he stood with the public on Iraq. He has the policies and qualities to win a general election.

Walter Wolfgang
Vice-Chair, Labour CND
Richmond upon Thames, Surrey

Morning Star letter – Leadership election

Labour CND Executive Member Rae Street had the following letter on the recent article by Polly Toynbee on Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership bid published in the Morning Star on Tuesday 31 June.

Dear Editor,

‘With Friends Like These’….

This week  a broadsheet newspaper ran an article by a well known journalist, supposedly Labour Party supporter, on the Labour Leadership, Polly Toynbee.

She wrote that Jeremy was a ‘1983 man, a relic of the election that brought him to parliament when Labour was destroyed by its out-of NATO, anti EU, renationalise-everything suicide note’. 

According to this article he is a ‘romantic’  and voting for him would be ‘ignoring the electorate’.  Which electorate I ask myself?

She claimed his stand on opposing Trident among other issues made Labour imagine they were ‘unelectably reckless.’  But this commentator seems to be unaware of what happened in Scotland.  Voters knew full well the SNP were against Triident and austerity and voted in unprecedented numbers for those policies.  They didn’t vote for the Labour Party led by Jim Murphy which was supporting Trident replacement.

Jeremy is not a ‘relic’ ; he represents for thousands of people what the Labour Party should stand for:  He is living in the real world where thousands across the UK and the world agree with him.

In solidarity,

Rae Street

Morning Star letter – Deputy Leadership

Labour CND Executive Member Rae Street had the following letter on the Deputy Leadership contest published in the Morning Star on Saturday 27 June. Labour CND has written to the five candidates asking for their views on Trident replacement and also on what they believe Labour Party policy should be.

Dear Editor,

All five of the candidates for Deputy Leader of the Labour Party are for Trident replacement. Do they really realise what they are signing up for ? Firstly the UK because of its “obligations to NATO” is still committed to first use of nuclear weapons,. The killing power of just one warhead, of which there are multiple, on a Trident missile (each sub. can carry up to 16 missiles) is nearly 8 times that of the one dropped on Hiroshima.

Trident offers no security against the threats to the UK, or citizens anywhere, identified by the government such as ‘terrorism’ and ‘cyber’ warfare. There are also the dangers recently identified by the whistle blower of accidents. If the UK continues to say it requires nuclear weapons for defence it will encourage other states to do so, thus the world gets nuclear proliferation. Last, but by no means least, there are the questions of the mind boggling cost. Upwards of £100 billion pounds to be spent on Trident replacement when the government claims there is no money for hospitals, schools, social services….. The only people who profit will be the US military manufacturers – Lockheed Martin and the rest.

Not one of these five has the humanity, the principles and the clear headedness of Jeremy Corbyn. Where do we go?

Yours sincerely,

Rae Street

Cathy Jamieson: The Guardian

It’s not so long ago that the world watched in horror as Japan suffered the full force of the tsunami. The scenes of devastation that filled our screens and the tragic images of people searching for missing family members will haunt us for a long time. The threat from the damage to Fukushima nuclear power station gave the world a wake-up call.

But with today the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing, that other image of destruction from Japan leaves many questioning why on Earth we would countenance building a new nuclear weapons capable of causing death and destruction thousands of times worse than the havoc wreaked by a natural disasters and the fall-out from Fukushima.

This week, the House of Commons defence select committee published a damning report highlighting that basic defence capability is falling below the minimum required. Cuts in conventional forces are no longer a myth but a reality, with redundancies already under way. Meanwhile CND believes that the government’s estimate for spending on Trident replacement in the next 10 years is massively understated, with overall costs of design, procurement, materials and lifetime maintenance set to be in excess of £100bn.

When I suggested recently in the House of Commons that the moral case against Trident replacement had never been more compelling, the defence secretary, Liam Fox, was arrogantly dismissive. But I believe I spoke for the many who want the government to focus on improving health and care services for our elderly and disabled, educating our young people and building homes for the future.

In my experience, more and more people are questioning why the government claims that it needs to impose savage cuts on almost all areas of our public services while billions are still being poured into huge military projects that have no relevance to the defence of Britain.

Defence experts have spoken out publicly and former ministers, including Lord Browne of Ladyton, are now actively involved in top level groups on disarmament.

The “main gate” decision will not be taken until after the next general election, so we can influence future policy. Within the Labour party, we have the opportunity through the various policy reviews taking place to debate our position and we must give party members that voice. Otherwise, we will find ourselves behind public opinion, given opinion poll findings that highlight limited support for Trident replacement.

Ed Miliband rightly recognised this during the leadership contest when responding to Labour CND saying “we need to have a thorough examination of that [Trident replacement] decision as part of the government’s strategic defence review” and that “the review should look at the totality of our conventional and nuclear capabilities, considering both our defence needs and what our priorities are in the changing economic climate”.

Trident was excluded from the defence review, its funding guaranteed, when many other public spending commitments were cut back. Many of us in the Labour party believe no case has been made to continue with the replacement and believe the party should continue to press for that thorough review of defence policy. The public deserves to know the comparative costs of conventional defence and peacekeeping with maintaining nuclear weapons, and that information should inform any decision on the construction of the new submarines.

It is my personal view there is no longer a case for wasting Ministry of Defence resources on nuclear weapons. What better time than Hiroshima Day to renew our commitment to a world free of nuclear weapons, and continue the campaign to make it a reality.

Cathy Jamieson is Labour and Co-operative MP for Kilmarnock and Loudoun, and Secretary of the Westminster Parliamentary CND group.

This article was published on the Guardian Comment is Free website on Saturday 6th August.

Katy Clark: New Statesman

The Defence Select Committee report published this week on the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) and National Security Strategy expressed concern that the UK Armed Forces are already outstretched and may not be able to deliver the commitments they are likely to face between 2015 and 2020. The report reveals that the MOD has drastically increased the estimated gap in their funding and it is now “in excess of £38 billion”.

For this and many other reasons the decision to renew Trident needs to be urgently reviewed.

The overall estimated cost of replacing the Trident submarines at £25bn, £3bn of which will be spent before the decision in 2016 on the construction or ‘Main Gate’ decision. And of course this is at a time when most other areas of public spending are facing drastic cuts. When announcing the ‘Initial Gate’ decision the Defence Secretary, Liam Fox, announced: “The nuclear deterrent provides the ultimate guarantee of our national security.”

But confusingly the government now believes that some of the main threats facing the country are terrorism, cyber crime and civil emergencies like flu pandemics. Nuclear weapons have no role in dealing with these threats. During his statement, even Fox admitted that no nuclear armed nation currently poses a threat to the UK. Surely Britain’s commitment to Trident renewal is only encouraging nuclear proliferation and so making our country more insecure.

The Labour Party has welcomed the Government’s commitment to Trident renewal. The main decision on construction will not be made until after the next election. Opinion polls have consistently shown low levels of support for renewal, and the debate has moved on considerably from the 1980s.

We need to look at this issue again especially at a time when massive public sector cuts are and will have such a detrimental effect on some of the most vulnerable people in our country. I believe we will find a real appetite for this kind of cut. Many will think it makes more sense to ensure proper funding for more essential projects and that the Labour Party should not be committed to spending such a large amount of money on a totally unnecessary nuclear programme.

The Labour Party must not shy away from discussing this at September’s conference and leading the debate in the coming months.

 

Katy Clark is the MP for North Ayrshire and Arran.

This article was published on the New Statesman website on 6th August 2011.