Ensure your voice is heard in the leadership election

jeremyThe Labour Party is currently in the process of deciding its next leader, with five candidates in the running at this stage. Only one, Jeremy Corbyn, is against the renewal of the UKs Trident nuclear weapons system which would not only keep the country on a Cold War footing but would also cost £100bn at a time of continuing austerity.

This is the first time that individuals can register as a supporter and vote on the next leader without being a member of the Labour Party. It will cost you £3 to become a Registered Supporter (or it is free if you are a member of a Trade Union or other organisation already affiliated to the Labour Party).

Jeremy has been an active supporter of CND for many years and Labour CND is working to ensure that he makes it to the final ballot. There is widespread support for disarmament across the Labour movement and it is vital that these views are represented in the leadership debate.

If you live in London you will also be able to vote for Labour’s mayoral candidate ahead of the 2016 election. Labour CND is recommending that you support Diane Abbott, who has a long standing position against nuclear weapons.

You must sign up by 12th August to be eligible to vote in these contests. Details at http://www.labour.org.uk/w/labour-party-supporters

Petition – Time to Scrap Trident

tridentsubThe Labour leadership election is currently underway, and one of the first decisions that the new leader will have to take is on the replacement of Trident, with the vote on the Main Gate expected in Parliament early in 2016.

There is a strong voice for peace and disarmament within the Labour movement and it is vital that this voice is heard in the coming weeks and months. Please add your name to others urging the next Labour leader to adopt an anti-Trident position by signing the petition below.

 

Dear Leadership candidate,

Listen to members and voters on Trident, and help us win in 2020

  1. Trident is the only popular cut. Most voters reject Trident. Even before austerity set in, 63% supported scrapping Trident to reduce the deficit [1]
  2. Trident was rejected in Scotland: Labour must listen
  3. Trident is overwhelmingly opposed by Labour members, shown by submissions to the NPF[2]
  4. Trident was opposed by most Labour parliamentary candidates [3]
  5. Trident is opposed by the labour movement eg. UNISON, CWU, PCS, RMT, TSSA, ASLEF, NUJ, TUC
  6. Trident is leading to job cuts in conventional defence that could be reversed by scrapping Trident

There’s better ways to spend £100 billion. Please commit to Scrap Trident.

[emailpetition id=”2″]
[signaturelist id=”2″]

 

[1] BPIX survey for The Mail on Sunday, June 2010

[2] Approximately 50 CLPs submitted anti-Trident submissions to the NPF policy-making process, to a tight deadline.

[3] Comres survey for BBC Sunday Politics, September 2014

Time to talk Trident at your CLP

TridentDear activist,

The time has come for Labour CND activists to talk about Trident and nuclear disarmament at their next constituency meeting.

The Labour Party has published its final year policy consultation documents for the election manifesto and the Britain’s Global Role document restates a commitment to Trident replacement unless the party is ‘convinced otherwise’. This is our task.

The window of opportunity for constituency parties and affiliates to submit amendments by 13th June.

Amendments will be considered by National Policy Forum (NPF) members and discussed in July at the final meeting of the NPF before Annual Conference.

________________________________________________________________________

Labour CND amendment to the Britain’s Global Role document

P5
DELETE LINES 41-48 AND REPLACE WITH:

Labour is committed to achieving global nuclear disarmament and welcomes growing discussion of the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons by fellow states.

We recognise the success of past international bans in delegitimising weapons of mass destruction such as landmines, cluster munitions, and chemical and biological weapons and support a similar process to ban nuclear weapons, as a complementary and necessary mechanism to our disarmament commitment under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Labour will decommission rather than replace Trident. Labour will re-direct Trident spending to where it best serves our Society. Labour will develop an industrial plan to make use of the skills of those workers in the sector.

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CLPs may submit up to ten amendments by 13th June.

Individuals can post a personal submission to the YourBritain site.

 

Renew Labour’s disarmament ambition

Miliband2Ed Miliband has been regularly questioned by party members and the public since being elected leader about why on earth Labour would replace Trident.He has responded every time this issue is raised by saying he is not a ‘unilateralist’. For many of us, that is a soundbite and not a real answer, but he is of course consistent with the 2010 Labour manifesto which clearly stated:“We will fight for multilateral disarmament, working for a world free of nuclear weapons, in the Non Proliferation Treaty Review conference and beyond”.

But Vernon Coaker’s speech to RUSI this week re-stated his commitment to Trident replacement with no mention of multilateral disarmament.

Further to this, the Labour Party has published its final year policy consultation documents for the election manifesto and the ‘Britain’s Global Role’ document restates a commitment to Trident replacement unless the party is ‘convinced otherwise’ with a total lack of reference to any ambition for global disarmament.

Labour’s Defence team are rejecting any open discussion on UK possessing nuclear weapons even as a Tory-led Defence Committee in a report on 21st century deterrence argues ‘it is possible to foresee an environment in which the core role of nuclear deterrence – to protect a state from attack – is achieved by the deployment of advanced conventional weapons.’

So Labour should at the very least be clear that Britain’s nuclear weapons will be considered alongside all aspects of defence and security spending, from conventional military hardware to dealing with climate change.

And what has Labour to say on multilateral disarmament?

In 2015 whoever is elected at the General Election, the next review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty will take place in the same month and should be one of the first global gatherings of the next Government. The opportunity this creates for a new government in Britain to state a fresh commitment to global disarmament is obvious.

And Labour can make a clear statement before 2015. There is a growing momentum from states across the globe to discuss the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and drive towards a global ban, as has been achieved with chemical and biological weapons, and more recently on landmines and cluster munitions. In 2013, 127 states met in Norway to discuss the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons. Last month 146 nations met in Mexico to continue the discussion. And that conference will reconvene in Austria this Autumn but it is unlikely the UK government will attend.

Labour should send a clear message on its commitment to global zero, by sending a representative to the Austrian conference. They will be in good company. The Austrian Social Democrats have stated their support for the conference.

The failure of the Labour Party’s draft foreign policy document to make any mention of such a commitment to disarmament generally or even re-asserting our ongoing commitments, under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, to pursue disarmament in good faith, is truly shocking. Labour’s Foreign Affairs and Defence teams must be challenged on this glaring omission, because they are missing easy opportunities to make clear statements to voters to whom disarmament matters.

But with the wider public it is the simple message: ‘Trident will be scrapped and billions saved’ that will resonate. Our next manifesto should make clear that Labour will scrap Trident and, unlike this government, we will participate in international discussions for a global ban.

Money saved from scrapping Trident must first be invested in those areas where there are high levels of employment related to Trident. Unemployment must not be allowed to rise in those areas most affected.

From a global movement of governments, to defence-focused Tory MPs or the ongoing debate in the Lib Dems, Labour must decide whether it is happy to sit back while the world moves on and towards disarmament.

 

Please urgently consider ask your CLP or affiliated organisation to submit an amendment to policy document by 13th June, removing the text that reasserts support for a ‘continuous at sea deterrent’ and replaces it with a commitment to engage in international discussions towards disarmament, while scrapping Trident at home.

Our ambition is have many CLPs across the country calling for this amendment.

By Daniel Blaney, CND Vice-Chair and Labour CND executive

Join Labour’s Trident debate

Get involved in Labour’s Trident debate

The debate around Trident in the Labour Party is now developing and it is important that Labour CND activists get involved.

The Financial Times recently claimed that said Ed Miliband was open to alternatives to like-for-like Trident replacement.

This followed former Defence Secretary Des Browne’s statement that‘Since 2006, important things have changed and it is time for a more honest debate about the defence choices facing the country.’

Going further, Labour’s Former Defence Minister, Frank Judd, recently said, ‘I strongly believe that the case and need for, and relevance of, a new Trident have never been established.’

 

What we need to do

A debate on nuclear weapons will be more difficult to secure in the final months before an election. Therefore the Labour Party needs to debate Trident in 2013 if it is to do so before the 2015 General Election.

Labour CND activists need to take action to ensure Trident is fully debated at the National Policy Forum (NPF) on the 22nd June this year.

 

1. Contribute to the YourBritain website

The YourBritain website is Labour’s online policy site and submissions to the site will be considered by the NPF.

We need as many submissions sent by individual activists, branches and constituencies, as possible.

 

2. Contact members of the National Policy Forum

To contact members of the NPF’s Global Role Commission:

 

To contact your NPF regional reps:

 

3. Discuss Trident at your CLP

 

Keep Labour CND updated on your local discussions and submissions by emailing us at  info@labourcnd.org.uk.

Trident: NPF reps need your views

lobby1
Click to lobby your NPF reps.

George McManus is a member of the National Policy Forum from Yorkshire and the Humber region, and sits on it’s Global Role Commission.

Here he explains why you need to tell your NPF reps your own views on Trident replacement which will discuss Trident before Annual Conference.

 

“In recent weeks, senior Labour figures have been getting stuck into the Trident debate and the question of whether the UK should develop a new nuclear weapon system.

Des Browne, Labour’s former Defence Secretary, recently wrote in the Daily Telegraph, ‘Since 2006, important things have changed and it is time for a more honest debate about the defence choices facing the country’.

John Hutton and George Robertson hit back, writing ‘there is no magic alternative to Trident’

More recently, John Prescott, in the Sunday Mirror this week, said, ‘for David Cameron to claim that the North Korea situation proves why we must spend £20billion on a new Trident nuclear defence system is just absurd … let’s not be conned into replacing Trident, which as well as the £20 bilion price tag will cost £3 billion per year for the next 30 years to maintain.’

And former chief whip Nick Brown, wrote, ‘The answer to international uncertainty is not to buy the most powerful weapon system available and threaten all comers.’

So MPs and Peers are having their say – and they’re not all saying what you might expect. But what are the views of the party membership? How can ordinary members contribute to the debate?

Last year a meeting of the NPF’s Britain in the World Commission lots of NPF members expressed opposition to Trident replacement. But how many of you knew?

The official report said there were a variety of views and agreed that the same Commission should discuss Trident again this year.

This discussion may be hinged on the terms of the Lib Dem Trident Alternatives Review, but I think it’s important the party has a much more important debate, about whether we have nuclear weapons at all.

Being frank, my position right now is that we shouldn’t replace Trident – the UK shouldn’t have nuclear weapons.

The UK signed a deal in 1970 that we would get rid of our nuclear weapons. Both we and the Tories say we’re committed to that deal but no-one believes the Tories will carry it out.

I think we should do the right thing and stick to our promises on nuclear disarmament.

As a member of the Global Role Policy Commission, I am delighted that CLPs have been writing to me saying that there is no moral, economic or strategic case for Trident renewal.

But more importantly, I’m glad that we may now be in a position to have a mature debate about the issues. But this will only happen if you, the members, demand that such a discussion takes place.

The YourBritain website is a major step forward in facilitating this discussion and I would urge you to engage with it.

That’s why I’m delighted that Labour CND are encouraging you to write in to members of the NPF’s Global Role Commission and tell us your views on Trident.”

 

 

 

George McManus  

NPF CLP Rep Yorkshire & The Humber

Save Shaker Aamer – time is running out

Urgent Appeal – please sign the e-petition for the return of Shaker Aamer to the UK

100,000 signatures needed by May 14th

Labour CND is supporting this appeal from the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign and urges all CND members to sign this e-petition in order to put pressure on the Government to take immediate steps to demand the return of British Resident Shaker Aamer to the UK.

A decade of abuse and torture in Guantanamo

The e-petition was launched on 14th February by human rights lawyer, Gareth Pierce, and Shaker’s father-in-law on the day which marked Shaker Aamer’s ten years of unlawful imprisonment, torture and abuse in Guantanamo. Shaker Aamer is one of many victims of the US/UK Governments’ “war on terror” policy. Public protest succeeded in bringing home the other 15 UK Citizens and British residents who were abducted, tortured abroad and rendered to cruel detention without trial in Guantanamo.  However, Shaker Aamer still remains in Guantanamo, locked up in a steel cell, in solitary confinement, in absolute denial of all his human rights.

Fears for Shaker Aamer’s life

There are serious concerns for his health. He suffers constant pain from various medical conditions caused by years of inhumane and cruel treatment. He has been weakened by years on hunger strike in protest at the injustice and brutality suffered by those who remain in Guantanamo. His UK lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, who visited him in November 2011, stated that Shaker is slowly dying in Guantanamo. Shaker faces no charge or trial. He was cleared for release over five years ago.

Token gestures by the UK government

The UK Government has made several requests to the US for his release and return to the UK. But, it would seem that these may be token gestures, to conceal the intent to delay his return. Shaker’s allegations of UK complicity in his torture in the presence of M15/M16 agents are serious and embarrassing to the Government. Whilst he remains in Guantanamo, his testimony has been silenced.

The latest threat to prevent Shaker’s return to the UK

The Government’s lack of action may be linked to an alarming recent report that Shaker has been visited again by Saudi officials who attempted to coerce him into signing documents agreeing to his transfer to Saudi Arabia, a country from which he fled over 28 years ago.

Complicity by the UK government

This visit could not have taken place without the agreement of the UK Government.  If Shaker is forcibly transferred to Saudi Arabia, he will be imprisoned, tortured and permanently separated from his British wife and children and the truth of his torture will never be heard. Although Shaker refused to sign, his family believe that he may be rendered there against his will at any time.

The e-petition to the Government to take urgent action to bring Shaker home may be our last hope to save him. Time is running out, please help to bring Shaker home.

The text of the e-petition:
“Shaker Aamer is a British resident with a British wife and children who has been unlawfully imprisoned without trial by the US in Bagram Air Force Base and Guantanamo Bay for over ten years. The Foreign Secretary must undertake new initiatives to achieve the immediate transfer of Shaker Aamer to the UK from continuing indefinite detention in Guantanamo Bay.”
Created by Saeed Siddique, Shaker’s father-in-law

How you can help

  • Please sign this e-petition and encourage all your family, friends and contacts to sign it too.
  • Copy this appeal, take it to your local CND group and Labour Party, sent it to your MP, local press, community organisations and councils.
  • Join Labour CND in this campaign for a victim of NATO’s war on terror policies.

Shaker Aamer is only one of many whose lives have been destroyed by the unjust policies of the UK and US Governments. Your support for this e-petition may bring him home and give him back his life. Public protests like this can prove that the pursuit of justice can, even against the odds, defeat Government policies. We must stand up against the use of over-whelming military force, abduction, torture, indefinite detention without trial, extra-judicial assassinations by drone and nuclear threats to try to give our world a future and give peace a chance.
Joy Hurcombe

Chair, Labour CND

Trident statement: add your name

The following statement by Labour MPs was originally published on the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing, 6th August 2011, as a letter in the Guardian. Further names have since been added.

Please add your name and your Constituency Labour Party in support of the statement, in the comment section below.

We regret that the coalition has committed to Trident replacement. At a time of severe spending cuts across the public sector, there has been no critical  assessment of Trident’s role in addressing the UK’s security threats.  No case for replacing Trident has been made. The Labour Party should commit to a defence review that considers non-replacement and disarmament of Trident. We must play our role in building the momentum for international disarmament, by committing our support to a Nuclear Weapons Convention.

Anne Begg MP
Richard Burden MP
Ronnie Campbell MP
Martin Caton MP
Katy Clark MP
Michael Connarty MP
Jeremy Corbyn MP
Alex Cunningham MP
Ian Davidson MP
Jim Dobbin MP
Frank Dobson MP
Paul Flynn MP
Sheila Gilmore MP
Mary Glindon MP
Fabian Hamilton MP
Kelvin Hopkins MP
Glenda Jackson MP
Cathy Jamieson MP
John McDonnell MP
Michael Meacher MP
Graeme Morrice MP
Yasmin Qureshi MP
Joan Ruddock MP
Emily Thornberry MP

Neil Findlay MSP
Drew Smith MSP