Alan Bennett on Walter Wolfgang

In one of his diary entries in Keeping On Keeping On, Alan Bennett’s third prose collection, he writes:

2005, 29 September.
Among several things that the ejection and charging of Mr Walter Wolfgang from the Labour Party Conference demonstrates is the danger of endowing the police with any more powers than they have already. For shouting out ‘Liar’ he is charged under the Terrorism Act. The silencing of hecklers was hardly the act’s original purpose but it is just the handiest blunt instrument available. This should be remembered in the next session of Parliament, when the  police are asking for yet more powers – three months’ detention for instance – which at the same time solemnly assuring the public that they will only use such powers when the occasion demands it. This is a promise soon forgotten. If they have the powers they will use them – young Muslim or Jewish old-age pension it makes no difference. ‘You’re nicked.’

Keeping On Keeping On, Profile Books, 2016, £9.99 paperback

National Policy Forum members

Congratulations to Labour CND members who became CLP reps in the recent NPF elections:

Congratulations to Labour CND members who became CLP reps in the recent NPF elections: Co-Chair Carol Turner, representing London, Secretary Carol Wilcox, representing SW, and George Downs, re-elected to the NW youth place. Congrats too to Tom Unterrainer, East Midlands, who sits on CND’s Trade Union Advisory Group.

Full results here.

Walter Wolfgang honoured

Congratulations to Labour CND’s Walter Wolfgang who became one of the Stop the War Patrons at the STW’s 2018 annual meeting: ‘We can win. We shall overcome. Thank you for this huge honour.’

Labour and Trident: do jobs justify making nuclear weapons?

– CND event at The World Transformed

Whenever Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system comes up for debate, a huge row breaks out in the Labour Party. Many members want it scrapped. Some want it for ‘status’ reasons. Others say it should be kept because there are jobs involved. The debate about how many jobs, for how much, and what could be made instead, is still raging. This is a major issue in the movement, but it regularly hits a brick wall. How can this be resolved? Come and hear from those centrally involved and put your own views into the discussion, at this CND meeting at The World Transformed festival, running alongside the Labour Party Conference.

Continue reading “Labour and Trident: do jobs justify making nuclear weapons?”

Contemporary motions

Contemporary motions are one of the few opportunities members have to influence conference agenda and the party’s policy making. We encourage you to submit a motion on behalf on Labour CND to help push nuclear disarmament higher on the agenda!

We have two suggestions this year: support for a Shadow Defence Diversification Agency – an urgent next step on the road to winning trade union support for scrapping Trident; and Reducing the risks of nuclear confrontation which calls for a Labour government to sign up to the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Reducing nuclear risks contemporary motion

Defence Diversification contemporary motion

Every CLP has the right to submit one contemporary motion of no more than 250 words, provided it hasn’t already submitted a rule change resolution in 2018. Motions must be sent to Labour HQ in time for the DEADLINE of noon on 13 September.

They must refer to an event that takes place after the publication of the National Policy Forum report in early August – any motion without a contemporary reference will be ruled out of order.

If you submit a Labour CND motion, please let us know by emailing labourcnd@gmail.com.

Nuclear Education Trust launches Defence Diversification report

‘Employment in the UK arms industry has been in decline for several decades and is likely to continue,’ said Barnaby Pace, at the parliamentary launch of a Nuclear Education Trust report he authored, Defence Diversification: International learning for Trident jobs.

This decline is ‘due to the increasingly capital intensive nature of the work carried out in the UK, as well as automation, globalised supply chains, limited increases in defence spending and a highly competitive arms export market.’

Despite the 2016 vote to replace Trident, ‘uncertainties remain over the future of the programme’, Pace asserted – its affordability, technical feasibility, and the possibility that it will be scaled back or wound down in the event of a change of government.

The meeting, hosted by Labour’s Shadow Defence and Disarmament Minister Fabian Hamilton, included presentations by Paul Nowak, TUC Deputy General Secretary and Chris Williamson MP, and was followed by a round-table discussion.

Stop the War’s 2018 annual meeting

Labour CND was a prominent participant in Stop the War’s annual meeting on Saturday 1 September. Vice President Walter Wolfgang and Co-Chair Carol Turner (second and third right) joined a pack auditorium for the opening session which included Kensington MP Emma Dent Coad, pictured here at the rostrum, and CND General Secretary Kate Hudson.

A motion from Labour CND identified the increased risks nuclear confrontation since President Trump took office, highlighting the nuclear expansion heralded by the recently published US National Security Assessment and Nuclear Posture Review. It called for closer work between STW, CND and Labour CND to bring these issues to public attention. In Kate Hudson took up this theme in her opening speech to conference and urged the audience to call time on the special US-UK relationship.

NET report gets a mention from TUC General Council

TUC Deputy General Secretary Paul Nowak’s attendance at the Nuclear Education Trust’s recent launch of a report on defence diversification is highlighted in the General Council’s report to the 2018 Congress which takes place in Manchester, 9-12 September.

The report says:

‘In line with resolution 17, which called on the TUC to lobby the Labour Party to establish a shadow defence diversification agency, the TUC has met regularly with unions with an industrial interest in the sector, and with the Labour Party.

‘We have made the case for the development of a long-term strategy for defence jobs that can respond to future changes in government policy, within the context of a broad industrial strategy aimed at delivering good-quality jobs across the UK.

‘Paul Nowak, deputy general secretary of the TUC, spoke at the launch of a report on defence diversification by the Nuclear Education Trust to stress the importance of engaging workers in the defence industry in discussions about the future of the sector.

‘The TUC also welcomed the commitment by the Labour Party to build the next generation of Royal Navy ships in the UK, in order to ensure that UK government defence spending supports jobs and skills within the UK.’

TUC, Unite backs Corbyn’s Defence Diversification Agency

The defence industry is increasingly automated, and skilled employment is in long-term decline. No surprise then to learn trade union attitudes to defence diversification are finally shifting.

In his 2015 leadership campaign Jeremy Corbyn ‘set out a clear commitment to establishing a Defence Diversification Agency’ (DDA) so that ‘engineering and scientific skills are transferred into more socially productive industries’ should a decision be taken to decommission the Trident nuclear weapons system.

Two years later, at its 2017 Congress, the TUC backed a DDA. Motion 17 recalled the ground-breaking plan for socially useful work pioneered by the Lucas Aerospace workers in 1976, and agreed to ‘lobby the Labour Party to establish before the next general election a ‘shadow’ Defence Diversification Agency, to work closely with the Shadow Department for Industry in developing an overall national industrial strategy including the possibility of conversion of ‘defence’ capacity’.

In July 2018, Unite took a step forward when the 2018 policy conference backed Executive Statement 1 which welcomed the ‘renewed focus Jeremy Corbyn has placed on defence diversification, in the context of the priority he rightly places on world disarmament’. Whilst reiterating the union’s first priority remains the protection of members jobs, the statement calls for ‘a serious government approach to defence diversification’ and ‘urges the Labour Party to give the highest priority to this on taking office’.

Last chance to vote for #JC9

Balloting for Labour’s National Executive Committee and National Policy Forum elections ends on Thursday 30 August. If you’ve not done so already, cast your votes now for the teams Jeremy Corbyn needs to support his peace and anti-war policies.

VOTE FOR #JC9 TEAM on Labour’s NEC