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.

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!

Labour CND submission to Defence Review

The Labour Party Defence Policy Review undertaken by Emily Thornberry has now closed. However the consultation by the International Policy Commission remains open until 8 June.

If you’ve send a response to the Defence Policy Review, we ask you to send it to the IPC too; if not, we urge you to make a short submission.

You do not need to be a member of the Labour Party to take part. You are, however, required to register and log in to do so. You can read the IPC consultation details by clicking here.

Please share these details to ensure the maximum level of participation in this important review.

Continue reading “Labour CND submission to Defence Review”

Labour’s Defence Policy Review – ACT NOW

The Labour Party is reviewing its defence policy, including Trident. Everyone is eligible to participate in this review by making their views known to Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary Emily Thornberry, before the 30th April deadline.

Individuals and organisations can participate. You don’t have to be a Labour Party member or affiliate to do so. Submissions opposing Trident replacement can help influence the eventual outcome of Labour’s deliberations, and I urge you to consider making your views, and those of organisations you belong to, known. The advice below will, I hope, help you to do so.

WHO CAN PARTICIPATE?

Any individual or organisation, whether or not they’re a Labour Party member or affiliate. Shadow Secretary of State for Defence, Emily Thornberry, the author of the policy review document says: ‘We want to seek the widest possible range of views, spanning academia, the defence industry, NGOs, parliamentarians, the public and, of course, members of the armed forces themselves.’

IS THERE A PARTICULAR FORMAT?

You can express your opinion in whatever way you find easiest. The Defence Policy Review document (attached) sets out Ms Thornberry’s terms of reference expressed as a series of questions which you might consider addressing.

The one about Trident is: ‘Will renewal of Britain?s nuclear capability aid us in protecting Britain?s security and pursuing the values that guide our foreign and defence policy?’

Ms Thornberry begins by explaining that the nature of the threats facing Britain has changed in the past 50 years, and outlining the overall context of Labour’s review with questions such as: ‘What role should Britain play in building a world that is more peaceful, more just and safer?’ and ‘What should be the values and principles that drive Britain’s strategic defence policy?’

HOW MUCH SHOULD I WRITE?

You don’t have to produce a magnum opus or a details scientific tract -?a paragraph or two will do. Say what you think of Trident and give a couple of reasons why. There’s an example below, use it as encouragement. But please don’t copy it -?large numbers of identical submissions won’t be effective.

I oppose the replacement of Trident because nuclear weapons cause indiscriminate harm to the planet and its people. Their possession by countries such as Britain encourages proliferation by others who don?t have nuclear weapons. Replacing Trident doesn?t protect us from the main risks facing this country such as terrorism, cyber-attack, or the effects of climate change like floods and storms. Trident is extremely expensive, costing an estimated ?100 billion over its lifetime. The money could be better used for socially productive and wealth-generating projects, which would help create more money for the government to spend on health, education and social services.

ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO PARTICIPATE

If you’re a member of a CND group, trade union branch or local Trades Council, or community campaign, please encourage them to take a view on Trident and send it to Labour’s Defence Review with a brief explanation of what the organisation is and how Trident replacement affects its members. For example: My housing association is opposed to Trident replacement because… and would prefer the money to be spent on improving existing social housing and on providing more affordable new homes.

SUBMISSIONS FROM BRANCH AND CONSTITUENCY LABOUR PARTIES

It?s important that as many individual party members as possible send their views to Ms Thornberry. This helps to give a true reflection of party opinion. If your Labour Party branch and/or constituency has adopted a policy against Trident replacement, send a copy of the resolution to the Defence Review, with a few comments about the views members expressed.

Many branch and constituency parties aren?t meeting in April because of elections. If your party has adopted a policy against Trident replacement in the past few years, send that to the Defence Policy Review with an explanation that the elections have prevented a contemporary discussion in time for the Defence Review deadline.

WHERE TO SEND YOUR VIEWS
Your submission should be emailed to defencereview@labour.org.uk If you don’t have email access, mail it to The Labour Party, Southside, 105 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6QT

RESOURCES
– A copy of Labour?s Defence Policy Review can be downloaded through the through the Labour CND website
– Labour CND has produced a Trident Fact File which can provide some information you need to draft a submission.
CND UK website has a number of briefings you can use to dig out pertinent information.

Good luck, and thank you for your efforts,
Carol Turner
Vice Chair, Labour CND

Labour’s defence review

Dear Labour Party Member,

HELP GET A LABOUR PARTY COMMITMENT NOT TO REPLACE TRIDENT

Emily Thornberry, Shadow Defence Secretary has published her terms of reference for Labour?s defence policy review (attached), asking individual members and local parties to send submissions before 30 April 2016. Labour CND urges you to make your opposition to Trident known, and to encourage your branch and constituency to do? likewise.

Emily points to the changed nature of security threats facing Britain today, and asks ?what role should Britain play in building a world that is more peaceful, more just and safer?.

Her key question on Trident is: Will renewal of Britain?s nuclear capability aid us in protecting Britain?s security and pursuing the values that guide our foreign and defence policy?

Branch and Constituency Submissions

Please ensure that your CLP passes a resolution demanding that the Trident missile system should not be replaced, and sends it to the Defence Policy Review. You are the best judge of how to maximise support for such a resolution. But consider keeping it as short as possible, and if you need suggestions, please get in touch with Labour CND.

If your CLP has already made decisions on defence and security policy, ask that these are communicated to the Review. This should be done even if previous submissions have been made to the National Policy Forum.

Individual Submissions

You should make an individual submission too, and encourage others to do so. Your submission can go into as much or as little detail as you like. We attach our Trident Fact File which may be of help. All submissions must be sent to defencereview@labour.org.uk to arrive before 30 April 2016.

Labour must take the lead in getting rid of Trident. We depend on you.

Yours in peace and socialism,
Walter Wolfgang

Chair Labour CND

Labour CND Trident Fact File

After a very successful conference at the end of January, Labour CND is pleased to publish a Trident Fact File, which you will find useful when preparing to discuss Trident at local party meetings.

Trident FACT FILE

Alternatively if you would like a Labour CND speaker to come to your meeting please do get in touch with us.

CLPs say no to Trident

In recent months a number of CLPs have held discussions on Trident ahead of the policy review which will be undertaken by the Labour Party this year. You can see a selection of the motions which have been passed.

If your CLP would like a Labour CND speaker for a meeting on Trident, or if a motion is passed, please let us know by emailing info@labourcnd.org

East Devon CLP

East Devon Constituency Labour Party is opposed to the renewal of Trident

Richmond Park CLP

This CLP is in favour of scrapping the Trident Missile System and not replacing it

Tamworth CLP

This CLP believes that the Labour Party should oppose the replacement of the Trident nuclear missile system

Brent Central CLP

This meeting agrees that Trident should not be renewed

Birkenhead CLP

We call upon the next Labour government to scrap Trident due to the high cost, and the danger of maintaining it.

Littleborough & Lakeside Branch (part of Rochdale CLP)

This meeting notes that the projected replacement of the Trident Nuclear Missile system:

  1. Is set to cost ?167, 000, 000,000 at a time when Conservative austerity measures are depriving our local authority of the resources to pay for much needed and valued services,
  2. Will not address the real security challenges to this country such as climate change, terrorism or cyber attacks,
  3. Is a first strike, not defensive, weapon of mass destruction, incapable of distinguishing between civilian and military targets and whose effects will devastate this country as well as any enemy against which it is used,
  4. Is neither independent from the US nor a deterrent to warfare and serves only to maintain the illusion of power,
  5. Is illegal in that its effects are genocidal and therefore it contravenes the Geneva Convention. Renewing it would breach our commitment to the Non-Proliferation Treaty which the UK has signed and ratified.

This meeting resolves therefore to declare its opposition to the renewal of the Trident system and calls on the government to dedicate some of the resources saved by cancelling its renewal to be used to stimulate employment opportunities for those who would lose their jobs.

The meeting also calls on the Rochdale Constituency Labour Party to endorse this resolution and to recommend that it is adopted by the Party as part of its review of the national defence policy.

Hackney North and Stoke Newington CLP

This General Meeting notes:

  1. The current Government’s commitment to replace the existing Trident nuclear weapons system at a cost conservatively estimated at ?100 billion over a period of more than four decades. Indeed, the Tory chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Crispin Blunt MP, has suggested a figure exceeding ?165 billion.
  2. The likelihood of a parliamentary vote in 2016 on authorisation of a Trident replacement.
  3. The demonstration called by Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and numerous civil society organisations for Saturday 27 February 2016 in opposition to Trident renewal.

This General Meeting believes:

  1. Trident and similar ‘weapons of mass destruction’ do nothing to enhance the security of the population resident in Britain, especially in a post-Cold War world.
  2. The expenditure of billions of pounds on a new, extraordinarily expensive weapons system is especially objectionable against a background of remorseless cuts in social welfare spending and most other areas of public expenditure.
  3. The campaign pledge from Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn to develop a Defence Diversification Agency policy to ensure socially useful, skilled employment for those workers in industries currently tied into the production of nuclear weapons and delivery system.

This General Meeting therefore resolves to publicise the 27 February demonstration to members and make sure the Hackney North CLP banner is present on the march; and copy this motion to our MP and the National Executive Committee.

Hackney North and Stoke Newington CLP

The General Meeting is against the renewal of the Trident system as it is not a deterrent; and because it makes no moral, practical or economic sense.