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.

Report on fringe meeting at Scottish Labour conference

IMG_1543
Arthur West introduces Neil Findlay MSP

Labour CND held a successful fringe meeting at the Scottish Labour Party conference in Perth. The meeting took place in the Perth Art Gallery just hours after delegates from both Trade Unions and CLPs voted to put Trident on the conference agenda. Arthur West, Chair of Scottish CND, chaired the meeting.

The first speaker was Neil Findlay MSP, who was involved in the leadership election for Scottish Labour last year. Neil used his contribution to call for the widest possible coalition against Trident to be built. He noted that while the movement within the party appeared to be away from Trident, it is vital that concerns around jobs are addressed.

IMG_1544
Malcolm Chisholm MSP

The next speaker was Malcolm Chisholm MSP, who has been a long-standing opponent of Trident. Malcolm said that it is his firm view that there has never been a better chance to build a wide-ranging coalition against Trident. He said that it isn’t a left-wing issue, citing former Conservative Defence Secretary Michael Portillo and Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee Crispin Blunt. Malcolm finished by echoing Neil Findlay’s call for jobs issue to be addressed, but stated clearly “Trident is not a good job creation plan”.

IMG_1545
Elaine Smith MSP

Elaine Smith MSP started her remarks by paying tribute to the late Alan MacKinnon, who put so much work into Jeremy Corbyn’s plan for defence diversification. Elaine said that it’s her view that many people in the Labour Party are opposed to nuclear weapons but differ on the way we reach the goal. It is the duty of those who believe in a nuclear weapon free UK to make that case within the party, she said. Elaine ended her contribution by calling for those who support nuclear weapons to say who it is deterring, where they should be aimed and under what circumstances they should be fired. Not passing the motion before conference would send Scottish Labour candidates “naked into the 2016 election”, she said.

IMG_1546
Cara Hilton MSP

Cara Hilton MSP recalled her first speech at Scottish Labour conference, which was also against Trident. She said that Scottish Labour is now attracting people who haven’t been involved in politics for many years. She said that while millions of people are relying on foodbanks it would be unthinkable that we are writing a blank cheque for nuclear weapons which we could never use, citing new estimates that Trident replacement might actually cost as much as £167 billion. Cara ended her contribution by calling on Britain to set an example in the world by rejecting immoral nuclear weapons.

IMG_1548
Cathy Jamieson

Cathy Jamieson, MP for Kilmarnock and Loudoun from 2010-2015 started her remarks by saying that it wasn’t always easy to be a member of CND and on the Labour front bench. Cathy served in many front bench positions, including in the shadow Treasury team. She said that she is as committed to non-replacement of Trident as ever. Cathy called for a reinvigorated and re-energised Scottish Labour CND to emerge from the weekend. This suggestion gained a large amount of support from the audience.

IMG_1550
Lesley Brennan

The next speaker was Lesley Brennan, who stood in the 2015 General Election in Dundee East. Lesley started by saying how satisfying it was that Scottish Labour would debate Trident, as she previously spoke at the CND fringe meeting at the 2014 Labour conference in Manchester. She said that she was looking forward to Scottish Labour taking the lead in voting to move towards a future without nuclear weapons. Lesley finished by saying that, while we have to acknowledge the fact that Trident does employ people with high skills and genuine concerns about the future, for the money being spent we should be creating many more jobs.

IMG_1553
April Cumming

The final speaker of the evening was April Cumming, a Labour Party researcher and activist who recently addressed one of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership rallies in Scotland. April started her comments by paying tribute to Malcolm Chisholm, who she decsribed as a “politician of highest principle”. April called on the entire Labour movement to unite to “raise our voices to protect the high-skilled jobs involved in Trident and lead the transition to the hi-tech jobs of the future. In decribing nuclear weapons as ‘window dressing’ April said that Labour must “share the desire to stand as a moral compass with leaders of the past including Keir Hardie”.



 

Report on CND meeting at Labour conference

CQAYMD-WEAACHDQ
Delegates and media strain to hear the CND fringe

The CND, Labour CND and Labour Action for Peace fringe meeting is a firm fixture at the Labour Party Conference. This year, following delegates deciding not to put Trident on the conference agenda, the meeting was given an extra sense of urgency.

CQAWYo5WwAEcx56
Kate Hudson reads a message of solidarity from Jeremy

The meeting, which took place at the Mercure Hotel in Brighton was full long before the first speaker addressed the crowd. Delegates and party members were joined by members of the press to hear Kate Osamor MP, Julie Ward MEP, Chris Williamson (MP for Derby North 2010-2015) and Jo Rust and Simeon Elliott (both National Policy Forum). The meeting was Chaired by Kate Hudson, General Secretary of CND. There were also a host of jounralists in attendance, including several political editors and film crews from the UK and Germany. Kate Hudson started the meeting by reading out a statement from Jeremy Corbyn, who was due to speak at the meeting but was unable to attend due to his commitments as leader. The statement reaffirmed Jeremy’s position on Trident and he pledged to do his “persuasive best” to change Labour policy, for which he has a massive mandate.

CQAeG1pWIAARaQO
Kate Osamor addresses the meeting

Kate Osamor, recently elected in Edmonton, told the meeting that opposition to Trident had been a key part of Jeremy Corbyn’s platform in the Labour leadership election, and she was commited to doing everything she could to oppose spending £100 billion on a new generation of nuclear weapons.

CQAfpkqXAAAHaLS
Julie Ward MEP talking about her work

Julie Ward MEP, representing the North West of England, spoke about the work she is involved in at the European level, but also locally. Her constituency includes both Barrow, where work on the replacement submarines will take place, and Manchester, one of the UKs many nuclear-free local authorities.

Chris Williamson spoke about the need for Labour to have a coherent, consistent policy on Trident, and his conviction that changing position would be electorally beneficial. Chris also spoke about the need for defence diversification, as set out by Jeremy Corbyn in his election campaign.

Jo Rust and Simeon Elliott, both recently elected to the National Policy Forum, both spoke about the need to engage members in the policy making.

After the opening remarks from the panel there were a range of questions from the floor including on the morality of nuclear weapons, the so-called deterrent effect and ideas for what else the money would be better spent on.

Labour CND Contemporary Resolution to Conference 2015

The following Contemporary LPC1_20140926121204Resolution has been submitted by the Executive of Labour CND for consideration at Labour Party Conference in Brighton. It calls on Labour to support the scrapping of Trident, following comments from the Japanese Prime Minister at the Hiroshima commemorations.

“Labour should scrap Trident and any plans for Trident Replacement”

On August 6th at the commemoration ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing, Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan, said that he would submit new resolutions to the United Nations General Assembly in Autumn this year and to the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting to be held at Hiroshima next year, for real determination for the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

Conference notes that the estimated lifetime cost of the Trident nuclear weapons system is £100 billion; believes that this is wholly unjustified at a time of devastating cuts in public spending; believes that nuclear weapons do nothing for the security of Britain or the world; further believes that Trident replacement would breach Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Conference resolves to support the scrapping of Trident and any plans for its replacement. Conference urges all Labour MPs to vote against Trident replacement and calls on the Labour Party to prioritise practical plans to transition the highly-skilled work-force away from nuclear weapons production into more socially productive industries to protect jobs and skills and to help grow the British economy. 

Conference calls on all Labour Party members, Labour Party units and affiliates to campaign against Trident and against plans for its replacement. Conference calls for support at the UN and G7 for the new resolutions from the Prime Minister of Japan for international agreement for the total elimination of nuclear weapons world-wide.

Successful AGM

Successful AGM

Labour CND held a successful AGM on 29th November 2014 to renew our campaigning against Trident ahead of the General Election.

Parliamentarians, prospective candidates, bloggers and campaigners came together for two discussions on nuclear weapons and foreign military policy, entitled Delivering Disarmament and Ending Military Missions.

Delivering Disarmament

The first session on Trident saw prospective parliamentary candidates Catherine West (Hornsey and Wood Green) and Jane Basham (South Suffolk) joined by blogger Maya Goodfellow from LabourList.

The PPCs referenced a poll at Labour Party conference which showed 51% of Labour candidates would disarm Trident, while the growing list of senior party members rethinking policy, including John Prescott and Des Browne were highlighted.

Discussion focused on using the momentum from the national policy forum to encourage candidates to express their support for disarmament ahead of the election, and how to prepare the way for an end to the Trident replacement programme under a Labour government.  

The conference welcomed the Labour frontbench support for the Vienna conference on humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons but urged the leadership to commit to a nuclear weapons convention or ban on nuclear weapons as part of a commitment to scrap Trident.

Ending Military Missions

The second session on foreign interventions saw parliamentarians Diane Abbott MP and newly-elected Julie Ward MEP joined by writer Owen Jones and campaigner Carol Turner.

The focus was on the failure of the UK’s military interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya over the past decade and the significance of Ed Miliband’s role in preventing a further bombing campaign in Syria in 2013 as a potential turning point in Labour foreign policy.

AGM

The AGM saw a new enlarged executive committee elected, including representation from Scotland and across the country.

Labour CND Discussion and AGM

A Labour Government can’t afford Trident

Labour CND discussion and AGM

11am – 4pm
Saturday 9th March
Birkbeck College, Malet St, London

Join us in discussing how we ensure Labour acts on its commitment to nuclear disarmament and secure a commitment to rejecting Trident replacement at the 2015 election.

 

Agenda

11am
Registration

11.30am – 11.45am
Marian Hobbs, former New Zealand Labour Disarmament Minister

11.45am – 1.15pm
A Labour Government can’t afford Trident

  • Owen Jones, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Annabelle Harle (NPF rep, Wales), Cllr Alice Perry (Islington and NPF rep, London) and Cllr Kate Taylor (Plymouth).

 

2pm – 3pm
A conversation with Walter Wolfgang

  • After the recent publication of a biographical pamphlet, Carol Turner interviews Walter Wolfgang on his campaigning life.
  • You can buy the pamphlet here.

 

3.15pm – 3.30pm
Clive Lewis, PPC for Norwich South, on the 2015 manifesto

 

3.30pm – 4pm
Labour CND AGM

  • Labour CND members are welcome to submit motions in an individual capacity (deadline of 22nd February).
  • We are keen to expand our executive committee. If you would like to join, please email expressions of interest.
  • Email address regarding motions and joining the executive committee is info@labourcnd.org.uk

 

* Discussion sessions are open to all.
* AGM open to Labour CND members. If you hold Labour Party and CND memberships you are a member of Labour CND and entitled to vote at its AGM.