A Minister for Peace and Disarmament

Wednesday 11th October, 6.30pm to 8.00pm
Wilson Room, Portcullis House, Victoria Embankment, SW1A 2JR

with

Fabian Hamilton MP, Labour Shadow Peace and Disarmament Minister
Christine Shawcroft, Labour Party National Executive Committee
Daniel Blaney, Labour CND

Fifty three countries signed the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on 20 September, the first day it opened for signature. But the UK government has refused ever to sign it. Labour’s manifesto promises to create a Minister for Peace and Disarmament, part of its commitment to reducing human suffering caused by war by focussing on protecting civilians, conflict prevention and resolution, and peace-building, London CND asks if and how these policies can reshape the war culture of past decades.

All welcome

 

CND at Labour Party conference

If you’re visiting Brighton be sure to say hello to CND. We have a stall there and are holding a fringe meeting on Sunday evening, details below. 

TOWARDS A NUCLEAR FREE WORLD

Cancel Trident replacement, support the nuclear ban treaty

Sunday 24 September 6pm to 7.30pm
St Paul’s Church, West Street, Brighton
(5 minutes from the Conference Centre)

with…

Diane Abbott MP
Shadow Home Secretary

 

 

 

Fabian Hamilton MP
Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament

 

 

Christine Blower
International Sec, National Education Union

Christine Shawcroft
Labour NEC

 

 

and

George Downs
National Policy Forum

http://www.cnduk.org/get-involved/events/item/3544-cnd-fringe-meeting-at-labour-party-conference

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”

For a Labour victory

Labour CND activists are working flat out for the election of a Labour government on 8 June.  We are certain that securing a government led by Jeremy Corbyn is the most urgent task for all those of us campaigning for peace and nuclear disarmament and against unjust wars. Under Corbyn, Labour will no longer be the party of the Iraq War.

Labour’s manifesto commitments include:

  • putting conflict resolution and human rights at the heart of foreign policy
  • backing effective action to alleviate the refugee crisis
  • working through the UN
  • supporting reform to make UN institutions more effective and responsive
  • ending support for unilateral aggressive wars of intervention
  • a comprehensive peace in the Middle East, and
  • the creation of a Minister for Peace and Disarmament.

The manifesto recognises the UK’s ‘responsibility to fulfil our obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty’. And it pledges Labour to ‘lead multilateral efforts with international partners and the UN to create a nuclear-free world’.

Labour’s vision stands in sharp contrast to the outgoing Tory government’s boycott of UN negotiations for a treaty to ban nuclear weapons in March. Talks reconvene on 15 June, a week after the election.

The manifesto affirms that a Labour government will undertake ‘a complete strategic defence and security review when it comes into office, to assess the emerging threats facing Britain, including hybrid and cyber warfare’. The recent cyber attack on the NHS has demonstrated that Labour is right to focus on the real security threats facing Britain.

It comes as no surprise that the manifesto supports the renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system, wrongly referring to it as a ‘deterrent’.

Corbyn has acknowledged an in-coming Labour government’s commitment to Trident. He has also emphasised his commitment to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and support for a global nuclear ban, consistent with his personal opposition to all nuclear weapons and reflected in his vote against replacing Trident on a free vote in the last parliament.

Labour CND remains opposed to all nuclear weapons, including Britain’s. We strongly support Labour’s commitment to a nuclear free world. Equally, we will continue to take every opportunity and use every avenue to campaign against Trident replacement which we believe is an important component part in achieving such a world.

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 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 Conference 2016

Labour CND is pleased to announced our 2016 conference will take in London in January. Full details can be found below:

Labour, Trident and Foreign Policy

Saturday 30th January 2016 – Registration opens 10:00

Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London

Sessions on the day include:

Trade Unions and Trident (Chaired by Maya Goodfellow)
Mark Serwotka – General Secretary PCS
Roger McKenzie – Assistant General Secretary Unison
Philipa Harvey – President NUT

Campaigning on Trident (Chaired by Maya Goodfellow)
Ruth Cadbury MP
Nick Brown MP

Trident and the Labour Party
Clive Lewis MP
Kate Osamor MP
Kate Hudson – CND General Secretary

Foreign Policy
Diane Abbott – Shadow Secretary of State for International Development
Catherine West – Shadow Foreign Office Minister

MORE SPEAKERS TO BE CONFIRMED

Due to the costs associated with the conference it is strictly ticket only. Tickets can be purchased through Eventbrite for £3 plus fees or on the door for £5.

The conference will conclude at 17:00 and will be followed by a short Labour CND AGM.

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.

Scottish Labour – delegate view

Stephen Low, Glasgow Southside CLP, who moved the anti-Trident motion at Scottish Labour Party conference writes:

The debate on Trident  renewal  at Scottish Conference was passionate and delivered an unequivocal  verdict. With a near identical 70% vote from both CLPs and Trade Unions the UK’s possession of nuclear weapons was condemned and the concept of defence diversification was promoted. Hav ing been passed by more than a 2/3 majority it is now part of the Scottish Labour’s programme and will form the submission of the Scottish Labour Party to the Britain in the World Policy forum.

The debate stemmed from the results of a priorities ballot where Trident renewal was by some measure the most popular topic.   Although this decision by CLP delegates was itself  described  in the session as “”a nonsense and utter indulgence””  by Gary Smith,  Secretary of GMB Scotland.

The first indication that the vote might well go against Trident renewal was when a reference to Jeremy Corbyn’s statement that he would never launch a nuclear strike received loud applause from the hall.   

Those arguing for the motion cited a large number of factors; the morality of weapons which would kill so indiscriminately, the lack of utility in Trident a new Trident system in tackling the requirements under the Non Proliferation Treaty, the staggering cost and the loss of potential to diversify our industrial base if we are keeping so much of our industrial workforce locked into what is in many respects  an economic dead end.

 What was noticeable in the arguments of those who were advocating building what is one of the most destructive weapons system s in human history was how little they talked about the  defence of the realm. Even the few, like  ex MP Thomas Docherty and MSP Jackie Baillie who gave more thn passing reference to the role a new trident system would supposedly play in securing the UK  concentrated in what they claimed would be the impact on jobs.

Without Trident renewal it seems that British manufacturing will just collapse. This argument was pursued to such an extent that in my right of reply.  I felt obliged to apologise to conference for failing to notice the change in construction techniques which mean that the only possible use for British steel is in the construction of nuclear weapons.

The “Gie’s mair bombs – cos bombs means jobs” approach – and  this is a paraphrase, not a cariacature  – of the argument laid out,  is both curious and dispiriting. The purpose of a defence policy is in fact defence, not job creation. Incidentally Trident renewal  scores very poorly in terms of job creation. The likelihood is that it will force cutbacks in other defence spending). Moreover it represents an appalling failure of social and economic ambition.  It’s implication is that the only employment that can be envisaged  for  our most skilled craftspeople, our most highly trained technicians,  is in making nuclear weapons. That defence diversification is something that only other countries can make work.

 By a thumping majority, Scottish Labour decided otherwise.