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

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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