Report back from Labour’s annual conference

Fabian Hamilton, Shadow Minister for Peace & Disarmament, hosted Labour CND’s report back in parliament in October, and took the opportunity to outline his vision of a Peace Doctrine for Labour.

He made clear his support for signing the UN nuclear ban treaty, so the UK ‘will become a voice for eradicating nuclear weapons’. Walter Wolfgang described the 2018 conference was the most positive since the 1970s. But Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP urged us to carry on pushing for the positive change we want to see.

CND conference backs Defence Diversification Agency

 

A resolution from Labour CND together with Yorkshire and London CND was passed with acclaim at CND’s annual policy conference – committing CND to promote trade union and trades council affiliations and encourage relationships between CND groups and trade unions. Bristol CND who hosted the weekend did us proud – providing a beautiful building to meet in and a terrific open meeting focused on the centenary of World War I armistice.

Read the resolution here. 

Still buzzing from Labour Party Conference

Hello.  My name’s Karen Robinson.  I’m a new member of the Labour CND Executive Committee.  I’ve just got back from Labour Party Conference.  It was an exhilarating and inspiring five days, my third annual conference since re-joining Labour in late 2015.  I re-joined, as so many did, after Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader.

I was very active in the peace movement in the 1980’s, including taking part in many nonviolent protests against nuclear weapons. I had heard Jeremy speak at countless CND demonstrations over the decades, and was absolutely delighted when he was elected.  I watched the interview when he was asked if, as prime minister, he would press the button to launch a nuclear weapon.  His answer was a simple and very powerful ‘No’.  He received ferocious criticism.  It was then I decided to re-join.

Over the three conferences I have listened and learned, as a remarkable process of democratisation and adoption of progressive policies has unfurled.  This time I leafletted for Labour CND, helped out on the CND stall and supported a fringe meeting on defence diversification.  It was a really positive experience giving out Labour CND literature as delegates arrived at conference.  Many paused as they took in the words ‘Labour CND’, maybe because it had been a while since they’d heard the name ‘CND’, and then their faces lit up.  They were really happy we were there, and keen to keep in contact.  I think there’s huge scope for giving out even more leaflets next conference!

Corbyn ‘proud to present Walter Wolfgang’ with award

Jeremy Corbyn posted this video and comments after he visited Labour CND Vice President Walter Wolfgang in his home to hand over in person a Labour Party merit award.

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.

Our Democracy Review submission

Labour CND has made a submission to the Labour Party Democracy Review.

Overview:

How party democracy helps get a Labour government elected

A Labour government will only be voted into office if the electorate is convinced that the party’s commitments – on international as well as domestic policies – are equitable, fair and in the interests of society as a whole, not simply the few elites who exercise political, economic and social power.

In the last analysis, it’s policies that win elections. We believe that the most effective way of ensuring Labour hits the spot with the electorate is by:

  • electing a party leader who respects our members, and is prepared to listen to and reflect our views, recognising that half a million people provide a significant cross-section of opinion in British society as a whole;
  • greater involvement of members in deciding the policies contained in Labour’s manifesto;
  • ensuring CLPs and affiliates have clear and fair access to local, regional and national policy-making; and
  • integrating party members into policy-making structures at all levels.

Over a number of years differences of opinion within the party have been actively discouraged in the mistaken assumption that uniformity of view equates to unity of purpose. It does not. Debate is positive, not divisive. It guarantees issues are properly aired so that sound policy decisions can be reached.

Download full text:

LabCND democracy review submission

CND statement on Syria bombing

CND strongly condemn these air strikes on Syria, which are in defiance of international law. They will only increase the likelihood of this terrible conflict spilling over into the wider Middle East and potentially beyond that.

We also condemn Theresa May’s decision to bypass parliament which demonstrates a contempt for the necessary democratic process. She has also disregarded public opinion in launching these strikes; polls indicate that only 22% of the population support this bombing campaign.

CND works for the prevention and cessation of wars in which nuclear weapons may be used and there can be no clearer example of such a situation than that which we are currently facing. Diplomatic and political solutions must be sought. Nuclear escalation poses consequences too terrible to contemplate.