The Tory government’s risk assessment warned that health pandemics were a major threat to Britain’s security, nuclear attack wasn’t. So why are we spending £205 billion on Trident when the NHS is chronically underfunded askes Labour CND Secretary, Ruth Brown in a recent letter to the Financial Times.
Covid19 has seen some companies in the arms industry turn their hand to socially useful production, which is what defence diversification is all about. In the UK, Airbus, BAE Systems, GKN Aerospace, Rolls Royce and Siemens UK are among the companies participating in Ventilator Challenge UK, the government consortium making ventilators.
In this short video made for Labour CND, Sam Mason of the PCS union explains that the response to this health crisis shows we can end the continuing waste of billions of pounds on the UK’s unnecessary nuclear weapons system. We need to lobby for a firm commitment from the new Labour leadership to set up a Shadow Defence Diversification Agency.
This half hour exchange with Prof Paul Rogers and Kate Hudson is one of the best and most challenging things out there on the UK government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. It takes a look behind the headlines about hard working NHS and other essential workers… and ask why they’re still unprotected, untested and undervalued three months in to the crisis.
Congratulations to Angela Rayner on her election as Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. We reproduce below her response to Labour CND’s lobby for a Minister for Peace and Disarmament:
Thank you very much for getting in touch with me about the post of Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament and the other manifesto policies. My Shadow Cabinet colleague Fabian Hamilton has done a great job as Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament and I absolutely believe that there should be a front bench spokesperson with specific responsibility for disarmament.
I can also confirm that I continue to support the commitments made in the “New Internationalism” section of the 2019 Manifesto and would want to maintain those commitments. I want a world without nuclear weapons and that’s what I want a Labour government to work towards. When the last Tory government tabled their motion to renew Trident in the House of Commons, I voted against it.
Of course, I don’t want to do to workers in shipyards and the supply chain what Thatcher did to pit towns, so any change would need to be underpinned by a plan for replacing those jobs with other skilled, well paid and unionised jobs. I would much rather we invest billions in low carbon, sustainable infrastructure, creating jobs, and building a future for our economy in exporting the means to save lives, not take them – the new, green technologies of the future. I have also made contributions during the hustings on arms sales that you might find interesting, you can watch that here.
Any candidate for Prime Minister who by contrast relishes the thought of unleashing death and destruction isn’t fit for the office. I’d rather work towards reducing the nuclear stockpile across the world because that’s the one thing that would make us all safer. We need an international commitment to disarmament and cooperation; the Tories have dismally failed to provide such leadership and the next Labour government must provide it.
Labour CND is delighted to see that the Front Bench post of Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament is to be retained under the new leadership, and will continue to be ably filled by Fabian Hamilton MP. Fabian will be working with colleagues in the Shadow Foreign and Commonwealth Office team, including Catherine West, another committed nuclear disarmamer and Vice President of London Region CND. Congratulations both.
Labour’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office team, led by Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy, comprises Wayne David (Ministter for Middle East and North Africa) Stephen Doughty (Africa, jointly with DFID) Stephen Kinnock (Asia and Pacific) Catherine West (Europe & Americas) and Fabian Hamilton (Peace and Disarmament). It is not yet known if Fabian’s post has the same brief before, which also ranges across policy areas within the defence team.
Thanks to everyone who participated in Labour CND’s online lobby in support of the Minister of Peace post.
Details of Labour’s new front bench here
Labour CND urges all nuclear disarmers, whether or not you’re members of the Labour Party, to take a minute to lobby Labour MPs and leadership candidates and let them know you want to retain the post of Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament. Set up under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, Fabian Hamilton MP has been Labour’s first ever Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament since 2016.
Co-Founder of Declassified UK Mark Curtis takes a look at how the Mininstry of Defence is planning to spend hundreds of billions on expensive military projects while our under-funded health service struggles to address the coronavirus.