18 Aug 2010
August 18, 2010

Labour and Defence


I’ve written a piece for Labour Uncut today on Labour’s travails on Defence and Foreign Affairs.  In it, I argue that Labour’s leadership candidates should commit themselves to a Defence review which includes Trident.  I’ve had a few emails and Tweets already which argue that Labour shouldn’t revisit Trident as we had a vote in parliament in 2007.  So, we had one view on a policy in the past while in government and regardless of what may have changed since then we should never contemplate taking a different view? So much for a brave new future.  But folk who put the case for avoiding the trickinesses of Trident are generally not thinking beyond the supposed industrial implications; they are not really thinking of Defence at all.  That is to say, we build the boats at Barrow-in-Furness and jobs may be threatened; to them the true questions of strategic interest are irrelevant.

If Labour is left exposed as nakedly using a ‘jobs’ argument to justify the possession of nuclear weapons then we’re screwed – beyond credibility for a generation.  Yet jobs are important. Better then, surely, for those who are minded to replace Trident to read up a little of Defence economics and perhaps wider Defence issues and defend the case for Trident in the context of our own defence review?