Are you interested in working on party policy on nuclear weapons?

 

The Federal Policy Committee is searching for members with an interest and/or some relevant expertise in the issues around Trident and nuclear weapons to join a policy working group.

At Federal Conference in Bournemouth, Conference passed this amendment to the Trident motion:

1. Commission a Policy Working Group to develop policy on the future of Britain’s nuclear deterrent, if any, following a full consultation within the party.

2. Include within the remit of the working group consideration of:

a) A full assessment of potential strategic threats to the UK.

b) Prospects for the promotion of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament and the UK’s potential role in these efforts.

c) The implications of a non-nuclear defence posture for the UK on conventional defence capabilities and the UK’s place in the world, including its contribution to the security of Europe through NATO.

d) The scope for and implications of a scaled-down nuclear deterrent.

e) Independent costings of options.

3. Bring a policy paper back for debate at Conference within 18 months, including if necessary options for conference to decide.

The policy group will report to the Spring 2017 Conference. An email has gone out today from Christian Moon, Head of Policy for the party, asking:

We would also be grateful if you could refer members who you think would be interested or qualified to apply. The FPC would like to encourage new members, in particular, to take part.

Group members will be expected to attend regular meetings, which usually take place in London outside of working hours. We try to make dial in facilities available wherever possible.

The deadline for applications is 5.00 pm Thursday 26 November.

You can apply here.

 

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6 Comments

  • I can thing of a number of strategic challenges to the UK including:

    Climate Change (which of course threatens more than just the UK);
    ISIS (which also threatens more than the UK);
    Brexit (which threatens our role in the World and the ‘openness’ of our society); and
    The SNP who are a threat to the continued existence of the United Kingdom.

    However I cannot see how an independent nuclear deterrent helps us in countering any of these threats.

  • Richard

    I can think of many more strategic challenges (aging population, anti-biotic and anti-bacterial resistant diseases, housing shortage, energy capacity, etc.) however an independent nuclear deterrent is not intended to address them, therefore they are not a legitimate criticism of a policy on it.

    You need to start with what it is intended to do and then see if it effectively achieves that and if it could be done more effectively/cheaper. I don’t know the answer, but to even start to work it out it helps to know the question.

  • Is it correct that conference ballots are open and not secret???

  • @ PSI

    Well I was starting at the same place as conference viz “2 (a) A full assessment of strategic threats to the UK”.

    However if I was adopt your suggestion ie to start with what Trident was intended to do ie being able to kill millions of Soviet [it was designed before the break up of the Soviet Union] citizens by being able to penetrate Soviet ballistic missile defences [and to survive a “first strike” by the Soviet Union then I have no reason to doubt that it effectively achieves that.

    However I am not sure accepting the engineers verdict that it achieves this takes me any further towards knowing whether the UK should have four of these vehicles. As an analogy I might accept that the engineers behind Bloodhound SSC will be able to deliver a “car” that can travel at 1,000 mph but that does not take me any further towards knowing whether I want one.

    Anyway to recap so far on this thread we have identified eight strategic threats to the UK and none of these can be parried by Trident or its replacement.

    I may be wrong but I think Psi has identified one strategic threat to the UK [and other countries] viz bacterial diseases that are resistant to antibiotics for which no Liberal Democrat policy exists. Perhaps FPC should set up a working party to address this lack.

  • nigel hunter 10th Nov '15 - 1:06am

    There are more threats to the country than nuclear extinction ,( which surely countries will shy away from, mutual assured destruction). I propose we keep 2 tridents to fulfil our commitments and plow the money saved to provide escort ships and therefore employment opportunities to our shipyards, we are a maritime nation that needs supplies from abroad. Remember WW2. Equally ISIS is a land based enemy, therefore we need land based equipment ,men , equipment to defeat land based enemies.

  • Richard

    “Trident was intended to do ie being able to kill millions of Soviet [it was designed before the break up of the Soviet Union] citizens by being able to penetrate Soviet ballistic missile defences [and to survive a “first strike” by the Soviet Union then I have no reason to doubt that it effectively achieves that.”

    I’m not sure its supporters would describe its purpose as that (though would probably say that this was one application of that purpose). I imagine (but am speculating) they would say that it exists to provide a deterrent via providing the retaliation capability after a first strike from a foreign hostile state, and the purpose of having one now is to account for future developments in terms of states that are hostile.

    I’m not sure that even using that definition that requires a permanent deployment (occasions when military planners have been caught off guard have been when there was a lack of intelligence to see preparations). Also I am not sure that it is a deterrent against crazy folk. Any answer needs to be a bit broader than the current assumption of more of the same achieving the objective.

    However if a policy is to be credible with voters it needs to be shown to address the arguments of the side supporting more of the same, even if not to the extent that side would want (most people will be receptive that just “loads of nukes” is not particularly cost effective).

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