The Open Manifesto on Defence
“Strong defence – blah – blah”. This is all very well, but the threats Britain faces in the 21st century are very different to those faced in the 20th. Terrorism and climate change are much more pressing threats than aggression from a powerful neighbour. Usually the people droning on about the need for strong defence are either misty-eyed dreamers looking back to our imperial past, or people with an interest or stake in the military-industrial complex, wanting more and bigger toys to play with. We need a defence system that is fit for purpose – whatever that is – and that fits our budget. On the whole, we get much more security, pound for pound, from money spent on aid and conflict resolution than from money spent on boys’ toys.
The Nuclear Deterrent
We will scrap the replacement for Trident. We cannot afford it and do not really need it.
We will pursue the goals of the Non-proliferation Treaty. We will urge the United Nations and other powers to bring existing nuclear powers such as Israel, India and Pakistan into the NPT, and we will put our independent nuclear deterrent on the table in negotiations leading to widespread nuclear disarmament.
Strategic defence review
We will carry out a major strategic defence review, assessing what military capabilities we require in the light of 21st-century threats.
Defence Industrial Strategy
We will carry out an open evidence-based review of defence industrial strategy in which we will examine the costs and benefits of continuing to support a UK based, but foreign-owned, armaments sector with disproportionately costly defence procurement policies.
“Help for Heroes”
We will urgently review the provisions for service personnel following discharge from the service, particularly in the light of the disproportionate number of such people who, having heroically served their country, are later found on the wrong side of the criminal justice system.