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									                          Trident We Don’t Buy It
                              Political Update
From: Louise Edge, Peace Campaigner
To: Campaign Groups / Networks
April 2010

Overview: Over the last month we hope you have been able to organise a
number of local Trident polls, getting good pictures of people using the posters as
sandwich boards, press releasing the results and posting the story up on

In April we would like you to organise presentations
to local parliamentary candidates, and to issue a 2nd
press release. We hope you are now working
towards those presentations, and media work.

Greenpeace has been inviting supporters to email
their local candidates and we have been collecting
together their responses here:

This has produced some very useful intelligence
as to what each party has briefed those candidates
to say. We hope this analysis will help you in your
meetings with those candidates.

For more details please see the full campaign
briefing here:

Political Update

This is a summary of what the different party candidates are saying about Trident
replacement. We’ve also outlined the key questions we would like you to ask
your candidates when you meet them to present your poll results.

Before meeting your candidates please re-read the Q and A from the main
briefing (as above). This will help you deal with any pro Trident replacement
arguments from candidates. From the Tories and Labour these are likely to

      Nuclear weapons cannot be un-invented;
      Nuclear weapons remain indispensable for our country's national security
      I am very much committed to multi lateral nuclear disarmament. Unilateral
       disarmament will not encourage other states to disarm.
      The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) commits states to a world free
       of nuclear weapons. Achieving it will be very hard. But the NPT is ‘the right
       tool to achieve that end’- this should be our focus.
      With 1% of the world's inventory of nuclear weapons we have a 'minimum'
       deterrent. We have reduced our nuclear arsenal significantly over past
       decades and are the only member of the Security Council whose nuclear
       weapons are based on just one platform.
      Iran is a major emerging nuclear threat, we live in an uncertain world.

The key objective is to pressure all parties to include a full re-appraisal of
the decision to replace Trident within the upcoming strategic defence

Trident was excluded from the last defence review in 1998 and Labour and the
Conservatives clearly want it excluded from this one.

If you have a copy of In the Firing Line then it would be useful to take it along to
the presentations in case candidates query the £97bn figure.

Please log and feedback each of those meetings using survey monkey here:

Conservative party responses

The Tories National Security ‘Green Paper’ describes ‘maintenance of the
nuclear deterrent’ as one of the ‘foundations’ of their defence policy. It implies
that ‘the deterrent’ will not be questioned within their defence and security review.
They also claim, that they will lead internationally on ‘countering weapons

Tory candidates are generally saying they understand our concerns about the
exclusion of the question of the British nuclear deterrent from the strategic
defence review. They then go on to say how they will hold a defence and security
review later this year, how comprehensive it will be and that they will then hold a
regular five yearly review BUT they DON’T say Trident will be included in their
review! They then go on to say how important it is to ‘maintain, update and
replace our independent nuclear deterrent’.

       Key questions:

Ask them why Trident is being excluded from a full review of Britain’s defence
and security – how does that make sense at a time when we have a huge debt,
the defence budget has a £35bn black hole and senior military figures are
questioning the strategic need for trident replacement.

Ask them to contact their party HQ and ask for them for a commitment that
Trident will be included in the defence review, or a clear explanation of why it is
being excluded. It’s important that we tell them we want to clarify that the review
will address all the alternatives to like for like replacement of Trident including
reducing our nuclear arsenal, adjusting our nuclear posture and eliminating our
nuclear weapons. Ask them to get back to you with a response.

       Other key points to make…

With an estimated lifetime cost of £97bn, replacing Trident will be one of the most
expensive weapons programmes this country has ever seen. Going ahead with it
will clearly have long-term consequences for the military, which need to be

The debate has shifted significantly since the 2007 parliamentary decision to
proceed with replacing Trident. For instance there have been very promising
developments in the multilateral disarmament process led by President Obama
and the Global Zero initiative, including the new START Treaty between the US
and Russia. Serious concerns have also been raised by members of the services
and defence analysts about the strategic value of nuclear weapons and their
relevance to modern warfare. Fundamental questions about how and against
whom, our nuclear weapons act as a deterrent need to be answered.

Any comprehensive review needs to take into account these points and
thoroughly examine all the options. It needs to answer the question: Is the UK’s
security best served by going ahead with business as usual, reducing our nuclear
arsenal, adjusting our nuclear posture or eliminating our nuclear weapons?

       A couple of Tory candidates have come back saying that Trident
       WILL be included in the defence and security review.

We need to tell them that other conservative candidates have indicated that
Trident is EXCLUDED from the strategic defence review. And that you want them
to confirm with the party leadership that a full appraisal of Trident replacement is
included in the review.

It’s important that we tell them we want to clarify that the review will address all
the alternatives to like for like replacement of Trident including reducing our
nuclear arsenal, adjusting our nuclear posture and eliminating our nuclear
If they query the idea that Trident is excluded then you can cite statements by
shadow defence Liam Fox which suggest that it is. See

Labour party responses
Current Labour Party policy is that Trident should be replaced, though possibly
with less submarines/missile tubes/warheads. And that Trident and any
consideration of this decision will be excluded from their defence review.

Strangely, given party policy, most Labour candidates who have responded to us
so far are saying they don’t want Trident replaced! This may well change.

       Key questions to ask:

If you are presenting to a candidate who opposes Trident replacement then thank
them but point out that their party is currently planning to go ahead with Trident
replacement and excluding it from their planned strategic defence review.

Please ask them to clarify if the review will address all the alternatives to like for
like replacement of Trident including reducing our nuclear arsenal, adjusting our
nuclear posture and eliminating our nuclear weapons.

If your candidate is pro replacement then please use the Tory arguments (as

Liberal Democrat responses

Liberal Democrat candidates are either saying that they will scrap Trident
replacement or that they will review the decision and won’t do ‘like for like’
replacement. This ambiguity is also reflected at party leadership level.

       Key questions to ask:

Can they clarify whether they would just drop the idea of Trident replacement or
review the question within the defence review?

Can they clarify what alternatives to ‘like for like’ replacement of Trident they, if
elected, would pursue?

Can they clarify what the costs saving would be if they went ahead with an
alternate nuclear weapons system? (e.g. astute submarine based missiles or a
ship or plane based system)

Important: Whichever party your candidate is from, please emphasise that you
want them to contact their party HQ to ask for a commitment that Trident will be
included in the upcoming Strategic Defence review.

Then ask them to get back to you with the response. Please email / send those
responses to or send them to Louise Edge,
Greenpeace UK, Canonbury Villas, London N1 2PN

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