Kate Hudson's blog

Kate Hudson's blog

Dr Kate Hudson, CND General Secretary
Kate Hudson has been General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament since September 2010. Prior to this she served as the organisation's Chair from 2003. She is a leading anti-nuclear and anti-war campaigner nationally and internationally. She is also author of 'CND Now More than Ever: The Story of a Peace Movement'.

Jan 17 2016
The much-anticipated Labour Defence Review is launched! On Friday, new Shadow Defence Secretary Emily Thornberry published her terms of reference for the Review, inviting submissions from across society. Contributions are invited under four headings: Britain’s place in the world; The Threats to Britain’s Security; Britain’s Military and Security Forces; and Protecting British Jobs and Skills. Contributions are welcomed before 30th April 2016, addressing a series of questions set out under each of the four headings, and are to be made via Labour’s ‘Your Britain’ website at www.yourbritain.org.uk/defencereview. The document produced as a result will be fed into the International Policy Commission of Labour’s National Policy Forum, which will then report to Labour’s Annual Conference in Liverpool in September. Clearly the review should consider all aspects of Britain’s security, the threats that we face and appropriate means to respond. And of course many of the most urgent threats are non-military – like the impacts of climate change, pandemics, cyberattack and resource shortages. The review should be rooted firmly in addressing these 21st century challenges, so when it comes to nuclear weapons – the ultimate cold war totem – there has to be very serious consideration of whether Trident has any utility…
Nov 27 2015
A hectic week on questions of peace and war. Monday saw the publication of the government’s new National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015. Trident replacement hit the headlines as the Review included the news that the manufacturing cost of the four replacement submarines is now expected to be £41 billion rather than £25 billion. They put this as £31 billion plus a £10 billion contingency which, on past record, means they’ll be spending £41 billion. Irritatingly, the whole section on Trident is entitled ‘The nuclear deterrent’. They may call it that, in their ideologically-loaded, fanciful, non-provable fashion, but it’s still a nuclear weapon. Interestingly, former Labour Defence Secretary Lord Des Browne - who helped Blair push the first step towards Trident replacement through Parliament in 2007 – made an important observation. He pointed out that cyber attack could render Trident obsolete. And industry experts agreed that "any national public or private infrastructure service or defence facility" could be hacked. Disturbing stuff. The fact is, this is a twentieth century system and it looks and acts like one. When those subs were first built they were undetectable under water so enemies never knew where they were. How…
Nov 13 2015
Interesting to read about the reported spat between Osborne and the Ministry of Defence over who controls the Trident replacement project. Apparently Osborne has zero confidence in the MoD’s ability to deliver the new subs on time - in the event that they are given the go-ahead by parliament next year. Who knows what tensions and turf wars exist behind the scenes in Whitehall. But what struck me most forcibly about The Times article which reported this (12/11/15) was the reference to “a £40 billion programme” to build the four subs for Trident replacement. The article later suggests that “a new price tag” for Trident replacement will be announced in the Strategic Defence and Security Review, expected on 23rd November. Prior to this, every estimated bill has been significantly lower. In the 2006 White Paper which first proposed the replacement, the estimate was in the region of £15-20 billion (at 2006/07 prices) for a four-boat fleet. The 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review concluded that “the overall cost of the submarine and warhead replacement programmes and associated infrastructure remains within the £20 billion cost estimate foreseen in 2006 at 2006 prices.” The latest reference to cost in Parliament comes in…
Nov 5 2015

Scotland shows the way

Written by Kate Hudson
Double good news from Scotland this week for anti-Tridenters. First up was Scottish Labour Party conference where a massive majority of 70% voted to change the policy to an anti-Trident position. Particularly excellent news was that this large number heralded equally from trade union and constituency sectors. Of course the media attempted to make much of this, suggesting that as Unite had voted to change party policy this meant that the union was now hopelessly split on the issue, with Scottish Unite zooming off in a renegade direction. In fact, as Scottish Unite secretary Pat Rafferty observed, Scottish Labour has actually now adopted Unite policy on Trident – don’t replace Trident and guarantee skilled jobs through a defence diversification process. But it wasn’t just the jobs question which attracted a bad-spin job: suddenly the fact that Labour had changed its policy meant that Labour was in chaos. In reality this is the beginning of a policy process within Labour which may very well result in a change of policy for UK Labour too. It’s cynical and pretty rotten to disparage Labour for being at the start of a process which is actually going rather well. Oh and hats off to…
Oct 14 2015
I have made the claim that this weekend’s CND conference is the most significant since the end of the Cold War. This is not a claim that I have made lightly. Quite simply we are facing a unique combination of events.  Next year parliament is set to vote on whether or not Trident is replaced – the so-called Main Gate decision on whether to start cutting the metal on the new subs. This was promised in 2007 by the Labour government as they pushed the first Trident replacement vote through parliament – for the concept and design phase for new subs. This second bite of the cherry was reportedly necessary to make many Labour backbenchers vote for Trident. Even with that promise, there was still a huge back bench rebellion. But ministers are happy to bandy around assertions that they will replace Trident anyway. And government may even push it through before Christmas, according to some kite-flying press pieces. Jeremy Corbyn, new leader of the Labour Party, is opposed to Trident and is taking the Labour Party into a debate, the outcome of which is likely to be an anti-Trident position. Even if there are insufficient numbers in parliament to…
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