In a landmark foreign policy speech at Chatham House, Labour leader Ed Miliband pledged commitment to multilateralism and global institutions (good). But he reiterated Labour’s support for Britain retaining nuclear weapons and said nothing whatsoever about multilateral disarmament or a global ban on nuclear weapons.
The media news is all about his criticism of the Conservatives for lack of post-conflict planning following the 2011 bombing campaign in Libya and the ensuing migrant crisis – a war that Labour backed. But if they are in favour of multilateralism and international institution-building, neither party should have got Britain involved in disastrous and bloody misadventures: from Afghanistan to Iraq to Libya.
The one concrete message in Ed’s speech is that Labour will spend up to £100bn to ensure Britain is a nuclear-armed state for the next 30-40 years – despite a majority of Labour’s candidates voicing their opposition.
Although he claims to be ‘a disarmer’, Ed’s multilateralism is confined to seeking allies to achieve military solutions to deal with ISIS and the crisis in Ukraine. Ed offered nothing in the way of multilateral commitments on disarmament – a hypocritical and muddled stance, big on admirable rhetoric and light on substance.
Yet, world leaders are meeting at the UN for the largest global conference on nuclear disarmament for the past 5 years – and this was not even mentioned.
All their talk is about being tough on defence. If Ed Miliband really wants to show he’s tough, he should commit to scrapping Trident and kickstarting real progress on global nuclear disarmament.’