Stop the Wars, Scrap Trident and Invest in Salford

April 6, 2010

Greater Manchester Stop the War Coalition have asked all Parliamentary Candidates in Greater Manchester to respond to the following set of questions covering Afghanistan, Gaza and Nuclear Weapons.

Interestingly enough our own Council Leader John Merry (Labour) recently declared he too would like to see Trident scrapped, my message to Mr Merry who also happens to be my local councillor and is up for re-election on May 6th is this:

“John –  you are right to say Salford doesn’t need Trident, but your friend Hazel Blears won’t listen, she voted for it and still supports it.  Trident is no small issue, it’s a significant and dangerous force against world peace which your party, the Labour Party used to oppose. Now it’s one of their flagship project… I think you’re in the wrong Party my friend. “

1.Are you for immediate withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan?

Yes. Britain should begin recalling all of it’s forces from the region with intimidate effect. There also needs to be an urgent full public inquiry to investigate why we ended up there in the first place and those responsible for the mismanagement of our foreign affairs need to be held to account. I thought we were there trying to help Bush find Bin-Laden and overthrow the oppressive Taliban regime? We never found Osama, and through Britain’s intervention we’ve replaced one oppressive government with another.

2. Will you call for an end to the siege of Gaza?

The blockades need to be lifted now. People are suffering due to sanctions and the closure of borders with all neighbouring nations as well as the international community. The blockade is preventing basic aid reaching countless ordinary Palestinians who desperately need it and I find that utterly appalling regardless of the status of the democracy which they are born in to. Free-movement of the Palestinian people must be restored, and Britain must ensure the safety of it’s citizens by calling on Israel to end it’s high-tech bombardments.

3. Are you for a cancellation of the Trident replacement?

Absolutely, it should be cancelled with immediate effect. The disgraceful so called “nuclear deterrent” that is the £25 billion Trident Missile programme should be cancelled. The country’s existing nuclear weapons stockpile be dismantled and never rebuilt. Not only is it a huge waste of public spending, in the current economic climate even for the minority of people who see the benefits it is surely financially infeasible.

The existence of Trident does not only come at an economic cost, but also at the expense of muddying international relations, making Britain appear as an imperialist, self-righteous nuclear super-state. Our stance on other countries having access to nuclear technology is viewed as hypocritical and misguided. How can any other national believe us when we tell them “we come in peace?”.

We need to set an example to the rest of the world by ditching our nuclear arsenal, not replacing it.

Salford alone could benefit from an estimated £133 million of local investment if Trident was scrapped. The money saved could be used to create sustainable jobs, build desperately needed eco-friendly social housing, and ensure everyone has access to quality health and social care, free education and public services that all the main parties have pledged to destroy.

It’s time to destroy our unethical and outdated interests in the continued proliferation of nuclear weapons before it destroys the planet.


Your Questions: Relations between the UK and Cuba

March 31, 2010

The Cuba Solidarity Campaign are requesting Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (of which there are around 2,000 standing at the 2010 General Election) for their views on international relations with Cuba.

I have been contacted by Derek Simpson (Joint General Secretary of UNITE) and Ray Walker (Branch Secretary of Salford Unison) to respond to the following question:

If elected as an MP would you support better relations between the UK and Cuba?

“I would offer my full backing to Early Day Motion 1171 calling for better relations with Cuba. Regardless of the result at the General Election in Salford & Eccles I pledge my undivided support to the Cuba Solidarity Campaign.”

“Our Government should finally condemn the continued blockade placed upon the Cuban people by the United States, which without a doubt has contributed to a deterioration in their quality of life. The free movement of all people’s between the nation of Cuba should be reinstated and measures should be put in place by the international community to ensure Cuba is not subjected to social or environmental exploitation as a result.”

“The Prime Minister should make a full public apology for the UK’s alleged involvement in Human Rights abuses at Guantanamo Bay, and ensure it is closed as promised on-time by the United States. I would also like to express my disappointment at last night’s news announcing the suspension of diplomatic talks between the European Union and Cuba, and I would call upon the European Parliament to resume relations immediately in the spirit of peace, justice and democracy.”

David Henry
Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition
Parliamentary Candidate (Salford & Eccles)