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Manifestos: Geopolitics

Manifestos: Geopolitics Frederic Legrand - COMEO
How will the parties deal with the political world at large?


• Use membership of NATO, the EU, the Commonwealth, the UN Security Council seat, the Special Relationship with the USA, intelligence agencies, vital institutions like the BBC World Service and British Council, and the strong personal links between the UK’s diaspora communities and other countries, to achieve the best for Britain. Back this up with UK military power and international aid.

• Tackle global terrorism and the poisonous ideology of Islamist extremism while taking a patient, long-term approach to preventing conflict and state failure.

• Work with geopolitical partners to address threats to UK security, including the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, pandemic diseases, the illegal drugs trade, piracy and organised crime.

• Build on strong relationship with India, push for an ambitious EU-India trade deal and support India’s bid for permanent representation on the UN Security Council.

• Strengthen our economic links with China, doubling support for British firms selling goods there and championing an EU–China trade deal.

• Work for peace, stability and an inclusive settlement in Syria and Iraq; and pursue a comprehensive political and military strategy to defeat Islamic State.

• Uphold the democratic rights of the people of Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands to remain British, for as long as that is their wish, and protect Overseas Territories.

• Uphold the sovereignty, integrity and capacity of Ukraine, and continue to reject Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea.

• Support a two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, robustly defending the right of Israel to protect its security, while continuing to condemn illegal settlement building, which undermines the prospects for peace.

• Maintain the size of the regular armed services and not reduce the army to below 82,000.

• Retain the Trident ‘continuous at-sea’ nuclear deterrent to provide the ultimate guarantee of our safety and build the new fleet of four Successor Ballistic Missile Submarines – securing thousands of highly-skilled engineering jobs in the UK.

• Maintain global presence, strengthening defence partnerships in the Gulf and Asia. Later this year, hold a National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review to plan for the future.

• Plan to invest at least £160billion in new military equipment over the next decade. As well as six new Type 45 destroyers, build a class of seven Astute submarines and buy the Joint Strike Fighter, Scout armoured vehicles, Type 26 frigates and new Apache attack helicopters. Bring both of our new Aircraft Carriers – HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, the largest vessels the Royal Navy has ever possessed – into service, so one is available for use at all times.

• Deliver on commitment to expand our reserve capacity to 35,000.


• Continue to uphold key alliances. These include the United States, allies in Africa and Latin America, and partners from across the Commonwealth. A long-term multinational political strategy, with regional actors playing a central role, is essential for tackling the rise of extremism across the region.

• Would not propose the use of military force without judging whether reasonable diplomatic efforts have been exhausted, the action is proportionate and in partnership with allies, whether there is a clear legal basis, and if there is a clear plan – not just for winning the war but also for building a lasting peace.

• Set up an Asia Step-Change Taskforce to ensure a more strategic and effective dialogue with regional partners, including China, both in the commercial realm and in other areas, from cultural exchange to human rights.

• Remain committed to a comprehensive two-state solution – a secure Israel alongside a viable and independent state of Palestine. There can be no military solution to this conflict and all sides must avoid taking action that would make peace harder to achieve. Continue to press for an immediate return to meaningful negotiations leading to a diplomatic resolution.

• Continue to honour the UK’s commitment to support Afghanistan as it seeks to secure an inclusive and durable political settlement.

• Continue to promote women’s rights. Join with those campaigning to attain gender equality, the eradication of poverty and inclusive economic growth. Appoint a Global Envoy for Religious Freedom, and establish a multi-faith advisory council on religious freedom within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

• Ensure the UK has responsive, high-tech Armed Forces, with the capability to respond to emerging, interconnected threats, in an unpredictable security landscape.

• Conduct a Strategic Defence and Security Review in the first year of government, with an inclusive national debate on the security and defence challenges facing the country. It will be fiscally responsible and strategically driven, focusing on the obstacles that impede our Armed Forces from effective response to threats.

• Secure defence jobs across the UK, protect the supply chain and support industry to grow Britain’s defence exports.

• Remain committed to a minimum, credible, independent nuclear capability, delivered through a ‘continuous at-sea’ deterrent. Work to increase momentum on global multilateral disarmament efforts and negotiations, and look at further reductions in global stockpiles and the numbers of weapons.

defenceTop 15 defence budgets, 2014 (Image: IISS)


• Use all aspects of government policy – trade, aid and diplomacy as well as military cooperation – to focus UK policy on conflict prevention. This will require a joint approach across the MOD, FCO, DFID and other departments, and we will continue to assess UK government actions for their impacts on conflict prevention and security. This will be a priority within the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), which should begin immediately after the election.

• Engage with and strengthen multilateral UN and treaty-based institutions worldwide.

• Support the UN principle of Responsibility to Protect. This principle focuses on the security of individuals, rather than states.

• Implement a policy of ‘presumption of denial’ for arms exports to countries listed as countries of concern in the Foreign Office’s annual human rights report.

• Require end-user certification on all future arms export licenses with an annual report to Parliament on this certification.

• The UK should intervene in military interventions only when there is a clear legal and/or humanitarian case, endorsed by a vote in Parliament, working within the remit of international institutions wherever and whenever possible.

• Promote democracy and stability in Ukraine and neighbouring countries against an increasingly assertive Russia. Work closely with EU and other international partners to exert maximum economic and political pressure on Russia to stop interfering in the affairs of sovereign Eastern European nations, and stand by our obligations under the NATO treaty in the event of threats to NATO member states. Work with the EU to develop an EU energy strategy that will reduce reliance on Russia’s energy supplies.

• Continue to work with international partners – Western, African and Arab – to tackle Islamic fanaticism embodied by organisations like Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and Boko Haram in Nigeria.

• Broaden the international Coalition against IS.

• Recognise that airstrikes alone will not defeat IS, continue a comprehensive approach, in compliance with international law, to supporting the Iraqi government in standing against IS, including: assistance in strengthening its democratic institutions, training the Iraqi Security Forces and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, and humanitarian relief to help alleviate the suffering of displaced Syrians and Iraqis.

• Support the moderate opposition in Syria, who are fighting both President Bashar al-Assad and IS. Continue to push for an inclusive political transition in Syria, which would enable Syrian moderates from all sides to unite against extremism and tyranny.

• Remain committed to a negotiated peace settlement to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, which includes a two-state solution. Condemn disproportionate force used by all sides. Condemn Hamas’ rocket attacks and other targeting of Israeli civilians. Condemn Israel’s continued illegal policy of settlement expansion, which undermines the possibility of a two-state solution. Support recognition of the independent State of Palestine as and when it will help the prospect of a two-state solution.

• Support multilateral negotiations to stop Iran obtaining nuclear weapons. Continue to seek normalisation of diplomatic relations with Iran, including reopening the British Embassy in Tehran and promoting peaceful dialogue in Iran and Saudi Arabia.

• Conduct a Strategic Defence and Security Review which revisits and updates the Future Force 2020 vision and ensures the capabilities invested in are relevant for keeping Britain safe.

• Use the SDSR to establish a Single Security Budget, including not just conventional defence spending but the work of security agencies, cyber defences and soft power interventions. The Single Security Budget will be distributed by the SDSR process, as part of an overall Spending Review. This integrated approach will ensure spending choices follow needed capabilities, not traditional departmental silos.

• Maintain strong and effective armed forces and the capability to deploy rapidly expeditionary forces.

• Set long-term budgets to invest in the right equipment at competitive prices.

• Recognise the expansion of warfare into the cybersphere, by investing in our security and intelligence services and acting to counter cyber attacks.

• Remain fully engaged in international nuclear disarmament efforts.

• Procure fewer Vanguard successor submarines and move from continuous at-sea deterrence to a contingency posture of regular patrols, enabling a surge to armed patrols when the international security context makes this appropriate.

• Reduce the UK nuclear warhead stockpile.

• Work for new global standards to end the use of conventional explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas.

• Promote European defence integration where appropriate by enhancing European defence industry co-operation.


• Make it a main foreign policy priority to secure a major new international agreement, in particular at the UN meeting in Paris in December 2015, with a wide-ranging workable plan to arrest climate change and share global resources more evenly. The basis of this agreement should be Contraction and Convergence (C&C): allowing countries that currently emit very little carbon dioxide to increase their emissions, using their energy resources to reduce poverty and improve their people’s well-being, requiring all other countries to reduce their emissions to a small per capita limit, fixed to be consistent with a global limit that keeps temperature rises below two degrees Celsius, and recognising the special responsibility of countries such as the UK that have become wealthy from 200 years of fossil-fuel-based industrialisation. Some of this wealth will need to be shared with poorer countries that have left their fossil fuels in the ground and their forests still standing.

• Pursue a policy of ‘defensive defence’, which threatens no one yet makes it clear that threats and attacks will be resisted.

• Take a leading role in preventing violent conflict, genocide and war crimes overseas through helping to develop local capacities to avoid, manage and resolve conflicts; and enhancing the UK’s well-respected role in genuine peacekeeping and the protection of non-combatant communities.

• Develop policies and programmes for ‘environmental defence’ and disaster mitigation and relief, drawing on the skills and activities of our current military forces and increasing gender representation and training to equip the UK to contribute more effectively in these kinds of human security emergencies.

• Diminish dependence on arms sales through a halt to government subsidies and introducing a strict licensing regime to prevent sales of weapons and military equipment to undemocratic regimes and those that violate human rights (including, at the present time, Israel and Saudi Arabia).

• Look after veterans and their families.

• Enhance UK cooperation with civil society and international agencies to implement relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, including UNSC Resolutions 1325, 1820 and 1889, dealing with the role of gender violence in war and the necessity to involve women at all levels in preventing war and building peace and security.

• Save £100billion over the next 30 years by cancelling Trident replacement and decommissioning existing nuclear forces and facilities.

• Enhance international security and non-proliferation by initiating and/or joining negotiations on a universally applicable nuclear abolition treaty to prohibit the use, deployment, development, production, stockpiling and transfer of nuclear weapons and requiring their complete elimination.

• Initiate and/or join negotiations on new international treaties and laws to prohibit the development, deployment and use of autonomous weapons (such as ‘killer robots’), depleted uranium weapons, weapon systems that are intended for use in and from outer space, and weapons that leave explosive remnants and toxic legacies in war-affected communities, while mandating the protection of civilians from any new weapons developments for the future.

unUN peacekeeping (Image: UN)


• Support Trident renewal.

• Uphold and respect the Falkland Islanders’ recent referendum result of their overwhelming desire and right to remain British.

• Acknowledge that sectarianism, fueled by historical Western involvement has rendered peace all but impossible within a generation.

• Want to see a peaceful, two-state solution in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

• Increase the defence budget to meet obligations to NATO and spend two per cent of GDP on defence in 2015/16. Exceed it substantially for the remaining years of the parliament.

• Phase in increased defence spending over the next five years up to an additional £4billion by 2020, returning funding to the pre-SDSR level, and allow for £1billion yearly expenditure on capital projects deemed to be of the highest strategic priority by the MoD.


• Prevent increasingly insular attitudes at Westminster from shutting Scotland off from the world.

• Back the Scottish Government’s international strategy, based on three core elements – participation, promotion and protection.

• Expect the UK government to participate fully in international institutions, to respect their role and to work with them. This includes the UK fulfilling all its international obligations.

• See proper oversight and approval for any future UK military action, which would need to be in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter and approved by Parliament.

• Call on the next UK government to pursue a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine and to support the formal recognition of a Palestinian state.

• The forthcoming UK Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) must take full account of the particular challenges and opportunities of the northern regional dimension, and of the need to be more effective at combating cyber-terrorism where the SDSR must lay out a clear strategy, including continued engagement with the Scottish Government. The SDSR must review the current Ministry of Defence record, which includes falsely inflating spending commitments, mismanaging Army personnel reforms and creating dangerous capability gaps.

• Believe there should be ocean-going conventional patrol vessels based permanently in Scotland and seek the early procurement of multi-role Maritime Patrol Aircraft purchased ‘off the shelf’ by the end of this parliament.

• Continue a principled opposition to nuclear weapons and believe that the UK should abandon plans to renew the Trident nuclear missile system. In addition, the MoD should also publish in full current and projected annual costs of the Trident system and its proposed successor programme, including nuclear weapons through-life costs.

• The Type 26 frigates must be built in Scotland and the Aircraft Carriers refitted at Rosyth.


• Oppose the ‘wasteful’ and unnecessary replacement of Trident that is anticipated to cost in excess of £100billion in its lifetime but can never be used in conventional warfare.

• Base Welsh army units in Wales in order to improve relationships with the locals community and help soldiers’ families.

• Oppose the relocation of nuclear weapons to Welsh waters.

• Want to see an EU civilian peace corps to work in area of potential conflict, building trust and preventing violence.

• Support peaceful negotiations over destructive warfare and support the rule of international law through the United Nations.

• Call for an ending of the blockade on Gaza and for a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine.

• Want to see the full publication of the Chilcot enquiry so that the public can see the unvarnished truth of how and why the UK participated in the illegal invasion of Iraq.

• International agreements on arm sales must be strengthened to restrict access to deadly weapons, particularly those intended for civil repression and want arms trade promotions with despotic countries ended.

• Work to reform the United Nations and associated bodies, to reflect better the needs and interests of all countries, and make the UN more representative and effective through abolishing permanent seats on the UN Security Council (UNSC).

• Seek negotiated settlements to a range of conflicts around the world and block sales of weapons and military equipment that increase misery and death for non-combatants and have particularly destructive impacts on vulnerable peoples, notably women and children.

• Outlaw the use of torture, the sale of torture equipment and the rendition of people to countries where torture is not prohibited, and enforce the laws against it.

• Take proportionate measures to protect against terrorism, ensuring that civil liberties are not undermined in the process, that communities are not scapegoated and that action reflects a genuine assessment of the threat to our security. Push for targeted policing and security service activities (not mass surveillance), prisons that rehabilitate those convicted of terrorism offences and effective programmes to prevent radicalisation and to deradicalise individuals.

• Uphold the principles of freedom of speech and peaceful protest, including support for vulnerable communities of all religious faiths and none.

• Oppose all future interventions that lack a sufficient moral, legal and democratic mandate or when military action risks being counter-productive, for example by providing fertile recruitment, fundraising and propaganda opportunities. Advocate for regional solutions to conflicts and for the UK to take a lead in advancing diplomatic, economic and political solutions to the threats posed by terrorist groups such as IS and Boko Haram.

• Provide humanitarian support for the millions of refugees displaced by these conflicts.

• Seek a just, sustainable and peaceful solution to the Arab–Israeli conflict, based on mutual recognition of the rights to independent statehood for Palestinians and Israelis. Condemn human rights violations by both parties and the oppression and disproportionate use of aggression by the Israeli government against the people of Gaza. Seek to suspend the EU–Israel Association Agreement.

• Condemn state-sanctioned breaches of human rights by countries such as China, Syria, Sudan and Pakistan, as well as by individuals or organisations, and advocate the use of sanctions and legal action via the International Criminal Court for those violating international human rights standards.

• Work to support a negotiated settlement between Russia and Ukraine, while developing a new security structure for the region involving the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, with opposition to arms transfers and military interventions in regional and internal conflicts.

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