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The British Labour Party and Defense by Bruce George, Jonathan Roberts, Timothy Watson


The British Labour Party and Defense by Bruce George, Jonathan Roberts, Timothy Watson

This volume examines the evolution of the British Labour Party's defense and security policies since the party's formation in 1900. It concentrates on the last decade, which has witnessed a gradual transformation from unilateral nuclear disarmament and the removal of U.S. nuclear bases from UK soil to retention of the British nuclear deterrent and support for NATO's new nuclear and conventional strategies. The authors examine in detail how defense policy, in particular nuclear disarmament, was Labour's Achilles' heel in the 1983 and 1987 general elections and how the party fundamentally changed its defense and security policies after its third successive election defeat. Furthermore, changes in the international environment have spurred Labour to reexamine its policies in this area and to realize that these policies would condemn the party to internal opposition. As a result, Labour now has a pragmatic set of defense and security policies relevant to the 1990s, as evidenced by the party's robust position on the Gulf War, its support for Britain's nuclear deterrent, and its welcome of the London Declaration following the NATO summit in July 1990. In explaining Labour's internal debates in recent years, Bruce George has few peers. He gives a detailed insider's account of the infighting and ideological battles within the Labour Party that will be valuable for anyone interested in knowing how the United Kingdom's foreign policy might change (or remain virtually the same) under non-Conservative leadership.


Must reading for everyone who wishes to understand the new basis of British Labour's policies on defense and arms control. Well written, well researched, and well presented--a four star effort. - Catherine McArdle Kelleher Professor, School of Public Affairs Director, Center for International Security Studies University of Maryland This timely and balanced assessment of the British Labour Party's defense and security policies should be welcomed by anyone concerned about the prospects of a Labour-led government. The authors convincingly demonstrate Labour's new moderate thinking on defense matters. Their account of the review process in 1987-1989 shows a growing inclination of the Labour Party to position itself within the mainstream of European democratic socialism. -Kendall Myers Professorial Lecturer School of Advanced International Studies Johns Hopkins University

About the Author

BRUCE GEORGE is a Labour Member of Parliament. He has been a Member of the House of Commons Select Committee since its inception in 1979 and is now Ranking Member. He is also General Rapporteur and former Chairman of the North Atlantic Assembly's Political Committee. George has been a frequent contributor to Jane's Defence Weekly and has edited Jane's NATO Handbook since 1989. He has written and lectured very expensively on security issues, specializing in NATO, United Kingdom defense policy, Mediterranean security, East-West relations.JONATHAN ROBERTS is a former parliamentary assistant to Bruce George and was deputy editor on Jane's NATO Handbook 1990-91.TIMOTHY WATSON is a parliamentary research assistant to Bruce George and acted as special assistant on Jane's NATO Handbook 1990-91. His research interests include U.K. defense policy, terrorism, and bilateral security relations.

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Book Info

Publication date

30th November 1991


Bruce George, Jonathan Roberts, Timothy Watson

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Praeger Publishers Inc an imprint of ABC-CLIO


144 pages


Defence strategy, planning & research
Political parties
Socialism & left-of-centre democratic ideologies

20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000



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