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The Political Parties, Nuclear Weapons and the Future

  • Peter M. Jones
  • Gordon Reece
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter will consider the political impact and likely effects of this survey. Unlike previous surveys, which have tended to give a snapshot of public opinion at a given time, this survey has attempted to develop a deeper understanding of why people believe what they appear to believe. It was inspired by a similar survey undertaken in the United States in 1984, which some people believe had a major effect on the conduct of the presidential election campaign of the year.1

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Notes

  1. 2.
    G. Almond, The American People and Foreign Policy (New York: Praeger, 1950).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Conservative Party Manifesto: The Next Moves Forward (London, May 1987).Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Labour Party Manifesto: Britain will Win (London, May 1987).Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    SDP/Liberal Alliance Manifesto: Britain United (London, May 1987).Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    See Peter Jones, ‘British Defence Policy: the breakdown of Consensus’, Review of International Studies, vol. 13, no. 2, 1987, pp. 111–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 17.
    See, for example, George Younger, Secretary of State for Defence, ‘Success for the Old Firm’ in the Guardian, London, 4 December 1987, and David Mellor, Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, ‘The INF Agreement: Is it a good deal for the West?’ in NATO Review, vol. 35, no. 6, 1987.Google Scholar
  7. 19.
    See, for example, M. Dando and P. Rogers: The Death of Deterrence (London: CND Publications, 1984).Google Scholar
  8. 20.
    See, for example, Bruce Kent, Chairman of CND, ‘It’s our turn next’ in the Guardian, London, 4 December 1987.Google Scholar
  9. 22.
    George Younger, Secretary of State for Defence, ‘Success for the Old Firm’ in the Guardian, London, 4 December 1987. For the text of the NATO Nuclear Planning Group Communique, see NATO Review, vol. 31, no. 5, 1983.Google Scholar
  10. 23.
    Official government figures are disputed by other authorities who suggest that the superiority of Warsaw Pact forces has been greatly exaggerated. See, for example, M. Chalmers and L. Unterseher, Is there a Tank Gap? (Bradford School of Peace Studies. Peace Research Report no. 19, 1987).Google Scholar
  11. 24.
    Guardian, London, 8 February 1988 and Financial Times, 15 February 1988.Google Scholar
  12. 25.
    Guardian, London, 11 February 1988.Google Scholar
  13. 26.
    George Younger, Secretary of State for Defence, ‘Success for the Old Firm’ in the Guardian, London, 4 December 1987. For the report of Mrs Thatcher’s press statement, the Guardian, London, 8 December 1987 and Sir Geoffrey Howe interview, BBC Radio 4, The World This Weekend, 14 February 1988.Google Scholar
  14. 27.
    See remarks made by Admiral Eugene Carroll reported in the Guardian, London, 17 February 1988. The Admiral made the point that ‘Britain already had enough nuclear weapons to destroy all major Russian cities’, but the increased firepower of Trident would not be enough to destroy Soviet second strike capacity. Thus, Trident ‘would increase the first strike capability without stopping the capacity of enemy retaliation’.Google Scholar
  15. 29.
    Pravda, Moscow 19 February, 1988, quoted in Stephan Sestanovich ‘Gorbachev’s Foreign Policy: A Diplomacy of Decline’, Problems of Communism, vol. XXXVII, January–February 1988, p. 11.Google Scholar
  16. 30.
    See, for example, NATO’s New Nuclear Weapons (London: British American Security Council, 1988).Google Scholar
  17. 31.
    For reports of Mrs Thatcher’s speech see the Guardian, London, 18 February 1988. In a separate article in the same edition it was reported that the then NATO Secretary-General, Lord Carrington, supported Mrs Thatcher’s position on modernisation but also recognised that the West Germans had a point of which some account should be taken. See the Guardian, London, 8 February 1988 for Sam Nunn’s remarks.Google Scholar
  18. 33.
    The text of the Labour Party policy review on defence was published in the Guardian, London, 8 May 1989. The document was passionately supported at the party’s National Executive Committee by Neil Kinnock, who adopted a clear multilateral approach to nuclear disarmament. Reaction to the party document was generally favourable, especially the vote at the Welsh Labour Party Conference, following a speech by Kinnock, reported in the Guardian, London, 13 May 1989. However, the new policy was roundly condemned by those on the left of the Labour Party, such as Ron Todd, the General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union and Ken Livingstone, who continued to support unilateral nuclear disarmament. In addition it was condemned as being ‘unilateralism in another wrapping’ by Mrs Thatcher. Guardian, London, 10 May 1989.Google Scholar
  19. 34.
    Neil Kinnock, interviewed in the Guardian, London, 18 July 1988.Google Scholar
  20. 36.
    Martin O’Neill MP, ‘Towards a nuclear-free future’, Labour Party News no. 10, July/August 1988, p. 15.Google Scholar
  21. 39.
    For a fuller discussion of this issue, see Peter Jones ‘British Defence Policy: the breakdown of consensus’, Review of International Studies, vol. 13, no. 1, 1987, pp. 111–31. However, after the publication of the 1988 Statement on the Defence Estimates, Mr Younger, the Secretary of State for Defence, said that he faces ‘difficult choices’ because his defence budget is no longer growing in real terms. One commentator suggested that this understated the longer term problems. See the Guardian, London, 18 May 1988.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 41.
    Jean François-Poncet, ‘The European Pillar’, Atlantic Focus, no. 1. (Paris: Atlantic Institute for International Affairs, 1987). The paper also discusses some of the difficulties facing the proposed Franco-German co-operation on defence.Google Scholar
  23. 43.
    John Cartwright, Defence and Disarmament — the Dual Track (London: Campaign for Social Democracy, 1987), p. 5.Google Scholar
  24. 47.
    Paul Rogers, ‘Trident becomes Mrs Thatcher’s surprise ace’, New Statesman, 4 December 1987.Google Scholar
  25. 48.
    See, for example, M. Chichester and J. Wilkinson, The Uncertain Ally: British Defence Policy, 1960–1990 (London: Gower, 1982).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Peter M. Jones and Gordon Reece 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter M. Jones
    • 1
  • Gordon Reece
    • 2
  1. 1.University of ReadingUK
  2. 2.University of BristolUK

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