A photo of Green Party campaigners at the party's 2023 local elections launch in Mid Suffolk

“All nations face stark choices around where to invest their limited resources – and the UK’s focus needs to be on Human Security, measuring the security of people through sustainable development, not arms; through cooperation, not confrontation. We have to improve co-operative working among states and with civil society to address the very real and growing threats posed by the climate and ecological emergency.”

This was part of the Green Party response delivered in a meeting on 21 May in the House of Lords to launch a new report by the Nuclear Education Trust (NET) – The Future for UK Defence, Diplomacy and Disarmament.

Last year, the Green Party’s Peace, Security and Defence Policy Working Group was one of many organisations to respond to a survey issued by NET. Contributors were from other political parties, think tanks, campaigning organisations and members of the military.

Deolinda Eltringham prepared the answers to the survey and she spoke on behalf of the PSD working group, appearing in a panel alongside MPs Margaret Becket and Richard Foord. Green Party members can read her speech here.

“Colleagues in the Working Group contributed to my speech”, Deolinda said, “and we put our major emphasis on looking at what constitutes real security, as well as speaking about the Green Party’s commitment to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which both Conservatives and Labour oppose.”

Both  the major parties are committing to increase defence spending to 2.5% of GNI, and to increasing our nuclear arsenal, whilst claiming they cannot afford to reverse the two child benefit cap or put together the urgently needed funds to tackle the climate crisis.

The Greens are the only party to put forward a holistic analysis of what security really means. As our party policy says: Human Security addresses all the critical issues confronting the world today, including conflict, human rights violations, inequality, authoritarian nationalism, threats to democracy, lack of access to adequate food, shelter or housing, health care, education, clean energy and jobs, pollution, biodiversity loss and climate change.

Greens are also committed to strengthening the United Nations and upholding international law. We have consistently demanded a ceasefire in Gaza, along with the return of the hostages, and we echo the call of the European Union that Israel must abide by orders issued to it by the International Court of Justice.

As the Conservatives, flailing around for ideas, put forward a plan to conscript young people into the military, police and emergency services, the Green Party believes that this does not in any way meet the needs of young people or society as a whole.

We offer the vision of a future where everyone feels more secure because their basic needs are met, their human and civil rights are not threatened, and they live in a country which always puts climate justice and respect for international law at the heart of its foreign policy.

Coincidentally, just 2 days later on 23 May, the Department of International Affairs of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales published ‘Called to be Peacemakers : A Catholic approach to arms control and disarmament’ – making exactly the same points and more.  It is good to share the same message to call for Peace, arms control and disarmament with other organisations!  

Linda Walker and Deolinda Eltringham are co-convenors of the Green Party Peace, Security and Defence Working Group

Image credit: YouTube screengrab