As Vladimir Putin celebrates another election victory, today’s Labour party should remember that there can be no coherent response to the Skripal affair without an appreciation of how our collective security is underscored by NATO and the role their own party played in its creation. In a new essay published today, In Defence of Collective Security, Professor John Bew, Head of Policy Exchange’s Britain in the World project and an award winning biographer of Clement Attlee, argues that our current system of collective security, based on NATO, was painstakingly put in place by Attlee and Ernest Bevin and that the current Labour leadership betrays that legacy.
Writing a Foreword to the paper, Lord West of Spithead – former First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Intelligence and Labour Security Minister from 2007 to 2010 – says: “The role that the Labour party played in the creation of the rules-based international order should never be forgotten. By leading the way in the creation of NATO, Clement Attlee’s Labour Government sought to create a system of collective defence that was built to last over the long-term. This difference with today is as staggering as it is tragic.
“Those now leading the Labour party have consistently criticised NATO and yet recent Russian behaviour sees a growing number of challenges to international law and deliberate attempts to threaten and undermine those within the NATO alliance. The present scale of discomfort over the strategic position of the leadership, evident from many Labour backbenchers, is a source of hope to me. I look around and still see many who follow in the proud tradition of Attlee, Bevin, Healey and Robertson.”
Listen to John Bew discuss the report on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme here.