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.