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conscience TAXES FOR PEACE NOT WAR, works for a world where taxes are used to nurture peace, not pay for war.

We campaign for a progressive increase in the amount of UK tax spent on peacebuilding, and a corresponding decrease in the amount spent on war and preparation for war. We also campaign for the legal right of those with a conscientious objection to war to have the entire military part of their taxes spent on peacebuilding.

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Report from Labour Party Conference

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Our Campaign Manager went to the Labour Party Conference to sell one vision to the Labour Party – a Minister for Peace. So we went to the Fringe and talked about how a Minister for Peace might work in different contexts, its benefits to disarmament campaign groups, NGOs, and charities that deal with the fallout from failed states.

Leading up to the Conference, Conscience was lucky to meet with Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and Emily Thornberry in Parliament. With John McDonnell, we discussed how we could improve the funding of the Minister for Peace Position and how it might work in synergy with the Conflict Security and Stability Fund. The Shadow Chancellor added that the new position will have the full backing of the Chancellor in the next Labour government.

We also asked Emily Thornberry how the Minister for Peace might with work with the foreign office. She saw it as a junior ministerial position that would work with the department to promote the peace agenda through better diplomacy.

At Conference Conscience also met with Vijay Mehta – Director of Uniting for Peace (UfP), who agreed to collaborate with Conscience in the future for an event. UfP has already said they will introduce Conscience to the Minister for Peace at their next event on the 12th of October. We look forward to it!

We also grilled Stephen Kinnock MP, and Conor McGinn MP, on what a Shadow Minister would do to meet the rising challenges of disarmament in an age where foreign policy is becoming defined by the belligerence of two nuclear states – the USA and North Korea. Whilst Conor argued any form of disarmament is unlikely for the foreseeable future, he backed this approach to foreign policy, commending the work of peace campaigners in his own constituency.

Later Conscience attended a Fringe about the how we can improve the field of International Development, and were very lucky to be joined by Kate Osamor MP the Shadow Minister for International Development. An interesting discussion broke out about how violence manifests itself in many different forms across many different departments.  Conscience pointed out that the experience from Africa has been that many East Africans see trade policy as so destructive it is often perceived as a weapon of war – designed to bring them so low so that they can exploit their resources.

We added that if we had Minister for Peace they be would like the Minister for Equalities – not having an individual portfolio but going from department to department with a simple brief – to reduce violent conflict. It could have a major impact on departments not associated with military spending but act in a way that promotes violence and impedes disarmament around the globe.

In addition to this with Conscience met briefly with Kate Hollern, Jeremy Corbyn’s Personal Private Secretary and MP for Blackburn – perhaps most importantly his diary manager! We hope that Jeremy can speak at Conscience event at some time in the New Year.

We also made friends with Young Fabians and the Fabian Society – a very influential Labour think-tank – both interested to hear more about the Conscience. We also were very pleased to hear Jeremy’s conference speech include so much about peacemaking:

But we also know that terrorism is thriving in a world our governments have helped to shape, with its failed states, military interventions and occupations where millions are forced to flee conflict or hunger. We have to do better and swap the knee-jerk response of another bombing campaign for long-term help to solve conflicts rather than fuel them…We should stand firm for peaceful solutions to international crises. 

A productive conference we raised the Minister for Peace with every organisation, Labour member and MP that would listen.  We think this idea could change British foreign in the 21st century and build a more peaceful future for us all.

Thank you all for backing our Crowdfunder!

Now next week – Green Party Conference begins!

In conversation with Mark Rylance and Caroline Lucas

 ——————————————————————————————————————————- Conscience invites you for an evening with Sir Mark Rylance and Caroline Lucas for a discussion on “What Does an Ethical Foreign Policy Look Like?” […]

The Conscience AGM 2017

——————————————————————————————————————————- You are cordially invited to the Conscience AGM on the 16th of September. After a short business meeting, we will review our progress over the […]

It’s time for a Ministry of Peace

We do not have a Ministry of Peace and Disarmament, yet we are the 41st most peaceful country in the world. We have a 5 […]

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A Massive Thank You to Our Supporters!

Thank You

Our appeal has had a particularly good response from our supporters this year – thank you all so much! Your money will go towards helping us campaign for the rights of conscientious objectors. This year we are focusing on our Taxes for Peace Bill, presented by Ruth Cadbury MP, which aims to allow conscientious objectors the option to divert their taxes from armaments and the military to peaceful methods of conflict resolution like mediation and diplomacy. Your support is integral to keeping our organisation running and campaigning so we shall say it again, thank you.

It is never too late to become one of our supporters. Click here to donate to Conscience.

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