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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.

recent news & views

New Conscience report available online: The Minister for Peace and Disarmament: An Assessment

A link to the full report can be found here.

Conscience commissioned Dr Tim Street to write this report, which provides an assessment of the Labour party’s proposal to create a Minister for Peace and Disarmament (MPD). The idea of an MPD, initially put forward by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in 2016, led to Fabian Hamilton, (MP for Leeds North East) being appointed the Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament. The proposal was then discussed in Labour’s 2017 Election Manifesto. Since his appointment, Hamilton has been developing the role, working on a ‘peace doctrine’ to outline the post’s underlying principles and remit. Hitherto, however, there has been a lack of public discussion concerning what a MPD would entail and the different areas of work it could include—a gap that this report aims to help fill. This means both considering the overall value of the MPD as well as highlighting the obstacles to and opportunities for the post being a success given the many challenges involved.

Part One of the report begins by considering where the idea for a MPD came from and what may be learned from the UK and other countries’ experiences of establishing similar roles to a MPD and alternative approaches to international policy. It then considers the UK’s current role in the world and the different directions it may take in future, touching on the key debates and issues facing decision-makers today, including Brexit, the idea of Global Britain, the UK’s relations with Russia and the US as well as climate change. The state of domestic politics is next discussed in relation to these issues, focusing on public opinion and the positions of the main political parties on international policy in order to ascertain the potential for progressive and more radical change in areas relating to the MPD.

Following this, Part Two examines the arguments for and against a MPD more closely, principally by drawing on interviews with a range of people with policy experience and knowledge in this field. From talking to academics, policy experts, campaigners and political figures, it became apparent that there are a variety of views on and interpretations of what an MPD would mean in practice. The views of these respondents are therefore discussed as a means of examining what obstacles will need to be overcome and what opportunities taken advantage of if the MPD post is to be a success.

With regard to more practical concerns, a key issue is how the MPD will operate in terms of the machinery of government and relate to other departments with pre-existing aims and interests. Part Two therefore also includes an examination of possible institutional arrangements for the MPD, including resources and funding. Having reviewed the political and institutional issues involved, the report then provides several different options for how a MPD might be configured, in addition to considering how these options may interact with political choices and developments in future.

Conscience launches the report Minister for Peace and Disarmament: An Assessment in Parliament.

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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.

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