PEACE TAX BILL TO BE DEBATED IN PARLIAMENT JULY 19th
Key points, suggested text and templates to help you lobby your MP
- Let them know what the Bill is and when it is being read.
- Ask them to attend the reading and consider supporting the Bill.
- Let them know why the proposed legislation is important to you.
Please let Conscience know if you have written to your MP, and forward on any responses you get. You can forward letters and replies to Campaign@ConscienceOnline.org.uk
You can also let Conscience and others know you’ve contacted your MP, and keep up to date with the progress of the #PeaceTaxBill on Facebook @ facebook.com/taxesforpeacenotwar/ and Twitter @taxesforpeace
Who, what, where and when
Be clear with what you are asking your MP, and make sure they know what is being tabled, by whom and when. Suggested text:
The law as it stands, means I personally am unable to act according to my conscience. My tax money is paying for armed conflict which I would not personally be prepared to participate in. Through my taxes, I am paying for someone else to fight. This is a matter of conscientious objection.
I believe that the right to conscientiously object to war is a human right. That right has been recognised by Parliament since 1916. I believe that those who have a conscientious objection to war should not be forced to pay for military preparations through their taxes.
Conscience is seeking a change in the law to allow Conscientious Objectors the right to have the military portion of their taxes spent on non-military security. This money would then be used to prevent and resolve conflicts worldwide. The fund would provide new opportunities for experimenting with and properly funding non-violent methods of conflict prevention, resolution and management.
On the 24th of March 2017 Parliament is scheduled to debate a Bill which would bring this vision of Conscientious objection into UK law sponsored by Ruth Cadbury MP. I would urge you to support this legislation and if it does not receive a reading take efforts (perhaps by sponsoring a private member’s Bill) to make sure the Bill gets the debate it deserves.
I do not believe that setting up such a fund would be a precedent, rather it extends the recognition of conscientious objection as a human right. It also attempts to concentrate all governments’ efforts towards the pursuance of peace. There are many groups throughout the world calling on their governments to set up similar non-military security funds in order to stop wasteful military expenditure and work towards bringing and an end to armed conflict.
It also follows recent government moves to hypothecate taxes for beneficial purpose as they have done with Tampon Tax and the Sugar Tax. In the political landscape of professional armies and high-tech weapons, there is an inescapable truth: money is manpower.
We all get the world we pay for. Let me invest in a world of peace, justice and solidarity.
Please support the Bill becoming law.
The history of conscientious objection
The passing of a conscientious objection law was a landmark moment in the history of human rights. You could remind your MP that they could be part of the next leap forward in the legal recognition of conscience. Suggested text:
“100 years ago this year the Government played a leading role in being the first to legalise the right of conscientious objection to military service. This right has since been recognised in The European Convention on Human Rights, United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and the British Human Rights Act.”
Wars are increasingly fought with money, rather than manpower
The days of mass conscript armies are over. Modern warfare is fought with expensive technology paid for with our taxes. Suggested text:
“Today, the increasing reliance on technological/remote control warfare means that I cannot avoid paying for the research, development and deployment of ever more deadly and destructive weapons, and the highly trained soldiers who operate them. This Bill therefore calls for a legal structure that gives meaning to my right of conscientious objection to military service in the modern world, by allowing conscientious objection to military tax.”
The law already says that financial complicity in violence is a crime. For many conscientious objectors there is no difference between firing a weapon and paying someone else to do so. Suggested text:
“This proposed legislation does not set a precedent, rather it extends our legally recognised right of conscientious objection to military service. This right is perfectly in keeping with the logic of our own domestic law. If we pay someone else to commit murder, we are as guilty of that murder as the person who carries out the crime. This moral and legal equivalence should not disappear for individuals who morally object to funding targeted killing in the name of national security.”
Prevention is better than cure
We spend 35 times more fighting war than preventing it. We must prioritise peacebuilding over war-making. Suggested text:
“I believe that genuine, long-term security is not achieved with ever more deadly and destructive weapons and increased spending on ‘defence’, but by cooperation, negotiation and a shared understanding of the problems that face humanity, such as poverty, ill-health and environmental degradation. The Taxes for Peace Bill calls for the Government to consider a mechanism for COs to fund non-military peacebuilding initiatives, which will avoid further death and destruction as well as allowing individuals to pay their taxes with a clear conscience.”