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Brenda Boughton

Here you'll find Brenda's statement and what have her conscience led her to do.

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Teacher of English and Adult Literacy, Oxford - sadly died in 2012

Statement:

"I was confirmed in the Church of England in 1949 and believe I have the right to attempt to follow its precepts. Having lived through the Second World War and grown up in the shadow of the First I have for many decades strongly believed that all of God’s children need to learn to care for each other and not pursue selfish sectarian ends to the point of murder."

"When these sums have ultimately been removed from my bank account by the Inland Revenue (garnishee) after a court hearing, the result has been that the sum requested has been paid twice."

"I tried to get an Appeal Court hearing in 1993 but failed in my application to Lord Justice Butler-Sloss. She pointed out that the European Convention on Human Rights had not yet been adopted into English law. Since then I have repeated the withholding process described above whenever occasion demanded.

This cumbersome process is the only way I can continue to refuse to pay for other people to engage in warfare (that takes human life inevitably) in direct opposition to the Christian demand that we try to love one another."

"I'm a pacifist, but I didn't start life as one, but as you learn more abut the world you realise it's the way to go, we have to learn to get on with other people. So I've dug my toes in over this. When I was younger, the MoD used to be known as the War Office, and it's a much more truthful description. George Orwell talked about Newspeak, changing the names of things we are uncomfortable with. This is not about defence, it's about invading or struggles with other countries. How can we talk about 'loving thy neighbour' one minute while plotting to kill him the next? We have to learn that wars are not heroic, they are something to be ashamed of, a sign of weakness and failure." 

What have her conscience led her to do?

1988 November - Began calculating and reserving proportion of income tax spent on nuclear weapons 
1991 October - Took peace pledge as full pacifist and began calculating and reserving income tax between 7-10%, donating equivalent amount to Oxfam. (Protest continued to present) 
1992 August - First court hearing (Oxford County Court); twice refused leave to appeal to Court of Appeal 
1993 March - Oral hearing before Court of Appeal turned down. Inland Revenue obtained garnishee order and removed money directly from bank account. 
1994 Further court hearing 
1996 Inland Revenue obtain another garnishee order 
2003 June - Further court hearing 
2004 April - Joined Peace Tax Seven applying for judicial review 

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In 1989 Brenda opened a bank account to hold withheld tax money pending outcome of her court case. Initially the amount was the percentage destined for nuclear expenditure only. She closed the account in 1991 and thereafter, sent the money to Oxfam. 

 

Since 1991, whenever asked for tax payments above the minimum collected at source Brenda has withheld the estimated percentage intended for the use of the Ministry of Defence for all expenditures. 

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When these sums have ultimately been removed from her bank account by the Inland Revenue (garnishee) after a court hearing, the result has been that the sum requested has been paid twice. 

 

In 1993 Brenda tried to get an Appeal Court hearing in 1993 but failed in her application to Lord Justice Butler-Sloss who pointed out that the European Convention on Human Rights had not yet been adopted into English law. 

Since then Brenda has repeated the withholding process described above whenever occasion demanded. This cumbersome process is the only way she feels she can continue to refuse to pay for other people to engage in warfare. 

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