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Robin Brookes

Here you'll find Robin's statement and what have his conscience led him to do.

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Conscience Executive Committee member - Freelance toy designer and company director of Honeychurch Toys Ltd, Wilts


"I am withholding my taxes because I cannot in all conscience continue to pay taxes to a government which even now considers their reckless and illegal war against Iraq was justified. I want to make it clear, I am not against paying tax.

I am in full agreement with the principle of paying a proportion of my income for the good of our society as a whole.


Consequently I have the money put aside and I will voluntarily pay it when I see a real and convincing change in our governments’ approach to world problems."

"I find it absurd that in this new century, our government continues to respond to conflict in the world with bombing. It has been well proven that war does not achieve its proposed aims, costs more civilian lives than military, leaves poverty and continued danger in its wake.


"Our most recent wars in Kosovo and Iraq have left thousands of civilians dead, their societies in ruins and a continued threat from unexploded ordinance.We know from long history what devastation this will go on causing for decades. Laos, which had more tonnage of bombs dropped on it than on Germany and Japan in the Second World War, is nearly the poorest country on Earth. There are estimated to be 30 million unexploded cluster bomblets still lying around, still claiming victims after 30 years. A huge number of Vietnam’s children are born deformed still, four generations later, from the effects of Agent Orange."

"It is time we made our government change from being a machine for making war to being a facilitator for building peace. Peace has to be built it is not just a matter of absence from war. We need a governmental department which is dedicated to cultivating peace. It should make it its business to know about areas of potential conflict in the World and work to resolve these non-violently. 

It should work with the UN. It should be ready to send assistance to trouble spots in the world with the express purpose of protecting civilian life and helping societies stabilise themselves . It should promote and use the International Courts. It should restrain the arms industry."

"This is where I want the proportion of my taxes which is spent on military preparations to be spent. It should be a choice for everyone. It is taken for granted that we contribute taxes for military preparations.


This is conscription by proxy because we live in a world where civilian men are no longer required for military service. Advances in technology and the speed with which decisions to go to war are made, make this an outmoded act.


Our government has shown it is prepared to go to war without the majority of opinion behind them, either at home or worldwide and British citizens have been involved, largely against their will, through their taxes."

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"We should each have the right to have that part of our taxes spent on the military diverted to peace building activities. I want to live under a government which pro-actively seeks to resolve conflicts long before they escalate into war. 


I want to live under a government which goes out of its way to deal with tyranny – around the world – by legal means through the International Court, in ways which impact on the tyrant, not their victims. 


I want to live under a government which leads us from dependancy on oil to becoming an energy efficient society, which uses scarce resources wisely and considerately. I want to live under a government which supports and contributes to a World Community under the United Nations, not tyranny of another kind under the New World Order."

"I am appalled by the huge amount of money spent on the military, which is ultimately only going to create misery, death and destruction. At best it is simply wasted. A non-violent conflict resolution programme is urgently needed. If a fraction of the money spent on military preparations was spent looking for the alternatives; training people as peace negotiators; solving the problems which lead to conflict and resolving conflicts before they escalate into violence we would go far along the road to abolishing war.


I think this is a realistic goal - to make war a thing of the past. It only needs for us to break from the habitual mind set that war is inevitable and unavoidable to believe this is so. People are not natural killers, soldiers have to be trained to make them capable of killing.


The norm is that people want to be at peace. Having the right to conscientiously object to taxes being spent on war preparation and instead directed to non-violent conflict resolution would enable citizens to influence the way our country approaches conflict in the world."

What have his conscience led him to do?

1993 Joined Conscience
2002 September - Wrote to Michael Ancram MP and the Prime Minister Inspector of Taxes voicing objections to Iraq war and urging restraint 
2003 March/May - Wrote to Prime Minister and Inland Revenue stating intention to reserve tax 
October - First court hearing regarding reserved tax for 2001-2 (North and West Wiltshire Magistrates Court); defence submitted; payment order obtained; currently awaiting collection of withheld amount by bailiffs 
Robin's first opportunity to withhold tax was in 2003 when he received a direct income tax demand for the first time in many years. Up to that point he was on PAYE and of course it is almost impossible for anyone to withhold under that system.


At the same time there was the possibility of war in Iraq Robin held off paying and wrote about his concerns to Tony Blair. In February when war was inevitable, Robin made the decision to withhold, writing to the Inland Revenue, the Prime Minister, his MP and the media and others to explain his standpoint. He was summoned before a Magistrates court in October 2003 and ordered to pay in three months. In January 2004 the IR obtained a distress warrant. At present Robin awaits the arrival of the bailiffs. 

2004 - Bailiffs arrive. Robin held a civil conversation with him as he unpinned the £10 bank notes from his wall display, which read; "Every 10 seconds Britain spends this much in occupying Iraq". 

2005 January - Bailiff calls without taking the matter to Magistrate's Court and threatens to distrain goods. He leaves after stating that he would refer the matter to the County Court.February - County Court summons received.

April - County Court appearance, well supported . Judge notes strong support in court and genuineness of feelings but orders Robin to pay in three weeks.

May - Payment under protest. 30 march through Swindon main shopping precinct carrying placards, Robin carries a mock drain. They all ceremoniously put the money down the drain outside the IR offices.

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