Tuesday, July 07, 2009

TJN event in London Westminster, July 14th

TJN's John Christensen will be speaking at an event in London entitled “Our Taxes, our Lives” on the evening of July 14th, hosted by British Member of Parliament John McDonnell.

Click here for the programme. A description of the event is below.
“Let’s dismiss the notion that the choice facing voters next year will be between cuts and investment in public services. The real choice is of different views about the balance to be struck between tax rises and spending cuts – and where they should fall.” Steve Bundred, Chief Executive of the Audit Commission: The Observer July 5, 2009
Ministry for peace’s picture of a peaceful country is one where the citizens are at ease with one another; feel secure that their income puts food on the table, a roof over the head and a bit more; where they can be sure that any ill health will receive world-class treatment (and be free at the point of delivery) and where educational opportunities are open to all for people to make the best of their lives.

History shows that economic downturns can bring poverty and with it fear, insecurity, violence, hunts for scapegoats and even wars. Are such outcomes inevitable? Can they be prevented if governments can re-organise economic priorities to ensure that they do not happen?

We all know that whichever political party wins the next General Election the new government is going to have to deal with an unprecedented economic crisis. None of us wants Britain to become a more violent, divisive country and see cuts in living standards. But what should be cut, and what saved? Who should pay more taxes and who should be protected? We the public must have a voice in this debate. Spending decisions are financial but they are also moral; they are about values, identifying what and who, really matters.

ministry for peace is initiating an open, national debate to support our politicians in finding the best route through these difficult decisions to bring the most benefit to society and to do least harm. We are launching a year-long campaign: “Our Taxes, Our Lives” where we are bringing together national organisations defending public services and welfare benefits and national campaigners with cuts proposals that could bridge the public expenditure gap and reduce the possibility of disorder and suffering.

The launch meeting is being held on Tuesday 14th July in Parliament (details below).The speakers are Tony Benn, John Christensen (Tax Justice Network), Mark Serowtka (Public and Commercial Services Union) and John McDonnell, MP. We also anticipate having a speaker from the Institute for Public Policy Research’s ‘Human Security Commission’ where Lord Ashdown and former defence secretary Lord Robertson suggest that there ought to be a radical rethink of the way the UK finances defence, including greater emphasis on conflict prevention that could “save money, lives and political relationships” and a “reduced commitment to the full spectrum of conventional war fighting capability” Could savings here prevent cuts elsewhere? Where else do we need to look?

Come along on the 14th and join the debate. Initiate the debate in your area, with our help.

Best wishes

Diana Basterfield

Co-Founder, ministry for peace
Convenor, Our Taxes, Our Lives

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