This message was also sent to: Claude Moraes MEP, Gerard Batten MEP, Robert Evans MEP, Mary Honeyball MEP, Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP, Jean Lambert MEP, John Bowis OBE MEP, Syed Kamall MEP
Thursday 10 May 2007
Dear John Bowis OBE, Gerard Batten, Claude Moraes, Jean Lambert, Syed Kamall, Robert Evans, Charles Tannock, Mary Honeyball and Baroness Sarah Ludford,
I am one of your constituents, living in north-west London, and you are my representatives at the European Parliament. Apart from Jean Lambert, whom I have heard speak and who is well known for her green credentials, forgive me that I do not know what campaigns and causes
the rest of you are involved in, but I am hoping that the issue I raise here will strike a chord with at least one of you and that I shall have at least one reply.
I am a retired teacher and college lecturer, and so my income tax is deducted at source via PAYE. I am one of the millions of people who have demonstrated consistently against war, and are horrified that our hard-earned money is being creamed off at source to pay for military
weapons,the illegal invasion of Iraq and the deaths of innocent civilians. I no longer feel able to accept this system without challenging it. I have joined the campaign group 'Conscience' which is
advocating the right of European citizens to have that part of one's taxes currently devoted to killing, to be ring-fenced for a 'Peace Tax' devoted to positive mediation to prevent war, and compensation for victims of war. Some members of 'Conscience' have already taken this
matter in the European Court of Human Rights on the basis of Article 9 of the European Convention which protects 'our right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and to manifest that religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance.' I need to hear
from you, please,whether or not you are in support of this movement.
I shall be writing also to my British MP, but unfortunately she has voted consistently against investigating the Iraq War, so she is unlikely to ally herself to this critical cause.I do hope that MEPs are more enlightened.
(Mrs.) Helen Dymond
A response from Charles Tannock
Dear Ms Dymond
I do not support this "Conscience" movement or its fiscal philosophy nor does the UK Conservative Party to my knowledge in the UK House of Commons, which would anyway be in charge of direct UK taxation not the European Parliament of which I am a member. I do not believe in ring fencing direct taxes according to one's personal beliefs no matter how strongly or sincerely held (eg animal rights activists opposed to intensive farming, antinuclear protesteres opposed to nuclear power etc) as this would create an impossible precedent in which people would opt out of all sorts of things they did not like and demand their taxes back making government budgeting impossible! To my knowledge no country in the world upholds such an approach as you suggest. In a democrcay you vote for a party and only if it has majority control can it decide to change spending patterns, although I accept we politicians within reason
must be as sensitive to differing views as possible, but this would not in my view mean reducing funding of the armed forces which defend the security of the whole country. I regret I cannot be more helpful but doubt any responsible mainstream party could support such a policy.
Dr. Charles Tannock MEP
Deputy Coordinator Foreign Affairs Committee for EPP-ED Group
UK Conservative Foreign Affairs Spokesman
Office of Dr. Charles Tannock MEP
ASP 14 E 101
Tel: +32 2 28 45870 Fax: +32 2 28 49870 www.charlestannock.com
and another one from Peter Hulme
Dear Ms Dymond,
Thank you for your email.
My position on the British involvement in Iraq is as follows, copied from a posting on the internet in November 2004..
"I would have supported an allied invasion of Iraq, including the deployment of British Armed Forces, if this had been sanctioned by a United Nations Resolution. I am not a lawyer, but I do not believe there was a UN Resolution to this effect. I do not therefore support the Government's justification for sending our troops to Iraq.
My support for such a UN Resolution would be conditional upon the invasion being in the UK national interest, and a clear and unambiguous statement of the aims of an invasion from the outset.
I would consider UK national interest to include security of our borders; safety of British subjects overseas; protection of British economic interests including free and fair international trade; and the upholding of international law to promote peace and stability. I would
not be in favour of interference in the internal affairs of another sovereign state unless these principles are at stake."
There have always been people who oppose war and refuse to fight in one for various reasons. In WWII such persons often became medical personnel, stretcher bearers, etc. In more modern times, the proposal has been to withhold a proportion of one's taxes. I think this will be
difficult when one's taxes are taken under the PAYE system, but I can only applaud you for trying.
Peter Hulme Cross
One London Group
Tel:- 020 7983 4919
www.onelondon.org.ukand one just in from the Lib Dems
16th May 2007
Dear Ms Dymond,
Thank you for your email dated 10th May 2007 regarding taxes. I am replying on behalf of my colleagues at the London Assembly, Sally Hamwee, Dee Doocey, Graham Tope and Mike Tuffrey.
Thank you for your interesting thoughts on taxes but unfortunately taxation is a matter for Westminster not the London Assembly, so we have no powers over this subject.
We do however sympathise with your concerns. We can confirm that the Liberal Democrats in parliament voted against the horrific Iraq war, and that Ming Campbell has in the past called for early withdrawal of UK troops backed up by re-energised talks and negotiations with Middle Eastern powers.
Thank you for writing to us.
Geoff Pope AM
Liberal Democrat Assembly Member