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The Peace Party of the United Kingdom

The November 2017 Budget and Spending on War Preparations (euphemistically called “defence”)

Phillip Inman reported in the ‘Guardian’ of 23rd November, 2017 that, “According to the latest data, the UK is the seventh-highest spender on “defence” worldwide (behind the US, China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, India and France).”

The government’s document, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/autumn-budget-2017-documents/autumn-budget-2017#contents shows “defence” spending in 2018-19 to be £49,000,000,000 (49 billion pounds)

Phillip Inman continues, “Capital spending of £178,000,000,000 (178 billion pounds) is also earmarked to fund projects such as the F-35 fighter and Dreadnought nuclear submarines”.

Were the Peace Party to have influence on the government, all such sums of money would not be being spent on the military way of trying to keep the country secure, safe and protected.  There are far better ways of doing this than preparing to kill and destroy and exposing the population in turn to death, injury and destruction.  Obeying the “golden rule” – of treating others as we wish to be treated ourselves – can never encompass killing other human beings.

Security, safety and protection can best come from building “The Pillars of Positive Peace”, as developed by the Institute of Economics and Peace.  The eight Pillars describe the attitudes, institutions and structures that underpin peaceful societies:

A.    Well-functioning Government

B.    Sound Business Environment

C.    Equitable Distribution of Resources

D.    Acceptance of the Rights of Others

E.    Good Relations with Neighbours

F.    Free Flow of Information

G.    High levels of Human Capital

H.    Low levels of Corruption

These are described in greater detail below and in the current “Positive Peace Report”.

a.    Well-functioning Government – one which delivers high quality public and civil services, engenders trust and participation, demonstrates political stability, and upholds the rule of law.

b.    Sound Business Environment – the strength of economic conditions as well as the formal institutions that support the operation of the private sector and determine the soundness of the business environment.

c.    Equitable Distribution of Resources – peaceful countries tend to ensure equity in access to resources such as education and health, as well as, although to a lesser extent, equity in income distribution.

d.    Acceptance of the Rights of Others where formal laws guaranteeing basic human rights and freedoms and the informal social and cultural norms that relate to behaviours of citizens serve as proxies for the level of tolerance between different ethnic, linguistic, religious, and socio-economic groups within the country. Similarly, gender equality and worker’s rights are important components of societies that uphold acceptance of the rights of others.

e.    Good Relations with Neighbours.  Peaceful relations with other countries are as important as good relations between groups within a country. Countries with positive external relations are more peaceful and tend to be more politically stable, have better functioning governments, are regionally integrated and have lower levels of organised internal conflict. This factor is also beneficial for business and supports foreign direct investment, tourism and human capital inflows.

f.    Free Flow of Information – Free and independent media disseminates information in a way that leads to greater openness and helps individuals and civil society work together. This is reflected in the extent to which citizens can gain access to information, whether the media is free and independent, and how well-informed citizens are. This leads to better decision-making and more rational responses in times of crisis.

g.    High levels of Human Capital – A skilled human capital base reflects the extent to which societies educate citizens and promote the development of knowledge, thereby improving economic productivity, care for the young, enabling political participation and increasing social capital. Education is a fundamental building block through which societies can build resilience and develop mechanisms to learn and adapt.

h.    Low levels of Corruption – In societies with high corruption, resources are inefficiently allocated, often leading to a lack of funding for essential services. The resulting inequities can lead to civil unrest and in extreme situations can be the catalyst for more serious violence. Low corruption can enhance confidence and trust in institutions.

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