Spring Walk 2014: Edinburgh to Faslane
The Spring Walk for Peace will set off from the Scottish Parliament on April 1, 2014, and reach its destination – Faslane Nuclear weapons base – on April 7, 2014. Join the walk for any time you are available – for a few hours, days or for the whole week.
Wool Against Weapons
Taxpayers Against Poverty
Taxpayers Against Poverty was founded through the following letter from Paul Nicolson (an associate of the Iona Community), published in the Guardian on 16th February, 2012:
A taxpayers’ alliance to promote social justice, by Paul Nicolson
Ministers at the Department of Work and Pensions repeat ad nauseam their mantra: ‘It is not fair for taxpayers to be asked to pay for the cost of spare bedrooms, or housing benefit which is high in central London because rents are high etc, etc.’ Therefore the poorest citizens are thrust into unmanageable debt by caps and cuts in housing benefit, possible eviction, forced migration, undue stress and misery. As a citizen who pays income and council tax, VAT and the excise duty on my evening glass of wine, I steam with indignation each time I am used by ministers to justify such draconian measures making people poorer.
I am glad my taxation is used to enable my fellow citizens, both in and out of work, to buy enough food, clothes, fuel, transport and other necessities, to pay council tax and the rent of secure homes, when they have no other means to do so; and bewildered by the short-sightedness of a policy which deliberately reduces the totally inadequate adult JSA of £67.50 a week by creating rent arrears, with debt-related mental health problems and high extra costs for a hard-pressed NHS.
The self-evident unfairness is the current policy of dumping national debt and deficit reduction on the incomes of the squeezed middle and poorest citizens, while the higher-paid taxpayers experience no financial inconvenience. Meanwhile the OECD reports that $11.5 trillion, including bonuses, is parked in overseas accounts and the Treasury is aware that £100bn of property in central London alone is registered overseas – both out of reach of the taxman. That really is unfair. I hope thousands will join Taxpayers Against Poverty (TAP) to say so loud and clear …
– Rev Paul Nicolson
On 5th April, 2014, TAP will be one of the groups protesting outside One Hyde Park, Knightsbridge: ‘Fight for justice and protest against the Bedroom Tax and against the real “something for nothing” culture’:
From Taxpayers Against Poverty:
On the first anniversary of the imposition of the Bedroom Tax, Unite Community and other London Groups concerned with poverty and injustice are calling people together to protest against this disastrous policy outside One Hyde Park, Knightsbridge.
These flats are known as the wealthiest residences in the world. They have many empty bedrooms. The owners do nothing to earn the vast annual increase in market value. That is the real ‘something for nothing’ culture. The 85 flats sell for billions, only a few are regularly lived in or pay any council tax. Most are registered in the name of mysterious companies based in offshore tax havens – one sold for £56 million and charges £2 a year rent.
Iona programme change: City of Sanctuary Week now Open Week
The City of Sanctuary programme that was set to begin 31 May at the Abbey has been cancelled and is now an Open Week. If you’re interested in coming to the Open Week – or to any other week at the Abbey, Mac or Camas in 2014 – please contact Carol at: [email protected]
It would be lovely to see you – and summer is coming.
Prayer and reflection
A peaceful land, by Kathy Galloway
When one hundred thousand people
met to march from Glasgow Green,
there were millions more walked with them,
a cloud of witnesses unseen,
from the past and from the future,
and the cry on every hand,
‘Not in our name do you go to war,
this must be a peaceful land.’
And how shall we teach our children
love of country, pride of place?
Shall we say, we once were heroes,
of a fiery, fighting race;
and forget the stains of violence –
people beaten, enslaved and banned?
Or shall we now be peacemakers
in a hospitable land?
From the Pentland to the Solway,
from the Forth down to the Clyde,
city streets and quiet places
and the turning of the tide;
shall we rise on wings of eagles
soaring over wave and sand,
never seeing beneath the surface
to the scars upon the land.
We are armoured and defended
like an empire dressed for war.
But we face no threat or peril
and we don’t know what it’s for.
‘Take the missiles from the waters’,
it’s our dream and our demand.
Turn the weapons into ploughshares,
give us back a peaceful land.
There’s a choice that lies before us.
How shall Scotland best be known?
For the glories of its history
and its loveliness alone?
Or shall care for all earth’s people
be the song for which we stand,
and the flowering of our nation
as a just and peaceful land.
– Kathy Galloway, from Gathered and Scattered: Readings and Meditations from the Iona Community, Wild Goose Publications