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the Friend INDEPENDENT QUAKER JOURNALISM SINCE 1843
CONTENTS VOL 169 NO 16 3 Scottish and Welsh elections 4 Israeli peace activist murdered 5 Noel’s story Mike Golby 6 Boycotting Israel:
Quaker action is justified Stuart Yates 7 A Quaker boycott Sarah Lawson 8-9 Letters 10-11 A perspective on the eternal Howard Grace 12-13 Rowntree Visionary:
Clive Stafford Smith Rosemary Hartill 14 Carnival day Dai Jenkins 15 Piero della Francesca’s ‘Resurrection’ A M Rossett 16 Q-eye 17 Friends & Meetings
Quakers were among the demonstrators at the World Day for Animals in Laboratories on 16 April in Manchester. They were supported by QCA patron André Menache, veterinarian, expert in regulatory toxicology and director of AntidoteEurope. A protest march was held at the event on Saturday. Protesters marched past some of Manchester University’s animal laboratories and, finally, moved into Albert Square in front of the town hall where calls were made for the abolition of animal experiments. The photo shows, from left, Ros Lowther, treasurer of QCA, Heswall Local Meeting, Marian Hussenbux, clerk, Birkenhead Local Meeting, and André Menache.
arian courtesy: M
Cover image: Daffodils at Windermere. Photo: Val Corbett.
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the Friend, 22 April 2011 Scottish and Welsh elections
The Scottish parliament building in Edinburgh.
Quakers in Scotland are calling on candidates in the upcoming Holyrood elections to put economic justice at the heart of their policies. South-East Scotland Area Meeting have produced a model letter for Friends to send to candidates about the impact of cuts and the gap between rich and poor.
The Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish elections are due on 5 May, along with local council elections and the UK-wide referendum on electoral reform.
Scotland General Meeting have posted the model letter on their website, allowing Friends to send it to candidates as it is or use it as a guide to write their own.
‘Reducing inequality is a spiritual imperative for Quakers,’ states the letter, ‘but there is also evidence that it is actually in everyone’s interests to make society more equal.’
The letter recognises ‘that the budget deficit cannot be allowed to grow indefinitely’. It suggests that some cuts would be welcome, such as an end to the Trident nuclear programme and to ‘keeping minor offenders in prison for ineffective short sentences’.
It, however, adds that the poorest will be hardest hit by the cuts and calls for increased progressive taxation.
‘It’s absolutely vital that you go out and exercise your vote,’ said Alex Cole-Hamilton of Central Edinburgh Meeting, who is contesting Edinburgh Central for the Liberal Democrats.
He told the Friend that he sees the gap between rich and poor as a key issue in this election. He insisted that Liberal Democrats in the UK government had helped to reduce the gap by raising the income tax threshold.
Asked about Quakers campaigning against the cuts, Alex Cole-Hamilton agreed that Friends should engage with candidates over the issue. But he added: ‘I hope that it won’t just be a blind judgment to say “the cuts are wrong”, unless you’ve got a Plan B.’
He argued that Labour would also have made large cuts and he accused the Greens and Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) of ‘not dealing with the deficit’.
Pam Currie, a Quaker contesting the Highlands and Islands for the SSP, argued that ‘there is an alternative to the cuts’. She called for ‘the redistribution of wealth, through a tax system which makes the rich pay their share, and through the public ownership of land and other resources’.
Quakers were among those who drafted a ‘Church Leaders’ Statement’ signed by Christian groups in Scotland. Leslie Stevenson has signed it as a ‘representative Friend’.
‘Elections are community events in which “my” vote is not only for me but also an opportunity for each of us to express the needs of the whole community,’ declares the ecumenical statement.
Action for Churches Together in Scotland (ACTS) have suggested that faith groups consider holding ‘speed hustings’ or ‘virtual hustings’ instead of, or as well as, more traditional election events. Miriam Yagud of Nailsworth Meeting, who is standing as a Green candidate for Stroud District Council, said that politics is a matter for everyone. She told the Friend that she has sometimes come across Friends drawing an ‘artificial divide between spiritual people and political people’.
‘The key issue is participatory democracy,’ she insisted. ‘People have a right to have a say in the decisions that are made about them.’
Symon Hill the Friend, 22 April 2011