Diverting military money
Your correspondent Mr. Schneider (NI No. 108) is concerned that success in this campaign could establish a similar right to divert taxes from education, welfare or foreign aid, should the taxpayer so wish.
The two cases are not similar. The right to conscientious objection to military service was established in Britain in 1916 and one of the arguments of the Peace Tax Campaign is that the present taxation system effectively removes part of this right from the taxpayer.
No such objection to education or foreign aid is recognised and so it would not be reasonable to extend the argument to these uses of taxes.
I hope that many New Internationalist readers would wish their taxes to be used for more positive purposes than armaments.
To refuse use of one's taxes for a purpose one regards as utterly evil is a matter of conscience which a democratic government should respect. The same could hardly be claimed for any of the other purposes for which taxes are required. One might disagree with policies, but one could hardly brand any of them as utterly immoral.
The Editor replies: Many readers have written to us in this vein. The Peace Tax Corporation address is 26 Thurlow Rd, Leicester LEZ lYE, U.K. See also NI No. 106, page 4.
Protect in June and survive
A special UN Session on disarmament, convened over five weeks in 1978, produced agreement between leaders of 123 Member States 'to abandon the use of force in international relations and to seek security in disarmament. The ending of the arms race and the achievement of real disarmament are tasks of primary importance and urgency'.
In view of the lack of response since then and indeed the increased escalation of recent months, the UN has planned another Special Session in June of this year. Millions will take to the streets around the globe to voice their anger that a perilous knife-edge existence continues to threaten our future. We have not inherited this earth from our forefathers, we have borrowed it from our children. I urge all readers to add their voices to the world-wide outcry in June.
Racism in the media
Take, for example, an article appearing in the London Guardian today (March 27) reporting on research carried out by the Dept. of Social Work Studies at Newcastle University among 400 seven-year olds. The research purports to prove that seven year olds are not keen on making friends with children of other races and is apparently based entirely on children's answers to questions about whom they like to mix with.
As a Headmaster, I have rarely come across such poisonous claptrap. Seven-year-olds in my experience are anxious to please, and are likely to supply the kind of answers they deduce adults want to hear, not what they really feel. What they say, normally based on 'playing safe' is observably different from what they do.
If such a parody of reality has to be reported, it should have been relegated to the ignominy of Pseuds Corner, not given the respectability of fact by 'straight' reporting or sensationalised by the heading 'How race divides the classroom'.
Come on, NI - waging monthly war on press bigotry like this must be part of your brief in future, and as Private Eye has found, ridicule not indignation is the most powerful weapon.
NI’s one true faith
I must confess to being more challenged by the Guardian to consider the state of my fellow man or face up to some of the not so pleasant implications of my Western world-view, because it has the courage and wisdom, to present a range of viewpoints while the NI has firmly opted for the 'one true faith'. Consequently, the best of your articles become tainted with the flavour of propaganda.
In the issue on Sri Lanka (NI No. 105), for instance, the commendable interview with the President is distorted by the editorial intrusion 'See "Life after Liptons" on page 18 of this issue' which implies that we shouldn't be too quick to accept the President's word on this issue. But when we look up the article as instructed, the President's point is not answered so much as evaded in emotionally loaded phrases - 'such comparisons are fatuous and dangerously divisive'.
My renewed subscription is really a 'donation' for I doubt if I shall continue reading this magazine while it tends to tell me how to think, rather than provide me with the information to aid my own thinking.
Not 'plain barmy' charity?
Mr Knight from Guernsey in your February edition (NI No. 108) is plainly unaware that since 1601 education itself - irrespective of whether poor scholars are being educated or not - has been regarded as a charitable purpose.
As a result many benefactors have been encouraged to give gifts to schools and colleges to the great benefit of thousands of children. The independent schools, which are not run for profit, and save England and Wales £500 million pounds a year, are fully entitled to the benefits of such status.
To suggest otherwise is to allow party politics to dictate the terms of charitable status.
Tim Devlin, Director
A job for Keith
In NI No. 107, Keith Wood described his fruitless offer to voluntary agencies of his services as a qualified mechanic in the Third World.
Instead of offering to repair the vehicles himself, could he not become a mechanical engineering teacher, training local people? I notice V.S.O. is requesting science teachers.
Save the dolphin too
The Taiyo Corporation was deeply involved with the pirate whaler The Sierra.
The killing of dolphins at Iki is particularly horrifying. A few weeks ago, because of the approach of the conservationist ship Sea Shepherd II, the Japanese Government promised to stop killing dolphins at Iki. But on 17 March it was announced by a BBC foreign correspondent that the fishermen at Iki had decided to start the killing again, in spite of the promise from their Government.
If it were possible to connect the company that is involved in the dolphin meat industry with a company that is known and operates in the West, then it might be possible to exercise pressure on them in the form of boycotting their goods, whether cars, televisions, cameras or whatever.
I found your article ‘Distant Lures’ (page 26, July 1981 — on Japanese companies activities in the water around the Pacific Islands) extremely relevant.
I do find your magazine especially stimulating and revealing: it covers important subjects ignored by the rest of the media
Violating the babymilk code
In Pakistan, Ostermilk, Meiji and P.7.F are advertised on television; also Glaxo advertise babyfoods like Farex, so that poor people buy these things instead of using good local foods.
Dr Gillian Burton