The Religious Society of Friends doesn’t take a party-political stance. However, in common with other faith groups, Quakers seek to bring into focus the social concerns that touch upon our core values.
In 2019, the political climate across the UK is fractured and febrile, with unhelpful, aggressive and sometimes derisory language being used by politicians and in the public realm in general. Into this conflicted atmosphere, Quakers wish to recall people to the fundamental issues that we believe should be governing our politics, as well as the manner in which that politics is performed.
The following series of statements was released in November 2019 by Quaker Peace and Social Witness, an organ of the Religious Society of Friends in Britain (Britain Yearly Meeting) to set out how the values that shape Quakerism can contribute to the content and character of our present political discourse.
In 2011, Quakers in Britain made a commitment to become a low-carbon community, recognising that climate breakdown is a symptom of a greater challenge: how to live sustainably and justly on this earth.
We call on any future government to implement far-reaching climate policies that will make our society fairer and greener.
Our unequal and unjust society creates the conditions for crime to thrive. People harmed by crime are often poorly served by the UK dependency on policing, prosecution and punishment.
We call on all political parties to invest in the welfare of our state and adopt a rehabilitative approach to harm-doing.
Quakers in Britain believe that the policies that make the UK a ‘hostile environment’ to both newcomers to this country and long-term residents who are deemed ‘other’ must not only be ended – they must be reversed.
We call on any future government to create a culture of welcome, and enable freedom of movement for all.
Peace and disarmament
Quakers in Britain continue to campaign for the UK government to sign the UN’s Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. As of September 2019, 79 states have signed the Treaty and 33 have ratified it. Any future government must take the step of signing this treaty in order to protect all natural life on our planet.
We also call for an end to the UK’s profit-led complicity with the international weapons trade, a source of suffering and destruction to millions of people
The UK’s divisions have been made clear by Brexit. While they existed before 2016, they have only grown worse as politicians dismiss rises in hate speech and hate crime.
We call on politicians to avoid hurtful language, and ‘not allow the strength of your convictions to betray you into making statements or allegations that are unfair or untrue.’