100 years since the Military Service Act was passed

by Outreach ~ January 27th, 2016. Filed under: News.

100 years ago today the Military Service Act was passed in Parliament. This Act simultaneously introduced compulsory military service and the inclusive right to conscientious objection in Britain for the first time. Today marks a milestone moment in the history of individual freedoms.

An article in the Guardian today discusses the relevance of this centenary to the modern day, suggesting that it may seem valuable only from a historical perspective. This is because we no longer have conscription in this country, and modern day weapons in theory guarantee that conscript armies are a thing of the past.

However, many argue that it is precisely these factors which make conscientious objection so relevant today – as modern, technological warfare is made possible by our money. This argument is summed up perfectly by one Conscience supporter when stating ‘It is taken for granted that we contribute taxes for military preparations. This is conscription by proxy because we live in a world where civilian men are no longer required for military service.’

The Guardian article goes on to consider that progress in the democratic nature and individual rights in regards to waging war have been accompanied by a regression to ever more powerful and inhumane methods of destruction, from poison gas to the threat of nuclear genocide.

It is this warfare that, 100 years on, we still do not have the individual freedom of voluntary consent. It is paid for by a substantial amount of each individual’s taxes.

If you support the right of conscientious objection to military tax, please register as a conscientious objector on our website https://conscienceonline.org.uk/register-yourself-as-a-conscientious-objector/

On March 2nd, the Centenary of the Military Service Act coming into force, Conscience will be holding a parliamentary launch of our Taxes For Peace Bill. For more information visit our Facebook event page or reserve a ticket on EventBrite here

Read the Guardian Article here

Back to top