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Candidate Interview: John Morris – The Peace Party

Published on: 26 Apr, 2015
Updated on: 27 Apr, 2015

Martin Giles of The Guildford Dragon NEWS has invited each of the parliamentary candidates for the Guildford constituency to take part in a short, ten question interview. Each response was limited to 100 words.

He has marked each response out of three for the directness and quality of the response, as he sees it. See if you agree. Marks have not been subtracted if a candidate appears to have diverged from his/her party policy but this may be mentioned.

John Morris, The Peace Party - Non-violence, Justice, Environment

John Morris – The Peace Party – non-violence, justice, environment.

John Morris

1. Isn’t more austerity necessary to tackle the deficit and the huge national debt? Aren’t more cuts and/or tax rises inevitable whichever government we get?

No, more austerity is not necessary.  The national debt belongs solely to the people of the UK – they, and their government, have complete control over it.  It should be written off immediately thus ending the “deficit” and all talk of austerity.

Neither cuts nor tax rises are inevitable as it is within the power of the people and its government to create money to fund services such as the NHS.  Clearly, the Peace Party would expect no money to be created to support the military.

Score 1 – Well certainly a direct answer – but simply writing off the national debt, refusing to pay those who the government had promised to pay back, would surely be morally wrong. It would also mean that our credit rating would go through the floor and we would be unable to borrow any more. This would severely curtail future government spending, including that on welfare, and impact on personal pensions – pension funds are one of the main buyers of government bonds. Simplistic nonsense in my book.

Peace-Party logo2. How can we afford to pay for the ever increasing demand on NHS services?

As already hinted at, there is no longer any finite crock of gold limiting the money supply. The quantity of money is in control of the people and their government. Money may be created to pay for the increasing demand on the National Health Service.

Score 1 – Yes let’s print a million pounds for every man, woman and child. We could all be millionaires. Similar measures have been tried in some countries where as a result only dollars are trusted as valued currency.

3. Would you put any limit on immigration or do you think the UK has the capacity to absorb the current net immigration figures of over 250,000 year on year?

I would put no limit on immigration as the imposition of limits creates discrimination and inequalities which the Peace Party abhors. Anyone wishing to enter the EU, including, of course, the UK, will thus be welcomed. However, at the same time as limits are removed, the UK government must be working incredibly hard with its partners in the EU and with fellow heads of government in the UN to ensure that those countries from which migrants come are receiving maximum support to ensure that no resident will be forced to flee from that country because of economic or social circumstances.

Score 1 – So a limitless population, including known terrorists and criminals – to go with a limitless money supply. Pity we have not got unlimited land, energy, water, houses, hospitals, schools, roads… I think you can guess what I think of this.

4. You are clearly a pacifist party? Do you believe in any right of self-defence involving the use of force, at any level?

The Peace Party owes its origin to the revulsion felt by its supporters against war and violence of any kind. It has realised, though, that peace is an activity to be engaged in, a process, that lies at the root of all human endeavour. Peace is about learning to treat others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Pacifists are not passive. If we – as individuals or as a society – are feeling the need to defend ourselves – with violence – then we have failed to manage relationships with others or groups. “Force” for us is the force of non-violence.

Score 1 – So is a mugging or rape victim at fault because they have “failed to manage a relationship”? John is a good, peaceful person who I like. I respect his courage to stand up for his beliefs. But unfortunately there are irrational, nasty, violent and greedy people around who I think we have a right to stand up to, even with force sometimes if there seems no other way.

5. If you were Guildford’s MP would you attend the Remembrance Sunday service?

That would depend on the nature of the service. A remembrance event is one where we remember all who have died and suffered as a result of war, including combatants and non-combatants alike, from every nation.  We remember those who have been ordered (indirectly by their governments) to kill fellow humans. But most of all we vow to work to bring about a culture of peace to our world, a peace which we recognise can never be brought about by violence and militarism. If the service can be based on peace principles, then I would, of course, attend.

Score 2 – A partly direct answer but the format of the Remembrance Sunday services is traditional and very well known. Personally I find them suitably solemn and reflective but not jingoistic. Nor do they glorify conflict. John has not said whether he would attend one as it is now.

6. Do you think that the UK should remain part of the EU?

The UK should remain part of the EU. It was founded as an organisation to ensure peace and, as such, should continue to work for peace and all the human values that underpin it, including equality, tolerance, fairness and solidarity. The EU is a very important step towards the creation of a unified world where everyone can co-operate with everyone else and where conflict can always be resolved using all techniques of non-violence, eliminating the vast waste of resources on the military. Of course, such a young organisation is not perfect but we can continue to bring it nearer to perfection – together.

Score 3 – A direct and reasoned response from John’s standpoint.

7. Given that neither the Conservatives or the Labour Party are likely to muster more than 40% of the votes cast do you think that “first past the post” is still the best and fairest electoral system? Under the current system isn’t voting for the Peace Party a waste of a vote?

This illustrates exactly why the current system is unfair. More people vote against the eventual government party than for it – no wonder most people are discontent with the outcome.

Voting for any non Tory candidate in Guildford could be construed as vote wasting. A lower than 50% support for the successful one will demonstrate the crying need for a better voting system – as well as a better representation in Parliament of a wider range of opinions. If Northern Ireland can manage the single transferable vote system in multi-member constituencies, then why not the rest of the UK?

Score 3 – A direct, well reasoned response.

8. Do you agree with the Guildford Residents’ Association that the house building target for Guildford borough should be between 300-350 rather than the 650 figure put forward by Guildford Borough Council in the draft Local Plan?

No, I don’t agree. Soaring house prices locally makes it clear that the supply of homes is far below demand. I shall be very pleased to see a massive fall in the value of our house if I know that everyone who wants and needs a home of their own is now living in one. There is space available for building within the urban area, even if it has to be multi-storey flats. There is adjacent green belt land of low landscape value and plenty of land beyond the green belt suitable for the construction of new, expanded villages and towns.

Score 2 – A clear answer but where will all the necessary building plots be found. High rise developments are unlikely to be welcomed by the majority of existing residents. As for “plenty of land beyond the green belt” – really – in 90% green belt Guildford borough? I don’t think so.

9. How do you rate the performance of Guildford Borough Council over the last four years?

I rate the performance of the council as good to very good in delivering its services.

Score 1 – Short and sweet but the council is about more than just collecting our rubbish and recycling.

10. Do you think that the UK should get rid of its nuclear weapons even if the majority of the electorate wants to keep them?

The Peace Party envisions a future where the country will have replaced weapons and the military with citizens fully educated in the use of all techniques of non-violence, ready to use to keep us safe and resolve conflict. The country will have left all military alliances and made its neutrality and peaceful approaches to every other nation abundantly clear to the world. Getting rid of nuclear weapons will be one of the first stages for the UK to demonstrate that it will be treating others in future as it wishes to be treated itself.

Score 2 – Well at least it is clear. The Peace party will scrap Trident even if most of us want to keep it.

What do you think of John Morris’ answers and of Martin Giles’ scoring and comments? Your view is just as important. Have your say by using the ‘Leave a Reply’ feature below.

Click here to see other candidate interviews.

These candidates are standing for the Guildford constituency in the general election:

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Responses to Candidate Interview: John Morris – The Peace Party

  1. Bernard Parke Reply

    April 26, 2015 at 9:20 pm

    We all want peace but unfortunately we have often had to fight for it.

  2. David Brown Reply

    April 26, 2015 at 11:17 pm

    This is astonishing.

    John is an intelligent man. Does Martin Giles seriously think he’s in a position to form a judgment on his answers without even asking him what they are based upon? Does he think he hasn’t considered the views expressed in his inane responses and rejected them?

    He does not have to agree with him, but he could at least do him the courtesy of leaving his answers to speak for themselves rather than presuming to ‘explain’ them to your readers, who might have understood what he was saying even if Mr Giles didn’t.

  3. Tommy Holgate Reply

    April 27, 2015 at 11:53 am

    To say ‘most of us’ want to keep Trident is at odds with a number of public opinion polls carried out by a series of sources, as listed here.

    Not many people, aside from those who would benefit financially from such a renewal, want to see the money that could be spent on hospitals and schooling going into this project.

    I wrote: “The Peace party will scrap Trident even if most of us want to keep it.” The “if” is of course important. A more recent poll reported in the Scottish Herald reported in January this year (2015): “The divide in opinion on nuclear weapons on either side of the border is evidenced in a YouGov poll for the Times, where 56% of UK respondents want to replace Trident compared with 42% in Scotland.” Martin Giles

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