Letters - 10 December 2021

From QCEA and dismissal to Belief

QCEA and dismissal

Rebecca Hardy’s report (26 November) on the Quaker Council for European Affairs’ (QCEA) dismissal of its general secretary, Timmon Wallis, raises some very disturbing issues. Rebecca quotes Jeremy Lester, clerk of QCEA’s Executive Committee, that the decision to dismiss Wallis was ‘taken rightfully’, but ‘there were lessons to be learned from this episode, and that they should be worked on without delay’. This appears to us to be a weak attempt at a cover-up.

One of the core principles of natural justice is the right to a fair hearing, conducted according to due process. From what we have learned, Timmon Wallis was dismissed following allegations made against him in a letter from members of QCEA staff.

We are not aware that he was given proper notice of the nature of these allegations before being called to a meeting where he was dismissed.

In no way can such a procedure be considered ‘rightful’. It was contrary to the basic canons of natural justice. Perhaps the main ‘lessons to be learned’ is that due process should be followed – and this includes making sincere efforts to evaluate the basis of evidence upon which allegations are made, ensuring that the target of such allegations has proper notice of the nature of such charges, and the time to prepare a response.

It is deeply disturbing and shaming to us, as members of the Society of Friends, that QCEA – ‘an important part of Quaker witness’, according to Jeremy Lester – should fail to respond constructively to the plea from Timmon Wallis for ‘a fair and impartial investigation into allegations that got me fired, and to be reinstated if those allegations were found to be false’.

Andrew Rigby
Rebecca Vincenzi
Ruth Vincenzi
Carol Rank
Ruth Overy

Military and climate crisis

I would like to endorse the letter from Jan Arriens (26 November). The situation with the military is even worse than that of the existing military forces. The Pentagon’s new strategy of war from satellites in space, a ‘high speed kill web’ around the earth, will build up emissions.

The US is planning underwater sonar which is creating a ‘marine holocaust’, killing whales and other marine life which sequester carbon. For more information on this go to YouTube where Koohan Paik-Mander gives a presentation on ‘US Militarism, Space Tech, and the Climate Crisis’.

Governments cannot have it both ways. They, and this includes the UK, cannot build up the military and at the same time claim to be genuinely reducing carbon emissions.

The UK government and the opposition parties should be planning to reduce military spending, starting with cancelling the replacement of the Trident nuclear armed submarines which will cost £205 billion. Even with the costs of decommissioning, this will leave billions for combatting climate change and for health and welfare.

Rae Street

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