Jan Arriens and Gerald Hewitson from the Quaker Truth and Integrity Group write…
The world has entered a deeply troubling phase. Standards of truth and integrity in politics, public and commercial life and social media are being undermined to the extent that democracy itself is under threat. Many of those in power seem to act with impunity, disregarding facts and scientific findings. Respect for the judiciary is being undermined and trust in our institutions is threatened. Recent resetting in Westminster has not rescinded legislation which seeks to protect the legislature and its members from detailed scrutiny, or the ability of ordinary citizens to express public concern through protest.
All this is set against a backdrop of the climate emergency and increasing inequality and polarisation.
It was in response to this need that the Quaker Truth & Integrity Group (QTIG) was set up as a national Quaker body in Britain in March 2022. Truth and integrity have been at the heart of the Quaker movement for over three hundred and fifty years. As people of faith, we seek a world transformed, where compassion, equality, truth and integrity are guiding principles.
QTIG has committed itself to:
- upholding standards of honesty and integrity in our lives and organisations;
- acknowledging that the majority of those in public life/politics are people of goodwill and finding ways of working respectfully with them on ‘kinder ground’;
- working towards a system of truly inclusive, participative democracy, where people feel their wishes and needs are truly respected and taken into account;
- encouraging constitutional reform and strengthening systems of accountability;
- promoting higher standards of truth within the media, including social media.
We wholeheartedly endorse the “Nolan principles”. We believe the principles of selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership should continue to govern public life. To that end, we are organising a national Quaker Truth and Integrity Award to recognise exceptional contributions to public life.
Seeking ecumenical partners
Whilst we are a Quaker body, Quakers do not claim sole virtue in this regard. Truth and integrity are at the heart of a faithful life. Since we believe that people of faith have a unique contribution to this cause – a particular voice in this concern – we are looking to find partners, people from all across the political spectrum who are of good faith and goodwill, to engage together in this urgent and vital work of transformation. Could that be you?