Sunday, 11 November 2018

Freedom Poem

At the Remembrance day service in Ipswich today, a number of veterans mentioned a poem, read by a student from the University. For many it was the first time they had heard it however for many it described best what they felt their service in the forces was all about.

Freedom poem
by Charles Province
It is the soldier, not the reporter
who has given us the freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet
who has given us the freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the peace cam organiser
who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier, who serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag,
who allows the protester to burn the flag.
it is the soldier, not the politician
who has given his blood, his body, his life.
The Soldier, who has given us these freedoms.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Our Regiment, our Rifleman, we will not forget them

Belgium and Northern France - 1914 - 1918 - many Rifleman lost their lives, some were never found - we must never forget them, they are part of our Rifles family

We are still losing Rifleman now - not just in combat but afterwards - veterans for World War II, Korea, Malaya, Borneo, N Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan - some from injuries they received both physical and mental - suicide is now one of the biggest killers of veterans - I am not sure any Government will do enough for our veterans, so it is up to us, the Rifles family to look after our own.

Our young people get it

Last week, I took a group of 43 young pupils to Belgium and Northern France, to learn about the sacrifices made by many during World War I, and the simple fact is that these young people get it - they see that war is futile, but for what ever reason when we get older - we seem to forget it - and we learn to hate- as seen by the tragic events in Pittsburgh yesterday.

We are quick to say - 'we will remember' - we now need to act rather than just say those words. the young get it, so should we.

Monday, 22 October 2018

Still behind in the polls- why?

Today the Tory Party seem to be in self destruct mode however they increase their lead over the Labour Party in the polls - why?

Theresa may is also still ahead - by a long in the polls, when asked who would make a better Prime Minister.

So many would then deduce the only problem labour has - is to dump Corbyn as leader - but that is not the solution.

A new leader would almost certainly be one appointed by Corbyn and they would win any leadership election at a canter - the Corbyn support is solid and organised and it may be childish to call it a 'cult' but their behaviour at times does make it seem almost cultish.

Brexit is difficult for  both Labour and the Tories, but Labour are more united on Europe - the PLP, MPs, the membership, activists are mainly very keen on remaining in Europe however many of our voters do want us to leave and voted to do so and Jeremey has in the past been a prominent Euro sceptic so for many of us it is hard to believe he has suddenly changed his views.

On Saturday, almost 700,000 people marched through London demanding a second vote on Europe, a number of MPs attended, thousands of members and many Corbyn supporters attended but Jeremy himself was in Switzerland.

What ever he did, he would have been criticised, however a more sensible course of action would have been just to have a day off in his constituency, but he chose to go to Switzerland and then get the party to promote the visit and his part in the campaign to get Pinochet sent back to Chile. His other action was also to pressurise the Shadow Cabinet not to attend the march.

I fear for the party, not just because of Corbyn, Brexit or even the poor polls but because the way many of Corbyn's loudest supporters used social media to attack those who went on the march, often taking their lead from George Galloway!

Hypocrisy, seems to be the key word when talking about Corbyn and his followers, they attacked the marchers because they were white middle class - I suggest they take a closer look at the majority of our new Labour Party members - white middle class.

They just do not seem to get it, many are new to the party but when you look at many of those close to Corbyn and in lead roles with Momentum, you see the same people who have been hanging round the far left fringes of the Labour Party for years.

Even with may hanging on, Tory Brexit chaos, I can't see us closing the gap in the polls - a General Election would see a closing of the polls but we would probably see the return of a Tory Government. That would be a disaster for the British people, however another coup in the party would only see Corbyn get stronger- so what do we do? We now have to rely on the Shadow Cabinet, John McDonnell and the unions - they are the only ones who can say it can't go on like this - this is not a cult, this is not just about one person - it should all be about electing a Labour Government.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Time for Ipswich to stay strong

"We must all share our responsibility to stop the knife violence- parents, schools, police, councils. Young people need to know that carrying a knife makes them MORE likely to be a victim- we need zero tolerance of knives and maximum support for vulnerable young people"

This was a tweet from our Labour MP for Ipswich, Sandy Martin after the fatal stabbing of Tavis, a young lad from the Racecourse Estate in Ipswich.

Just over 2 weeks ago Tavis was murdered in South East Ipswich and since then the town has seen two further stabbings with the latest incident also in South East Ipswich when a young lad was stabbed in front of diners at a McDonald's.

We have known for a while that we had young people involved in the drug trade that was helping fuel a gang war between at least two groups of teenagers, we had seen the warning signs and we knew action was needed to be taken. Some may say we must have failed after the murder of Tavis and the two further stabbings but the plan we have put into practice is no short term fix, it will take more than a few months to solve the drug fuelled problems that our town is experiencing. It may take years.

The problems we suffer from are not just an Ipswich problem, towns all over the county are experiencing the same issues, villages to cities, all over the UK are seeing an increase in youth violence related to the selling of drugs.

That does not mean Tavis and his friends have not been let down by many of us, education standards in Suffolk are not good enough, aspiration seems a dirty word for many of our younger residents. Academies have worked in some places and failed in others however what is certain is the increase in the amount of academies has seen the County Council lose any close links they had with many in he education system.

But we can't just turn this into a blame game, that wail not help the people of Ipswich, as Sandy stated we all have a responsibility and it has been good to see the Police, the County Council and ourselves at the Borough work together to help in the short term make our residents feel safer but also to put into action plans that will see our communities build up their own resilience and enable them to run schemes that they want which will help them, their children and their neighbours.

Some will see this as an opportunity to score cheap political points or push forward their own agendas, every day I hear people calling for the scrapping of 'Stop and search' whilst others are calling for an increase in it, both should leave the operational decisions on the use of 'Stop and search' to the police, they know more than any of us that in the past it has not worked and that it can alienate a community and that if you do need to use it, must be backed up by very good intelligence.

I am the portfolio holder for community safety so I am very concerned with the situation , I have been working hard to push forward our action plan to combat gang violence however I do ask myself if I could have done more, was I taking it for granted that the problem would not escalate out of control? One local Tory did accuse me of being in control of a 'crumbling' portfolio, the comment was not unexpected, but I was disappointed for our Council staff who have been working hard for a long time to improve community safety and for the last two weeks have been putting in very long hours to help our communities. Most of them are Ipswich residents, fellow parents who are also worried about their own families and friends. I have total faith in them to continue their good work, which will help make our residents safer. they certainly are no part of a crumbling 'portfolio'.

I of course wonder how we have got into a position where young people feel they have no future, I remember joining the army and watching a lad from Priory winning  the Army boxing championship, in the seventies many young lads (and to a lesser extent girls) left Ipswich to join the forces, spending from 3 to 22 years away from the town but returning in most cases a better person and in most cases then setting a great example to their friends and siblings  of what you can do if you get the chance and if you put your mind to it. Unfortunately the forces recruiting is down, the process is too long and minimum educational requirement's means that many of our young people who would most benefit from time in the army will never get that opportunity.

The last two weeks have been hard for our town, but we must stay strong, for each other and for all Ipswich residents, there is an obvious desire for all groups to work together, to regain the trust of our constituents and make sure we ensure Ipswich is a safe place to live a place where aspiration should be something all our youngsters have rather than a word to describe others.

Monday, 7 May 2018

What has happened to our great Party, how have we let it become a home to anti-Semitism

Even some on the left, such as Owen Jones are now admitting that our party, the Labour Party has an anti-Semitism problem and as Owen sates maybe a bigger problem is that many on the left will accuse those of standing up to the anti-Semites as 'exaggerating' the problem, 'making it up' or it is being weaponised as a tool to defeat Corbyn.

2 weeks before the election, I accompanied over 200 young people from the East of England on a one day trip to Poland, to visit Auschwitz.

The visit is moving, emotional, thought provoking - but it also made me very angry - anger at that our party has become a safe haven for holocaust deniers and Jew haters. It was sad that I could not even write this post till after the local election as I would have been accused by some in my own party of harming our election chances, of making a slur against the peace loving, friendly uncle Jeremy Corbyn.

In Poland, it was also interesting to visit the town of Oswiecim, to learn how the non Jews of the town reacted when their neighbours and friends were rounded up by the  Germans in 1939, and also to see how the Poles are dealing with their party in the holocaust - and I would say, they are not dealing with it very well. Auschwitz is the name that we may remember but the camp of that name was the place that many Poles were murdered, priests, homosexuals, communists, freedom fighters as well as Jews. Our Polish guide made sure we learnt that but of course most of the Jews killed in that camp were also Polish, but it was shocking to see that Poles and Polish Jews were spoken about as two different sets of victims.

Many visiting Auschwitz, often with relatives who were murdered here are also not ahppy that the Polish Government charge for entry to the camp and that a tourist trade has grown up around the site. However the same could be said of the 'Killing Field's' in Cambodia or even the 9/11 site.

It was in the next village in the camp of Birkenau that the worst crimes against the Jewish population occurred, the murder of millions of innocent people, their only crime in being they were different to others. To visit with so many young people was moving but also gives one hope, and to be selfish, I hope some of those young people become members of our party as I am sure they will have little time for the likes of Livingstone or Walker.

What has this to do with Corbyn, you may ask? Because it is under his leadership that we have become a home for some of those anti- Semites. I am no fan of the current Israeli Government, their treatment of the Palestine people can not be excused, but we seem to have a large number of members whose belief in the Palestine cause makes them unable to accept we have an anti-Semitism problem in the party. Corbyn has always been a supporter of the Palestine people and that is not a problem, however his willingness to listen to those in Hamas at times will always make some feel unhappy with his leadership and as with his other friends at 'Stop the War', support of Palestine and being anti-Israel is just another way of being anti-west, anti-America.

Corbyn is the one person who can put a stop to this problem, not for one second do I believe Jeremy is anti-Semitic , but it his silence that is damaging the party, Marc Wadsworth, in my opinion was rightfully thrown out of the party, but we have had no comment from our leader. It understandable that it will be hard for him as he ahs known Marc for may years. But just a short statement supporting the panel decision to expel him would have sent a clear message to both members and to the Jewish community but instead we have nothing from him and then we have one of his cronies, Chris Williamson promoting a campaign to raise funds so Wadsworth can sue his own party.

Corbyn could also be truthful in saying where the blame really lies with the delay in implementing the Chakrabarti report - instead of blaming the former General Secretary, admit the delay lies in his own office.

Our European MEPs organise and run trips to the European Parliament, might be an idea with a similar scheme from the party, subsidised trips to Auschwitz - each one accompanied by MPs, members of the Front Bench - a reminder (one that should not be needed) of what happens when you let people in your own party turn against others, just because they are different.

I am not a fan of Corbyn and do worry if he would be an effective Prime Minister, but I will still be out campaigning every weekend for a future Labour Government but I will also call him and his supporters out if they do nothing about the growing problem of anti-Semitism in our great party.

Abuse of moderate MPs, threats of de-selection, attacks on Jewish members, trolling by so called left win news sites - all could be stopped straight away if he spoke up - was forceful but by his silence it makes many think this about turning the party into a cult, becoming a middle class protest party not a party wishing to govern for all.

It would be easy to walk away but that is not what I an many others will do, we need to stay in this party and act as a voice of reason or we could be stuck with a Tory Government for ever.

" we are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us" Jo Cox MP

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Pride in our town

We're on the march with Robson's army,
We're all going to Wembley,
And we're really shake them up,
When we win the FA Cup,
Cause Ipswich are the greatest football team!!