In this blog I will be giving my political opinions on both issues at home and abroad.
I will also focus on the issues that affect the people of Ipswich and in particular those who live in Rushmere Ward.
I will also try and give an insight to how I will be campaigning in Rushmere and Ipswich as we fight against the savage cuts imposed by this Tory Government
Tuesday, 3 November 2015
I will not be singing the National Anthem on Sunday
think a slightly strange and even maybe an attention seeking title for a blog
post but I believe I have no choice but to put down my fears for what may
happen on Sunday at not only the Ipswich Remembrance Parade but also for other
parades over the country.
Armistice Sunday has always been a big event
in my family and I guess for about the last 45 years I have always attended an
event (I’m 53). I started going to the Christchurch Park event with my late
father, first of all when he was a councillor and then when he carried the
standard for the Ipswich Branch of the Korean Veterans. The event in Ipswich in
the 70’s and 80’s had some similarities to the current parades but what was
missing then was the hundreds of Ipswich residents who now turn up to join in
When I joined the army in 1978 the event was
still quite low profile, we commemorated it on the 11th hour of the
11th day but the rest of the country just carried on their normal
working lives- unlike now and on the Remembrance Sunday, local events were
often low key with only the parades in London, Belfast and Edinburgh having
large crowds. The tide changed with the Armed Forces becoming both popular and
respected after they participated in the more recent conflicts in the Balkans,
the Gulf and Afghanistan.
It still cheers me to see all the families at
the Ipswich Cenotaph, sun, rain or shine that is what soldiers fought for to
enable the public to go out and enjoy a Sunday as a family but now it seems
politics has reared its ugly head and we have some sort of ‘poppy’ police
operating in this country.
Of course politics becoming involved
Remembrance is nothing new, we had it in between the wars, we had the white
poppy, one of the reasons the events became so low key in the 80’s was due to
threat of IRA attacks and protests by such groups as ‘Troops out’ and then we
had the furore over Michael Foot and his duffel coat.
It seems now that wearing a poppy is now a
‘must do’ and if you do not you are not a true Brit! What rubbish, the freedom to
do what you want, wear what you want is what the hundreds of thousands of
servicemen dies for in the Second World War. I wear my poppy with pride and it
helps me remember the friends I lost in conflict, in fact I wear a small metal
poppy all year but I don’t care if other people wear one or not, in fact it
disgusted me more that politicians are so worried about being seen without one
that Number 10 decided to photo shop a poppy on to the profile picture of David
But my real fear is this year it has become
even more of a political football because of our new Labour leader, Jeremy
Corbyn. I do not like some of the relationships, Jeremy has had in the past
with certain Irish groups, I am no great fan of the ‘Stop the war’ coalition
but I respect Jeremy for having his own views and I do not care if he wears a
red, white or no poppy at all. Now on Sunday I would expect him to wear a poppy
at the cenotaph as he is laying wreath on behalf of the Labour Party not
himself but we saw how Tory MP’s and the right wing press attacked Jeremy for
not singing the national anthem and so people will be watching closely on how
That same nasty attitude of certain Tory MPs
was then copied over the country by other Tories and here in Ipswich I was
attacked for not singing the National
Anthem at an event to commemorate the two men from Ipswich who won the
Victoria Cross in World War I, I actually felt very privileged to not only
attend the event but to be asked to speak and read out the two VC citations, I
did this wearing my Regimental blazer and wearing my medals but still that did
not stop certain Tories attacking me. They obviously decided the attacks on
Jeremy Corbyn by Tory MPs were worth repeating against local politicians in
Ipswich and they also showed what a bunch of hypocrites they are as they made
every excuse possible to explain the absence of both our Tory MPs for the town
from the Civic Event.
There attacks on me seemed to backfire
but that has not stopped them, only this week an Ipswich Tory candidate has
made yet another attack
on me, over the last few weeks he has been accusing me of being a ‘red Tory’
and stating that I would be the target of the Corbynistas but suddenly he has
decided I am from the ‘far’ left and accused me (and most Ipswich Labour
councillors) of adhering to a terrorist sympathising, Britain hating,
security threatening ideology.
be why I spent 25 years in the Armed Forces! What rubbish, but worryingly there
seems to be a lack of leadership in the local Tory Party and it only makes me
believe that both Ben Gummer and the Tory leader, Nadia Cenci either believe
the mad ramblings of this Tory candidate or are just happy for him to attack
Labour politicians even if it they know there is no truth in his attacks.
Sunday, I will attend, I will march up to the cenotaph, I will wear my medals
and I will remember those from both Ipswich who have paid the ultimate
sacrifice and those who paid the same sacrifice from my regiment. But I will
not sing the National anthem, not out of any republican protest but in my regiment
we do not sing it, we stand to attention and stay silent as a mark of respect
to Queen, Country and our fallen comrades.
But I am
aware that there will Tories in Ipswich and further afield watching carefully
how Labour politicians behave on Sunday. That is not what Remembrance Day is
for but it seems to have been hijacked for political use by those on the right
and their friends in the press.
It is a
sad state of affairs that one now has to worry how you will be perceived at
such an event rather than going there to pay respects to fallen comrades and
those from Ipswich who served their country.
Falls Road in Belfast, in Crossmaglen, in Pristina, in Bosnia and in Sangin,
Afghanistan I met and served alongside ‘real’ warriors, it is their opinion that
matters to me not the thoughts of an Ipswich Tory ‘keyboard’ warrior!
Footnote; Forgot to add that even certain Police Forces are using Remembrance Day this years as a vehicle to highlight police cuts, stating that certain parades may have to be cancelled as there are not enough police to help close roads.