Monday, 26 February 2024

Suella Braverman has gone against the very values that Britain fought for. Few public figures have recently attempted to fuel disagreements or sow seeds of hatred.

Suella Braverman has gone against the very values that Britain fought for. Few public figures have recently attempted to fuel disagreements or sow seeds of hatred.
Monday, 13 November 2023 09:19

From the rainy, cold Falkland skies on May 23, 1982, Argentine bombers unleashed horror upon British forces trying to establish a beachhead at San Carlos Bay.

The intensity of the attack led to those shores being dubbed "Bomb Alley." The next day, the British frigate HMS Antelope sank, its hull shattered by a bomb, nearly splitting it in two. As one Royal Marine observed, it was "a majestically awful sight."

Back home in Britain, families of those serving sought news of their loved ones. My uncle was on Antelope. My family huddled around the radio, listening in grim silence to every update, my mum hoping not to hear her brother’s name. By some minor miracle, he and many of his fellow crew mates survived.

On Remembrance Sunday, as the Last Post is sounded and the crowds fall silent, I will think of that night.

As the names of Britain’s fallen from the wars of this century and the last are read out in villages, towns, and cities across the country today, we will be united in remembering the extraordinary bravery and sacrifice of our Armed Forces.

The great ideals they represent – of duty, service, putting your country first – sometimes feel as if they are slipping through our fingers: that they simply aren’t fashionable anymore.

And, if we are honest with ourselves, under its previous leadership, the Labour Party was too often guilty of not understanding their fundamental importance.

That is why, over the last three years, I have worked tirelessly to put them back at the heart of my party and everything we do. Gone are the days of Labour representing narrow, niche interests or being more interested in protest than power.

In its place stands a proudly patriotic party, one that has changed beyond recognition, back in the service of the working people and communities that are the backbone of this country.

But bravery, sacrifice, duty, service: these are not in themselves an answer to the question of what sort of country we want to be and what sort of future we are fighting for.

Here, again, we take inspiration from those we remember this weekend. At the Kohima War Cemetery, where 1,400 Allied soldiers of World War Two are memorialized – including hundreds of Indian soldiers of the British Army – the famous words of John Maxwell Edmonds appear: “for your tomorrow, we gave our today.”

Or, as one member of HMS Antelope’s crew put it at a service a few years ago: “If you need to fight for democracy, then so be it.”

That freedom that our grandparents and parents fought for is precious. But for it to mean something, it must include the freedom and the rights of those we don’t agree with.

This weekend, we have again seen protests across our major cities. Among those protests are people we should have no truck with – those inciting violence, glorifying the terrorists of Hamas or calling for the destruction of Israel. They should be dealt with firmly by the law.

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