When the government banned our old soldiers and sailors from attending the Cenotaph for Remembrance Sunday, I was determined to turn up anyway. Deterred by advice that Whitehall would be blocked off, I went instead to my local event at Carshalton Ponds. Expecting a small gathering but no dignitaries, I penned a short speech, as follows: –
‘Ladies and gentlemen, we are nearing the eleventh hour. Well done for coming here today, despite the lockdown. We are here to remember the men whose names are inscribed in the monument, who died for our freedom.
Sadly the powers-that-be are taking our freedom away. They dishonour the fallen. Where are the men of the cloth. Where is our MP? Perhaps it is not good PR to break the Covid rules.
We should ask ourselves: what country are we becoming? The message of our heroic troops, as expressed by John Maxwell Edmonds, must be amplified in the halls of Westminster: –
‘When you go home and tell them of us and say: for your tomorrow we gave our today.’
I did not deliver this speech, though. The mayor, town crier, councillors and community figures came after all, as did our MP. For this we should be grateful: common sense and decency prevailed.
Yet a nagging voice was in my mind throughout the service. Our MP has replied to citizens concerned by the draconian lockdown, urging them to follow the rules at all times.
Here is the set of six ‘excuses’ you are allowed to leave your home: –
- Work (if you cannot work from home)
- Exercise and outdoor recreation
- Medical reasons
- Shopping for food or essential items
- Care for others
So what was our MP doing laying a wreath at the remembrance? Of course I am glad he was there, but he was breaking the law that he himself voted for on Wednesday.
Could we please have some clarity on what laws we can break? Let’s hope that political correctness is not the only exemption.