Monday, 17 August 2009

On To a War Footing

A chilling subject title but one that has been stated this weekend by General Lord Guthrie, former Chief of the Defence Staff who has "criticised the Government for not putting the country onto a war footing."

It is indeed a worrying factor when viewing the underlying reasons for that statement. In short, and as we have seen this weekend with yet another four soldiers killed in action, that we are most certainly at war.

For those who seek to draw a comparison with the former Northern Ireland Troubles - stop there. There is no comparison. In the Province we dealt with sectarian violence. In Afghanistan we are dealing with all out war.

Any of our troops will be only too well aware that they are engaged in a war. It is only the people back at home that seem to be unaware.

Nevertheless, there is a stirring amongst sections of the population.

On the one hand, we yearn to bring our troops back, but on the other hand, to do so would be extreme folly.

We have to defeat the Teleban. There is no negotiation with such people.

For those who seek to find a reason to negotiate, I would say this. Go ahead and negotiate all you like. But do not expect me to back a regime and religion that sees its Parliament pass a law this week permitting men to starve their wives should their wives refuse to allow them to have sex with them.

We are of course dealing with different cultures, different approaches to life and different moral standards, and none of us can claim the moral high ground, especially with this evening's BBC Radio 4 news reports of our own direct involvement in acts of rendition, the new buzz word for what my generation calls physical and mental torture.

Regardless of the circumstances, there is no justification for rendition.

I am very concerned but at least the matter is being publicly debated.

That of course is one of the great advantages of the democratic freedom that we, in the UK, take for granted.

Let us therefore persist in our determination to overcome tyranny and to quietly go about reforming Parliament but without any more witch hunts.

Kenneth T Webb
The Editor
Liverpool CityLife

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Where has Diplomacy, Tact and Respect Gone?

This weekend we have seen the Duchess of York vilified during a BBC radio Interview and to such an extent that Her Grace has, quite understandably, served notice that she will not venture to work again with British Television.

That is appalling. Entering one of the most notorious estates in Manchester was always going to bring criticism from some, but it saddens me that the general public reach for the text message or that dreaded send button to the BBC and despatch unkind words written in the heat of the moment, or use the phone in to speak a load of self-righteous bumpf that is clearly giving them an ego trip. I do not like people like that. They are false.

I for one am proud of the work that the Duchess of York undertakes, and I am ashamed of my peers.

There is far too much familiarity in society. We certainly do not want to return to the old days; but we do need respectability, diplomacy and tact. These were once taught ordinarily in our schools and through our parents. They are the cement in the bricks.

Sadly these barely exist in some sections of the population.

I was in Preston this week and found it summed up in a young overweight over-indulgant constable with his hands in his pockets chewing gum and leaning up against the wall by the Debenhams entrance. That says it all. A scruff bag and it made me feel ashamed to be a member of the National Association of Retired Police Officers.

In today's leading articles are we over-reacting to the revelation that the leader of the Conservative Party has been taking advantage of flights from prominent business people?

Are we slipping into a McCarthyite style witch-hunt?

I sincerely hope not. For we are losing sight of what we are about and we have got troops out in Afghanistan sacrificing everything for us.

Kenneth T Webb
Liverpool CityLife

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Our Armed Forces

It is indeed worrying to read today that one considered view is that we are likely to be involved in Afghanistan for at least 40 years.

I can however understand why it would be nothing short of catastrophic to world peace for the Allies to pull out now. Whether we like it or not, we are waging a war that is becoming increasingly fearsome and sophisticated.

But what troubles me more than anything is the suggestion by the Foreign Secretary that we should be prepared to see some form of negotiation with the more moderate element of the Taleban. With respect, by its very definition, the Taleban is not moderate.

It reminds me of that vociferous minority of people, including the Foreign Secretary of the time, who insisted that we could negotiate with the more moderate elements of the Nazis even though time and again in the preceding years we had been outwitted by that bunch of thugs that masqueraded as moderate democratic government.

We paid a heavy price.

We must stand firm. We must back our Armed Forces and we must give them the proper equipment, manpower and resources to fight this war.

The public are beginning, just, to obtain an incline of the savagery of battle in Hellmand Province when we see the news reports from RAF Lyneham and Wootten Basset.
We must back our field hospitals and we must insist that our wounded troops, upon return to the UK, are given the best medical treatment and after care.

Parliament must put a stop to the disgraceful spectacle of attempting to cut back on compensation awarded to members of our Armed Forces.

Kenneth T Webb
Liverpool CityLife