Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Soldiers Story

Friday was a day of surprises and among these was the unexpected resignation of Cllr John Worrow from the Conservative Group at TDC after only six short months as a councillor. You will find Bob Bayford's reaction to the news here but knowing John well, I'm equally surprised by his reasons, which to me appear quite bizarre and particularly in regard to his concerns over animal exports from the port of Ramsgate. John is well-aware that the ultimate responsibility lies with central government and DEFRA to resolve, as the matter has been discussed at some length within the Conservative Group.

The local council, members of all parties and our MPs have worked extremely hard to bring our shared concerns over this unpleasant trade to the attention of the Minister, Jim Paice and believe, like everyone else that the primitive laws governing it should be reformed. But beyond active lobbying at Westminster, the council has no power to prevent a legal trade taking place in an open port. Even the animal rights activists and Cllr Driver, will concede that this is the case and the matter was debated vigorously in council only recently.

Let's not forget the extraordinary financial pressures that face Thanet in the future and in regard to "Talk of a 21% increase in parking charges" for Birchington, then if he inquired a little further into the detail, then he might have discovered that this is I think, equivalent to 4p in two years time and so I remain somewhat baffled but I'm sure we'll hear more on his decision as time passes and I wish him well.

I should add here that there are many things I would like for my own ward of Westgate but resources have to be shared across the island and I can't always have what I ask for but that doesn't mean I'm going to leave the Conservative group. The maze of local government is a slow and often frustrating process for new ward councillors to negotiate and I would guess that it takes at least two years, before one discovers what levers to pull in order to help achieve one's local objectives.

Colonel Bob Stewart, was the guest of honour at the North Foreland golf club a Conservative association dinner on Friday evening and it was a pleasure to hear an inspiring account of his time serving in Bosnia.

I haven't seen Colonel Bob since I moved back down to Thanet and so I think he was a little surprised to see me here; our children attended the same school in Wimbledon.

Many readers will recall seeing those dark days in the Balkans on television, the siege of Sarajevo, the massacre at Srebenica and more and Bob, often with his hands tied with by the United Nations rules of engagement, saved countless lives through being creative in his interpretation of those same rules that frequently led to atrocity elsewhere.

In particular, I was struck by his account of saving the life of a woman and small child, who were about to be ethnically cleansed, on the roadside, by a soldier with an AK47 holding a rifle to the back of the helpless woman's skull. He told the small audience how he happened to be passing in his Landrover at that exact moment before the trigger was pulled and saved her life through the simple expedient of shooting the man dead. There were other similar stories of outstanding gallantry too and he lost a number of good friends in a very dirty conflict, being wounded in the leg himself.

In many respects, Bosnia was more visible and immediate to a domestic audience than Afghanistan. We had a real moral sense of what was right and what was wrong and what our soldiers were fighting and often dying for. In Afghanistan, this remains both expensive and muddy and I was struck by the comments of young Marines in a Ross Kemp documentary, who remain convinced that once we've left the country, the Taleban will be back. The lessons of history for Afghanistan have remained unchanged since the time of Alexander the Great and with Pakistan, now a failing if not failed State as it's neighbour on one side and Iran with its own ambitions on the other, a successful nation building exercise appears as far away as ever before.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

This isn't the post that you put up yesterday following the release of the news. It was accessible via your Twitter account but was taken down a few hours later. Undoubtedly you are above being leaned on................

DrM. said...

You've lost me! I didn't put any post up yesterday other than the page with Bob Bayford's response with a Twitter link to it. No Twitter link has been removed either!!??

So not sure what you are on about here?

Anonymous said...

OK, I've accessed said blog on my Blackberry via your original tweet and it has led me directly to your Thanet Life Leaders Response blog - blue heading, etc. At the same time I am looking at Thanet Life on my laptop and there is no Leaders Response - Recycling Past the Office followed by A Soldiers Story. Maybe it's just one of those cyber mysteries.

DrM. said...

I think you will find that the leaders response is on a sub page of Thanet Life and you should see the link on the immediate top right of the blog.

The Twitter URL link takes you straight to that page but on the main blog you can only see it as a link

That should answer your question

Anonymous said...

I see now. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Is Worrow working his way through all the political parties in Thanet? Joining with great excitement and then walking off in a childish strop when he doesn't get what he wants. Remember the Grey Party fiasco?
Whoever he joins next is welcome to him!

Anonymous said...

And how many descriptions rhyme with Worrow?

Anonymous said...

Worrow is Thanet's answer to David Icke.
9ft green lizards beware!