I’m privileged to be laying wreaths at remembrance day ceremonies in my constituency tomorrow – in Falkirk and Denny. All politicians of all parties will be doing the same thing. It’s the only profound thing we do. I’m looking at the wreaths now and just thinking about how this week serves as a reminder of how decent people are. As the ‘big’ wars of Harry Patch, then my Dad (he was in the Black Watch, then became a Para), Les, and my lovely step-Dad, Arthur (also Black Watch), recede, folk seem to be more and more aware of the sacrifice ordinary people have made, and make daily, to give us the stuff we’ve got today. I’m a pretty fair target of people who hate the Iraq thing and I’ve come to understand the hard way (as ever) how people separate, quite perfectly, their worries about any one conflict and their far deeper sense of thanks for those who risk everything for us every day. This week seems like the time folk express their decency and humanity in the loveliest and most authentic way.
I’m no more qualified than anyone else to say any more than that. And it’s a side issue, really, but what increasingly seems like a reducto absurdum of the daily politics of hate seems gossamer thin, transient. Who f****** cares?, as I would have said as a Black Watch jock. Yet today, in the grander scheme, the reality is that everyone does. Tomorrow, and on 11/11, I will, as always, ‘manfully’ fight back tears at thoughts of the dead; the living wounded. And so will everyone else.
I love this place.