Monday, 8th May. So what? you might ask. For those of us of a certain age it was of course VE Day, the 55th anniversary the British Army's greatest victory, the defeat of the German forces in North West Europe and the end of Nazism. A victory gained with the support of our allies, particularly the Canadians and the Poles. Who cares nowadays? Well, the Danish seem to. On that day, as every year since 1945, representatives of the Danish resistance travelled to London to lay wreaths at the Cenotaph and at Winston Churchill's grave in Oxfordshire.
Fortunately, by the time the Danes arrived, the disgraceful graffiti scrawled on the Cenotaph had been removed.
On the previous Monday, 1st May, Labour Day, James Matthews, 25, a student, who told magistrates that he had been a British soldier, was photographed defacing Winston Churchill's statue. His knowledge of history seemed to be slight to say the least as he told magistrates on 9th May: "If some people have been offended by my graffiti, many others have been offended by such a reactionary politician who was imperialist and anti-semitic. …….. it was acceptable to challenge an icon of the British establishment." Perhaps Mr Matthews should arrange to meet the members of the Danish resistance and learn some real history.
As to the statement by Scotland Yard that the policing of the May Day riots was "a reasonable success" and "a proportionate and professional response", I would strongly disagree, preferring to see it as a national disgrace. It seems the Metropolitan Police have gone soft on anarchy, preferring to defend McDonalds than two of the nation's most emotionally charged monuments.
We are supposed to have a Government that is "tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime". As William Hague said during Prime Minister's questions on 4th May: "He (Tony Bliar) is the one that went out to the Cenotaph yesterday, peeled an onion and said it can never happen again". Well done, William.
1st January 2000. Well, what is it this time? Only the 200th birthday of the United Kingdom, the anniversary of the Act of Union and the creation of the Union flag. Lord Laird, a Unionist crossbencher, has been waging a single-handed battle to get our modernising Government to pay some recognition to the occasion. David Futcher drew attention to Lord Laird's attempts in a previous e-mail. Lord Laird's campaign has had some effect. The Cabinet Office Minister, Lord Falconer, in reply to a question from Lord Laird in the Chamber on 9th May, said that while there were no plans for a "formal" celebration "at present", he would listen to suggestions. So come on Conservative and Unionist Party, lets hear it for the United Kingdom and give Lord Laird some support. In addition to giving Tony Bliar another poke in the eye, it will reassure us "Conservatives Past" that all is not lost.
Labour 's Learning
It looks as though the Labour Party is going to scrap the Party list system used in the European Election and the Greater London Assembly election. They are also going to scrap the Electoral College system for choosing candidates. They are beginning to understand that the people want democracy. Will the Conservative Party also learn the lesson and scrap the Electoral College system for changing its constitution and if it is really intelligent will it create a democratic Party before the Labour Party is forced to do so?.
The Labour Party used the Electoral College to select the candidates for Mayor in London and for Leader of the Welsh Assembly. The Conservative Party has an Electoral College for changing its constitution and for electing the Leader. What is the origin of this discredited system?
In France the people were divided into three estates; the nobility, the clergy and the common people. This ceased in 1789 with the French revolution. Have we not learnt any lessons from history?