With phase two of the party's highly successful "Support Our Troops" campaign and Remembrance Sunday approaching, our attention is very much focussed on the heroic sacrifice made by the men and women of our Armed Forces in wars both past and present.
Today's British troops, as always, carry out their tasks with a professionalism that is second to none. Their brave actions do their regiments, their families and our nation proud. But the harsh reality is that they should not be in Afghanistan and should never have been in Iraq. These two illegal wars have taken the lives of hundreds of British service personnel and have cost the taxpayers billions of pounds. They have also resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghani civilians.
When reading about casualty numbers (especially those involving the two World Wars) we often tend to see them just in terms of statistics and not dwell too long on the human aspects such as the personal tragedy behind the losses. I recently read a news story about the restoration of a Shrewsbury war memorial. The story really brought it home to me just how great the losses were at a local level and how bad these communities would have been affected. The monument dedicated to 72 local men who died in the Great War, lies in the grounds of St Michael's Church, St Michael's Street. Since the church was sold, the war memorial had sadly been neglected in recent years. However, this Summer the memorial was cleaned and restored thanks to a project supported by local residents including family members of the fallen servicemen.
I suppose the news story was, on the whole, a positive one but to read that the 72 men who died were from a handful of streets in the local area was heartbreaking. All the men had lived between Morris Oil Works and the zebra crossing in Ditherington. Anyone who knows Shrewsbury will know exactly how small an area this is.
Like other groups and branches all over the country, Shrewsbury BNP will lay a wreath at the town's main War memorial in the Quarry near St Chad's Church. But given the significance of St Michael's memorial, perhaps another wreath should also be laid there too.
"Lest We Forget"