'My dad would've been angry over treatment of veterans'
Having marked the centenary of the ending of the First World War, it brings back memories for me, as my father was born during that Great War. He also fought in the Second World War, alongside millions of other brave men and women.
He spent a large part of the war as a Japanese prisoner, returning home not knowing his mother, my grandmother, had passed away three years earlier.
I never heard my father criticise the Japanese or the Germans and it never bothered him if someone chose not to wear a poppy. That’s what he fought for – the freedom to choose.
I’ve always worn a poppy, and that’s my choice, but my father would turn in his grave if he could see how this Government treats its ex-servicemen – 13,000 are reported homeless, soldiers suffering from PTSD are killing themselves and disabled veterans having their benefits cut.
That’s what my father would have been angry about, and so should everyone in the country.
EU kept peace on the continent
One hundred years ago, the First World War came to an end. Just 20 years after that, seven months before I was born, the storm clouds were gathering from another hideous conflict.
Just a few years after that, as a small boy in a basement air raid shelter in Newcastle, I heard German bombs exploding in the street outside.
The Common Market, which became the EU, was established, not only to facilitate trade but, vitally, to put a stop to the wars which had raged in Europe for centuries. In this it has been brilliantly successful, a prize which relegates arguments about economics into insignificance.
At the referendum in 2016, the electorate was seriously misled as to the effect of a Leave vote.
That effect is much clearer to us now and very unappealing it looks.
The Conservative and Labour parties are in total disarray on the issue.
Liberal Democrats have been united from the outset on the desirability of remaining in union with our continental friends and, bearing in mind the chaotic situation we are now faced with, champion a People’s Vote, a second referendum, now that we all know how damaging Brexit would be.
I am not blind to the faults of the EU and a good outcome of this turbulent exercise.
Bearing in mind the nationalist movements gathering strength in various European countries, could it be that the EU examines its governance to address the issues which I know trouble many people but which should not blind us to the over-riding value of the institution?
Soldiers might be alive today
If an EU Army, with the UK as an active member, had existed at the time of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, it is highly probable that such an army would not have been involved in either one, and that would of course have included the UK.
All those military personnel who tragically lost their lives in both conflicts, would still be alive today.
And the amputees we see on our TV screens would be fully limbed individuals and not suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
It is now generally accepted that this country should never have been involved in Iraq, and judging from what we hear about what is going on in Afghanistan, the Taliban’s influence appears to get stronger by the day.
So what effect did our costly involvement in that country really make?
It’s our only opportunity
Insufficient attention is being paid to the fact that this is the only - and last - opportunity for a member state to quit the EU.
The door will henceforth be closed permanently.
So with all its shortcomings, let us seize this, the only opportunity there will ever be to quit.