Exciting day tomorrow.
I have the daunting task of giving the inaugural Memorial Lecture for the late Tony Lynes who died a year ago. He died running to retrieve a birthday card from his car to take to a friend's birthday party. He was in a collision with a car. Previously that day he took part in a five mile charity walk. Tony was 85. I have just been looking up some of the e-mails I had from him. He sent me the one below after I was expelled from the House of Commons after telling the Secretary of State for Defence that he was sending UK soldiers to die in Helmand acting as human shields for ministers' reputations.
Tony was one of the great architects of the Welfare State which peaked in the 70s and is now being pummelled by the Tory wreaking ball.
Congratulations on your expulsion. I didn't know about it until today - I don't think it was reported in the Guardian, and I'm afraid I missed it in Hansard. The Afghan mess is appalling and obscene. There's an underlying assumption that young people who join the army must expect to be killed or injured - it's part of their employment contract which they accept voluntarily and, anyway, if they die, they are promoted to the status of "heroes" - they can't ask for more than that. And, needless to say, those who fight on the wrong side deserve to be killed and don't qualify for hero status. As for civilian "casualties", they are a regrettable but inevitable consequence. After many years of doubt, I think I am now prepared to say that I'm a pacifist - I don't think war is ever the right way to solve problems or right wrongs. But even if there were cases where war is justifiable, Afghanistan would not be one of them.
I don't know anything about expulsion. How long does it last? What do you have to do to be readmitted to the sacred precincts? Are you expelled from the building or only from the chamber? What, if anything, can your friends and disciples do to help?
PS It's a bit odd, isn't it, that Ministers can tell as many lies as they like without incurring any penalty, while a Member who draws attention to their use of this freedom is promptly expelled?
The lecture is at 2.30 at the William Booth College SE5 8BQ