Total number of British soldiers killed in Afghanistan =232
This blog's preoccupation with the tragedy of the Afghan War has been total recently for understandable reasons. I have neglected parliamentary news which I catch up with today. Today's polls prove that 64% of the population want the troops brought home. It's not poor communication that's angered the public. It's the bleak message of certain failure for NATO that cannot be plausibly spun. The war is not 'winnable.'
Next week, I will again seek every parliamentary and media opportunity to press the case for an early exit strategy. Heartfelt thanks to Newsnight, BBC News, the Independent and, today, the Observer for giving me platforms that reach a wide audience. Thanks too to new friends who have contacted me with informative and supportive messages on this blog and elsewhere. I'm sure we will be in contact again in future.
An extraordinary coincidence was not recorded by the cameras on Newsnight on Wednesday. Tory Defence spokesman Patrick Mercer mentioned that the day, November 4th, was the 'great anniversary'. It is for me because it was the 170th anniversary of the Chartists who were shot at the Westgate Hotel in the heart of my Newport West constituency. A week of events commemorated the occasion in Newport.
It was news to me that Patrick Mercer's regiment the Sherwood Foresters celebrate the anniversary because it was the soldiers of that regiment who shot the Chartists. I sensed that the regiment are proud that stopped a revolution.
Patrick and I have very different views on the heroic events of 1839. My heroes are not his. It's fascinating that 170 years later to the day the MP for the Chartist city is combating an officer of the Sherwood Foresters.
It was pleasure to welcome the friends of Newport's Stately Home Tredegar House to the Commons.
They are doing a marvellous job in ensuring that this great treasure is cherished and widely enjoyed. I told them a story of the fuss that the Foreign Minister of Poland made at a dinner in Warsaw. When I told him I was from Newport he reacted immediately and told everyone that it is a 'beautiful city'. This is not how everyone reacts to the place.
His experience of Newport was on a glorious summer day when all EU foreign ministers met for a conference at the magnificent 5 star Celtic Manor Resort. The only part of the city that they saw Tredegar House where they had a meal in the Gold Room.
Jessica Morden and I fielded a searching battery of questions from our guests. They included problems with trespassing travellers, Tony Blair's suitability as European President and a planning decision on a Tesco Store. I am sure our answers were very helpful. But it's always a pleasure to meet constituents who are sharing our enjoyment in the wonders of Westminster.
Next week science will strike back at the brutal sacking of Professor David Nutt.
On Thursday the splendid group Transform will present the rational case for reducing drug harm. LibDem MP Evan Harris and I will combine to expose the damage of the dominance of redtop prejudice in Parliament. The shame of MPs trying to lynch science still lingers. I am proud of the Commons on most occasions. This was our foulest hour.
The presence of Transform will provide an antidote to hardcore power exercised without evidence.