Try as we might, the horrors of war are impossible to imagine. If ever there was a case of “you had to be there”, then war is very much it.
Along with millions of others, I’ll be trying to imagine the suffering, pain and sacrifice endured by those brave British servicemen and women who were very much ‘there’, as I take part in my first Remembrance Day service as MP at the town’s war memorial this Sunday.
I’ll be remembering all of the fallen, but there will be one particular name in my mind; that of Arthur Leonard Brown who was the youngest Hartlepool casualty of the First World War. Poor Arthur was just 14 - barely into his teens - when he was killed.
I’ll also spare a thought for the victims of the Bombardment of Hartlepool who were amongst the first casualties of that truly dreadful first war. Many of them were young people. Somehow the pain and suffering of war becomes more raw and tragic when the victims have hardly started their lives.
l AS we remember those who sacrificed their lives, we might like to reflect on the Representation of the People (Young People’s Enfranchisement and Education) Bill. It’s quite a mouthful but in a nutshell, it’s an attempt to give 16-year-olds the right to vote.
This Bill, sponsored by Jim McMahon, aims to reduce the voting age for Parliamentary elections to the House of Commons from 18 to 16 years.
This Bill did not have time to complete its Second Reading, and is currently scheduled to resume debate on December 1. I sincerely hope the voting age is reduced as any reasons to retain the current legal age are truly spurious.
Indeed, some of the reasons being given are laughable; akin to reasons given when women were given the vote.
The young people of today are far better educated and informed than Arthur Leonard Brown would have been when the poor lad died for his country. I see no legitimate reason why the age shouldn’t be lowered.
I’d suggest that those on the Tory benches give due consideration to this matter. They might particularly like to reflect that the average age of a Conservative Party member is 73.
l BY the time readers see this column, I fully expect that Conservative Minister Priti Patel will have been sacked by the Prime Minister. There is no question that her position is untenable and the only reason she wasn’t out at the weekend is a weak Prime Minister who heads up a crumbling and dysfunctional government.
As Teresa May illustrated with her multi-million pound deal to buy the support of the DUP, her and her party will do anything to cling onto power. That is totally against the interests of democracy and the country.
Once she dispenses with Ms Patel I’d suggest she gives Boris Johnson the push as well. Her position looks worse by the day and although I have no interest in her succeeding as Prime Minister, a bit of integrity wouldn’t go amiss.