The Wilted Rose

Charting Labour meltdown 2007-2010

Afghanistan – time to withdraw

John McCain just admitted on BBC newsnight that during the Obama Afghan surge ‘casualties will rise.’

This is just not acceptable. Enough of our young kids who are serving in the army have returned in coffins.

No, it’s time to withdraw British troops from Afghanistan rather than spilling more blood for a doomed mission.

Even Des Brown, defence minister, is stepping down from parliament; perhaps he can’t stomach the stench of blood.

It’s quite simply time to withdraw.

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2 December, 2009 Posted by | politics | , , , , | 15 Comments

We need to look after our soldiers – in or out of the army

I grew up, as a child in awe of soldiers, who were on the streets of Northern Ireland in the 70s and 80s. I still respect them, so I am dismayed to see our boys dying in Afghanistan. Poor equipment and bad strategy from London exacerbates the situation.

I wonder, though, what will the next Government do to support our boys when they leave the army? Yesterday’s front page of the Guardian revealed that there are more ex servicemen in prison than there are soldiers in Afghanistan.

We need to do something to help our boys settle back into civilian life. Labour is failing in this regard.

26 September, 2009 Posted by | politics | , , , | Leave a comment

The reaction to the Massareene atrocity shows how Northern Ireland has moved on … and yet Labour policy has failed

It used to be when there was a terrorist atrocity in Northern Ireland that there was equivocation from some people, who were not prepared to fully criticise the attack because of fear.

While the “Real IRA” itself has even gone as far as condemning the 2 Catholic pizza deliverers (one of whose mother works in a Catholic school in Antrim, and the other who is a young dad from Poland) as “collaborators” for daring to carry out lawful economic activities and for earning a living, everyone else has condemned the despicable attack.

Cllr Thomas Burns, Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) Assembly Member for Antrim South, has to be credited in particular for his impassioned call hours after the attack for such incidents to stop and for the need for peace.

These soldiers deserve posthumous Victoria Crosses, as Slugger O’Toole quotes:

The Sun is reporting, that one of the pizza delivery boys was ‘saved’ by one of the soldiers, who subsequently died as a gunman shot him whilst laying on top of the pizza boy. The soldiers told the boys to get down and one of them jumped on one of them lying on top of him whilst bullets flew above them. Apparently the gunmen kept on firing as the men lay dead on the ground. A friend of the delivery boy said: “The guy with the gun then just walked over and executed the soldier as he lay on top of Anto.”

People know that if such attacks continue, and retaliation occurs, it could be they or their families who suffer. What must the Irish-Americans, who once donated money to the IRA and yet who lost many of their own number (policemen, firefighters, etc) in the Twin Towers, make of this diabolical act?

Northern Ireland is a better place than when I was a kid, when we had to travel through military check points in our school bus in order to get to school.

People don’t wish to go back to those dark days. The Real IRA atrocity – in which they have done the dirty work of the Taliban, as these soldiers were due to go to Afghanistan – has probably put a stopper on the devolution of justice and policing to the Assembly.

Right now it’s painful for Catholics to look their Protestant neighbours in the eye, and vice versa, but that mutual friendly smile says we won’t go back to the dark old days. The Real IRA is irrelevant when what really matters is the quality of our lives, jobs, security and providing a decent future for our kids.

There are 12-year-olds and younger in Northern Ireland – who must be very puzzled by this attack – who weren’t even born when the last soldier, Lance Bombardier Stephen Restorick, was murdered by a gang who were later released early within 18 months under the most despicable element of Blair’s Belfast Agreement and was a key element in the political annihilation of David Trimble. 

For the sake of these kids, let’s hope that it wasn’t prisoners released early who have committed this atrocity.

Update 23.29: Following tonight’s murder of a policeman in Craigavon, the SDLP’s Dolores Kelly, MLA for Upper Bann, and their spokesperson on Equality, Victims, Policing and Parades, has been on the television condemning outright the attack and calling for people to report these “murderers”. Joe O’Dowd, Sinn Féin MLA for Upper Bann, has just called for people to report any information they know to the police. The murderers will not bring down the Institutions.

9 March, 2009 Posted by | politics | , , , , , | 1 Comment