Policing Priorities Will Be Driven By Cuts to the Service.

PoliceSensationalist headlines masked the important issues Durham Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Ron Hogg tried to raise last week regarding police priorities and the criminalisation of cannabis users.

Whether you believe in legalisation or a much tougher approach that would see drug users sent to prison, few people believe our current drug laws work. Unfortunately, a real evidence led debate on this issue is unlikely under the current Government as they are more likely to stoke the mock outrage in papers like the Daily Mail and the Express, rather than confronting the real issues at hand.

More telling, the same politicians that voted through drastic cuts to the police in the last parliament and will drive through more cuts to the police in this Parliament were quickest to condemn Mr Hogg. There is also something ironic that the same people who politicised the police by creating Police Commissioners are now outraged when as a politian, a PCC makes a political statement

The critics show little contrition for their actions. The dramatic reduction in police resources has meant that forces across the country have had no option but to prioritise tackling certain crimes. Mr Hogg’s comments are a statement of fact about pragmatic policing imposed as a result of government cuts.

Faced with the same choice would you pursue personal drug users or would you tackle the organised crime gangs and target the drug dealers profiting from the harm and misery they cause in our communities?

It is a choice that must be made due to Government austerity. This situation was confirmed today by Sara Thornton, the new head of the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC). Speaking to the BBC Ms Thornton suggested that the police may no longer attend after crimes such as burglary and that there had to be a “conversation with the public” over priorities.

I expect there will also be outrage at these comments, but wrongly targeting senior police officers highlighting the problem rather than the government which has caused the problem.

In the last Parliament David Cameron cut the police establishment by 36,000, including over 17,000 police officers. The police force is now at their lowest level since September 2001. Worse still, the NPCC expect a further 35,000 police posts to be lost by 2020.

Community policing is being eroded. The number of Police Community Support Officers (PCSO), which make up the majority of neighbourhood police teams, have been cut by a quarter, with over a thousand PCSO’s lost every year since 2010.

The PCC aim is clear “Reducing harm. Harm to communities and harm to individuals. Everything I say or do about drugs is rooted in this aim.”

I believe this view is more commendable than the Tory MPs who condemned the PCC, refuse to debate the policy issues and will deliver deep cuts that will undermine policing in East Durham.

Grahame Morris MP supports new campaign to improve the lives of those with incontinence in Easington

It’s personal campaignIt has been revealed that 19,034 people could be living with urinary incontinence and 9,103 people could be living with faecal incontinence in Easington.

These new figures came to light after Grahame Morris MP attended the launch of the It’s personal campaign in the House of Commons to demonstrate his support towards improving the quality of continence care.

In light of the number of people that could be living with some form of incontinence in Easington, Mr Morris committed to backing the campaign which seeks to ensure that everyone with a bladder and bowel problem should be listened to and can access the right care, treatment and support.

Bladder and bowel problems are common, affect men and women of all ages , and can cause significant distress for those who live with them. People are frequently unaware of the treatments available to cure or manage their condition and suffer from shame and embarrassment; keeping it secret from those closest to them2.

Grahame Morris MP said: “I am pleased to demonstrate my support towards this important new campaign to improve the lives of those who live with incontinence. I was shocked to learn that so many people were living with bladder and bowel problems in Easington; even more so that these figures could be a considerable underestimate as so many people are reluctant to seek help. We need to do everything we can to break the incontinence taboo, so that people who experience bladder and bowel problems aren’t afraid to come forward about their condition for fear of embarrassment. Once they do, we need to make sure that they are listened to, have access to the right care, and are fundamentally treated with dignity and respect.

The It’s personal campaign aims to do just this, and I am delighted to support the campaign in its first steps to make this a reality, and to ensure that the people of Easington receive the best possible continence care.”

Welfare Reform and Work Bill

attachment-2The Government has abandoned the commitment to eradicate child poverty.

As part of the measures debated in the Welfare Reform and Work Bill the Government will remove the words “child poverty” from the Child Poverty Act – rebranding it as the “Life Chances Act”.

This is not a meaningless change. It will remove the Government’s legally binding targets for reducing child poverty. The Government now accept that they will not meet child poverty targets, in fact, the recent Budget and the cuts to Social Security will exacerbate child poverty.

The Tories cheered and celebrated on Budget Day when the Chancellor announced £12 billion of cuts that will hit the poorest and most vulnerable in society.

The headlines were stolen by the announcement of a ‘national living wage’ which unravelled within twenty four hours. Those who should have benefitted from an increase in the minimum wage found that changes to tax credits would leave them worse off. The Institute for Fiscal Studies estimated that thirteen million families would be £260 a year worse off, with three million families losing over £1000 a year.

Cutting and reducing the incomes of the poorest in society will do nothing to address the underlying causes of higher social security spending, namely high housing costs and low wages.

I support a shift from benefits to bricks, but the Government have no plan to build new social housing with affordable rents. In fact, within the social housing sector, the government are trying to force Housing Associations to sell off their homes, further reducing the number of affordable rents.

The Government support and sustain excessive rents in the private sector through Housing Benefit which is paid to landlords. However, the Government approach is to attack those in receipt of housing benefit rather than capping excessive rents and tackling rogue landlords.

The Government assume you support higher welfare spending if you do not accept their cuts and caps to Social Security.

They are wrong. What I object to is the Government’s continuous use of the economic crisis in order to justify pushing the poorest and most vulnerable in society further into poverty. These arbitrary cuts do nothing to address the underlying causes of low wages, unaffordable housing, or barriers to work.

Do I support the Government spending £25 billion on housing benefit subsidising private landlords’ profits? No. I want to see this money used to build new affordable social housing, addressing a housing crisis which has been ignored by successive government for thirty years.

I did not and will not vote to make people in East Durham poorer. I will continue to oppose the Government’s Welfare Reform and Work Bill that abandons our commitment to tackling child poverty and does nothing to address the underlying causes of higher Social Security spending.

What we need is a real alternative that seeks to build up our country rather than a Government attacking and punishing the poorest through a thousand cuts.

Grahame Morris MP calls for ‘dramatic improvements’ for lung disease as impact on North East revealed

Grahame Morris - British Lung FoundationEasington MP Grahame Morris is calling for increased awareness of lung disease and a co-ordinated effort among politicians and policy-makers to prioritise respiratory health. Mr Morris joined the British Lung Foundation as new data from the charity, launched at an event in Parliament on Tuesday 14 July, revealed that over 417,000 people in the North East are living with a lung condition.

The data also showed that the North East has the highest lifetime prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the country’s third biggest killer, other regions in the UK. The region also has the highest prevalence and incidence of lung cancer in the UK, with the prevalence increasing by 29% since 2004.

The North East has a higher rate of hospital admissions for nearly all respiratory conditions compared with the UK average, including pneumonia, asthma, COPD and lung cancer. The region also has the highest mesothelioma mortality rate for the whole of the UK, followed by pneumoconiosis, lung cancer, COPD and bronchiectasis.

Speaking after the British Lung Foundation event, Grahame Morris MP said:

“Shockingly over 417,000 people in the North East are living with a lung condition – in reality the number could be much higher. For example, it is estimated that two thirds of people with COPD, for which the North East has the highest lifetime prevalence, are living with the condition undiagnosed. It is clear that dramatic improvements need to be made and it is time respiratory diseases were given the prioritisation they deserve.”

Dr Penny Woods, Chief Executive of the British Lung Foundation, said:

“For far too long, the true burden of respiratory disease has been underestimated in this country. One person dies from lung disease every five minutes in the UK, making it the third biggest killer in the UK, yet little has been done to tackle this tragedy.

“This is unacceptable and it is high time lung disease is made a priority. If we are to halt the ever growing burden of lung disease on our country we urgently need more investment in research and more emphasis on improved prevention, earlier diagnosis and high quality services.”

I am a benefit scrounger

I am a benefit scrounger.

I spent my life living with severe disabilitys and illness’s and ignored them untill it took over. I never claimed anything.

I worked non stop from 15 years old in employment and self employment, aswell as putting my self though college and university. I paid for it all my self.

I had to stop working when i found out i had a genetic cancer and 11 major surgerys i had to claim income support. so i was called a benefit scrounger.

I went back to self employment soon as i went into remisson. And never claimed anything i was told to claim.

For 12 years I was advised to claim what was called DLA I never claimed.

Last year my debilitating illness on top of other illness’s became too bad and with no cure or treatment available to aleviate the symptoms i had no choice but to claim.

I am now again called a benefit scrounger.

I am in ESA am a benefit scrounger.

I am in enhanced rate both consonants personal independance payment. I must be a benefit scrounger.

My life is lived day by day. My disability will lead to my death. I have to see 6 specialists to help with the devestating inpacts my disability has on my body. I must be a benefit scrounger.

I can hardly see, walk, move and in severe pain on a daily basis and have to take 15 different medications. I must be a benefit scrounger.

This is me. – i am a benefit scrounger.

“Please remember me on Monday, and vote against the Welfare and Work Bill”

Grahame Morris MP supports Easington campaign for every child to join local library and share a love of reading

Summer ReadingLocal MP Grahame Morris is supporting a campaign run by charity The Reading Agency to encourage all primary school children to take part in this year’s Summer Reading Challenge – the UK’s largest reading for pleasure promotion – and help libraries set a Guinness World RecordsTM  title at the same time.

Research shows that reading for pleasure is vital for children’s life chances, and that children who use libraries are twice as likely to be above average readers. It builds confidence and independent reading, while preventing the dip in children’s literacy levels during the long break from school.

The Summer Reading Challenge is a unique partnership between The Reading Agency and public libraries across the UK and got 810,000 children reading in the summer holidays in 2014.

Every year there is a new theme and this year the Summer Reading Challenge has teamed up with Guinness World Records – the global authority in record-breaking achievements and publisher of the annual Guinness World Records™ book – to create Record Breakers. Children sign up at the library and receive a special poster.  As they borrow and read library books over the summer, children collect stickers to complete their poster and discover fascinating facts about record breakers as they go.

The Reading Agency is calling on people of all ages, across the country to pledge to use their local library over the summer and help libraries set a Guinness World RecordsTM title.  Libraries across the country are collecting pledges between Friday 10 and Monday 13 July – a list of pledging venues can be found at:  www.recordbreakers.org.uk/record

Grahame Morris MP said: “I hope parents, grandparents and carers in Easington will take their children to the library over the summer to pledge their support for children’s reading and sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge.  It’s free, inclusive and makes reading fun – a vital ingredient in building literacy. Last year 3115 children in Durham took part in the Challenge. I hope we can increase that number this year, show local libraries what a valuable asset they are to us and our community and help set a world record at the same time.”

Children can use the special website recordbreakers.org.uk to create a profile, chat about books, and get help on what to read next, via the digital Book Sorter which already offers over 450,000 peer to peer children’s book recommendations in child-friendly categories.

There’s also a free downloadable app (designed by SOLUS UK) which recognises key Record Breakers illustrations and triggers video clips and games.

The Summer Reading Challenge reaches children and young people of all ages.  For pre-schoolers there is a mini-challenge and for young people (aged 13 to 24) there is the opportunity to volunteer and support younger children taking part.  Volunteering provides a quality workplace experience for young people in libraries, inspires them to think about future careers and increases their employability as they gain useful life skills and confidence. Last year over 8,000 young people volunteered. Young volunteers will be helping with the Challenge, supported and funded by the Cabinet Office, as part of Reading Hack, the new young people’s programme from The Reading Agency which is currently in its pilot year and kindly funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Sue Wilkinson, CEO of The Reading Agency said:

“At The Reading Agency we believe that everything changes when we read. The Summer Reading Challenge, developed and delivered in partnership with librarians across the UK, is a fantastic programme which makes reading fun and improves children’s reading range, motivation and confidence. Taking part can be the highlight of the summer for many families and helps them rediscover their local library, a free, inclusive space full of activities and opportunities.

 “This year, the Record Breakers-themed Challenge is all about achieving your personal best, so we want as many people as possible to join us and pledge to use their local library this summer.”

Ciara Eastell, President of the Society of Chief Librarians, said:

“Public libraries foster a love of reading from infancy through adulthood. The Summer Reading Challenge is the highlight of the summer for many library staff and customers because it celebrates everything they love about reading and engages children, both existing and new library customers, in a unique and memorable way.”

Follow the Summer Reading Challenge on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SummerReadingChallengeUK

 

The Gaza Conflict

Recognising Palestine

Westminster Hall Debate
Wednesday 8th July

It is a year to the day that Israel launched its 51 day assault on the Gaza Strip and those of us who watched the carnage unfold on our television screens will not easily forget the images.

One need only look at the information detailed in the United Nations in order to gather a sense of the scale and disproportionality of last summer’s assault and invasion.

Israel used 20,000 tons of explosives in Gaza, 500 times more than was used by Hamas. 18,000 Palestinian houses were made uninhabitable compared to just one Israeli and the most striking figures of all are, of course, the civilian mortality figures: 1,462 Palestinian dead and six Israelis.

But figures and statistics are unable to convey the personal tragedies which lie behind them. Over one thousand children were disabled for life, one and a half thousand children have been orphaned and one hundred thousand people remain displaced.

Gaza has one of the youngest populations on earth. 43% of its inhabitants are 14 years of age or younger. These children have been forced to endure things no child should: the United Nations estimates two hundred thousand children in the Strip are in need of counselling.

Those effected by the war will be bare their scares, both mental and physical, for the rest of their lives.

Hon. Members have rightly highlighted the urgent and desperate need of humanitarian aid in Gaza. The current situation is bleak and desperate.

A May report by the World Bank states that 80% of Palestinians in Gaza are dependent on aid, unemployment stands at 43%, and Gaza’s population lives without adequate access to healthcare and education, never mind electricity or sewage. It is, to quote the report, “on the verge of collapse”.

Eight years of a cruel and illegal blockade and three brutal air campaigns and ground invasions have left Gaza’s young, captive population of 1.8million without a present and without a future, condemned to a fate by Israel that no people anywhere in the world would tolerate.

As it stands there is little prospect on the horizon of the situation in Gaza improving, and by forcing a people to live under occupation and blockade, cut off from the rest of the world and in a state of hopelessness and desperation, the next war seems to be an inevitability.

In this context our aid will be little more than a sticking plaster. We fund UNRWA and pledge money towards Gaza’s reconstruction only for schools, homes and hospitals to be destroyed by Israeli munitions during the next assault.

Indeed, the routine and indiscriminate nature of these attacks are encapsulated in Israeli military strategy parlance, which terms its strategy as “mowing the law”.

So long as the culture of impunity continues the Gazan lawn will continue to be mowed. It is precisely because Israel suffered no consequences for its crimes committed during its operations in 2008 and 2012 that she was able to commit even greater atrocities a year ago today.

International Law is only as strong as the parties which are willing to inforce it, and we have witnessed generations of failure due to the lack of political will to not only to acknowledge but take action against Israel’s violations.

Over the last half century, Israel has placed itself above international law, breaching human rights and failing or refusing to adhere to the duties and obligations placed upon them as an occupying power.

Their position has been strengthened by an International Community who to varying degree have acknowledged significant and persistent violation of international law, whether that be human rights abuses during military conflicts as we saw last year, or the prolonged injustice of Israel’s illegal occupation and settlement policy.

If the Government is sincere when it claims that we, as a nation, support the rule of law and wish to see a peaceful resolution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, then we should expect that we should support Israel being held accountable for its litany of crimes under international law.

I was therefore happy to see the Government give its support to the UN Human Rights Council resolution backing last week’s report which called on the international community to support the work of the International Criminal Court who are currently conducting a preliminary examination into the war.

The British government has said many times that it is a strong supporter of international justice and the International Criminal Court (ICC) which is why I was so outraged by the hypocrisy of the former Foreign Secretary when the rt. Hon. William Hague stated his opposition to Palestine’s intention to accede to the International Criminal Court. I hope this Government will now match its rhetoric with action and support efforts to hold all parties accountable under International Law.

We are all well aware that talk can often come cheap in politics and the Israel-Palestine conflict generates more empty clichés than any other.  If there is to be any hope of conflict resolution then we must close the gap between action and rhetoric.

One such gap that must be closed is our stated opposition to but practical support of Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise.

There are few clearer examples of a breach in international law than Israel’s illegal settlements. They constitute a grave breach of article 49 of the fourth Geneva Convention. Our Government and EU Ministers regularly decry Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise as the greatest barrier to peace and say, quite rightly, that the settlements threaten the viability of the two-state solution.

However, the 2012 “Trading Away Peace” report states that the EU imports 15 times more goods from illegal Israeli settlements than from Palestinian enterprises. We have reached a contradictory situation in which we economically sustain the very obstacles to peace—the illegal settlements—that we so often condemn as individuals in government.

The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, recently addressed the UK-Israeli Business awards dinner promising that his department “will be working hard to boost Anglo-Israeli trade and investment, and I as Business Secretary will do anything I can to support and promote it”.

The Secretary of State did not acknowledge any human rights concerns, he overlooked the illegal settlements in the Occupied Territories, and he refused to explicitly exclude the UK from trade and investment in Israel, or Israeli companies operating from the occupied territories.

Settlement products are the proceeds of crime. They are illicit goods. By trading with those who produce them, we financially encourage them – we make the illegal settlement enterprise profitable for the occupying power. This is a gross injustice that is entirely at odds with our stated support for international law and resolution of the conflict.

I do not want nor should I have to boycott products and services emanating from the settlements. I should not be able to buy them in the first place and if the Government’s protestations are more than mere rhetoric then they should work at EU level to ensure that products of criminal exploitation are banned.

We require a new “ethical” foreign policy that refuses to profit from the illegal activities of others. Without such a commitment we will forever stand on the wrong side of history in prolonging injustice and undermining international law.

This is the position we find ourselves in today.

If international and human rights law is to be effective or have any meaning it must be universal, not a system to be used by politicians when it is politically expedient in justifying a political cause. Continuing to do so, undermines and erodes any moral authority we seek to obtain from International and human rights law.

Israel’s failure to recognise or accept the illegality of settlements are the principal road block to peace undermining any viable Palestinian State.

These issues are intensified and reinforced by an Israel Prime Minister who was unequivocal prior to the election in Israel stating that there would be no Palestinian State under his watch.

It is clear that Prime Minister Netanyahu is not and has never been a partner in peace.

Due to his entrenched views there is little to no scope for negations while Israel are allowed to act with impunity, with an international community failing to address Israel’s belligerent attitude to the Palestinian people, the international community and the rule of law.

There is little prospect for a long term sustainable peace while countries like the UK continue to placate Israel’s repeated breaches of international law.

A two state solution is an empty motto, used as a crutch by political leaders at a time of conflict and concern.

If a two state solution is to mean anything and become a reality the international community must be willing to take practical action to end the illegal behaviour of the Israel Government.

I believe the only way to bring Israel to the negotiation table as an honest partner in peace would be to show that their actions have consequences, and nations with a degree of influence must use it, without which Israel will continue to ignore the rightful claim of the Palestinian people.

In his final letter before his death the eminent Nobel Prize winning philosopher Bertrand Russell asked:

How much longer is the world willing to endure this spectacle of wanton cruelty?

That was 45 years ago. The real tragedy is that 45 years on the question still remains.

GRAHAME MORRIS MP BACKS APPGC CALL FOR WORLD-CLASS ONE-YEAR CANCER SURVIVAL RATES

APPGCEasington MP Grahame Morris has shown his support for improving UK one-year survival rates while attending an All Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer (APPGC) event in Parliament.

By 2020, almost half of the UK population will receive a cancer diagnosis during their lifetime. Cancer survival rates in the UK are among the worst in Europe – not least because many people are diagnosed too late. The APPGC believes that this must change.

At the event, Mr Morris was presented with the cancer survival rates for Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield Clinical Commissioning Group showing that 67% of local people with cancer will live for a year after diagnosis. This is lower than the national one-year survival rate for England of 69%. By comparison, the one-year survival rate in Sweden is 81%.

The APPGC published a short report at the event which highlights that from April 2015 one-year survival rates have been included in the Delivery Dashboard of the CCG Assurance Framework – the highest tier of accountability at a local level. This means that Clinical Commissioning Groups are now scrutinised on what they are doing to improve earlier diagnosis in order to improve local one-year survival rates.

Mr Morris will Chair the APPGC which brings together MPs and Peers from across the political spectrum to debate key issues and campaign together to improve cancer services.

Speaking after the event, Grahame Morris MP said “The one-year cancer survival rates in East Durham will help residents to see how the CCG is performing and demand improvements. As the MP, I will be meeting the CCG leadership to discuss how, together, we can ensure more local people survive cancer.

“In East Durham only 67% of people live for a year or more after a cancer diagnosis. In Sweden, the figure is 81%. More work is needed through earlier diagnosis to increase this number, as the UK still has among the lowest survival rates in Europe. Better screening uptake, diagnostics at Primary Care, public awareness and GP training are all possible initiatives our local CCG could introduce. Many lives each year could be saved as a result.”

Time to deliver on Northern Powerhouse

Durham Train StationThe Chancellor will deliver his second Budget in four months on Wednesday and I will be listening intently for him to translate the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ rhetoric into some practical policies.

We need action to close the infrastructure spending gap. Figures by the Institute for Public Policy Research found that residents in London receive £5,426 per head compared with just £223 per person in the North East. A single project in London, Crossrail, will receive nine times more funding than all the rail projects from the North’s three regions combined.

While the Government promise to rebalance the economy and close regional economic divides, they are not willing to take the practical steps to reallocate funding to make it happen. The Government have earmarked High Speed Rail Two as a project of national significance that should be a principal driver for growth. However, the North East has been completely overlooked from the £80 billion project, the line will end at Leeds, and a consultation document from Network Rail suggests we look to lose direct services to the capital and have slower journey times to major Scottish cities.

We need a comprehensive regional transport plan to improve connectivity within the region and to major transport routes. There are schemes the Government could support that would have a real practical difference to people in East Durham and the North East.

Locally, they could do more to support the efforts for a new rail stop at Horden and only this week a Westminster Hall debate highlighted the chronic under-investment in the metro which is using trains that are forty years old and leading to an increasing number of faults.

A comprehensive transport plan should look at improving and upgrading the metro, but also extending it to other parts of the region like East Durham.

A high quality metro service operating from East Durham would open up new employment opportunities for local people, and provide greater access to our East Durham Heritage Coast supporting our efforts to promote business and tourism.

On Wednesday, the Chancellor needs to show that the Northern Powerhouse is more than empty rhetoric and we will be looking for substantive policies showing real investment coming to our region.

Armed Forces Day 2015

LSeaham Armed Forces Day 2015 (3)ast weekend, the East Durham community came together to recognise and honour the dedication and sacrifices of our Armed Forces during this years Armed Forces Day celebrations.

In Seaham, a parade was followed by a Drum Head Service in the Town Park. This provided an opportunity to remember East Durham’s proud and historic links with our Armed Forces.

While our service took place in East Durham, in Northern France, a delegation from the North East held a ceremony in the village of Authuille, close to the Somme battlefield to honour the many thousands from our area who had lost their lives during the battle of the Somme.

Armed Forces Day is an opportunity for us to reflect on the incredible sacrifices the service community have made for us in the past and those currently serving in some of the most dangerous places around the world defending our interests and national security.

The bravery and sacrifice of our Armed Force often goes unnoticed, however, East Durham is home to two recipients of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry.

William McNally of Murton was awarded the Victoria Cross in the final weeks of World War I, when regardless of personal safety he single handily rushed a machine gun post which had hindered his company. Just two days later he repeated his feat, with his company under heavy fire, William McNally crept to the rear of the enemy, capturing the position.

Our other VC made the ultimate sacrifice. Dennis Donnini VC of Easington was the son of an Italian immigrant. During World War Two Fusilier Donnini platoon was ordered to attack a small village. Despite being wounded he continued the attack coming under intense fire. After reaching cover Fusilier Donnini went out again under intense fire to carry a wounded comrade into safety. Then for a second time, and though again wounded Fusilier Donnini advanced firing a machine-gun until a bullet hit a grenade he was carrying and killed him. Through drawing enemy fire on himself, he enabled his platoon to capture the position and overcome more than twice their number.

At only 19 years old Dennis Donnini was one of the youngest recipients of the Victoria Cross, and his sacrifice and bravery was recently recognised when Easington Regeneration Partnership named a new park in his home village of Easington Colliery in his honour.

It is impossible to describe the debt of gratitude we owe to our Armed Forces, as without their sacrifice we would not have the freedom and security which we too often take for granted. Armed Forces Day provides us an opportunity remember.

When discussing our Armed Force we often hear the words “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers”, emphasising the solidary between soldiers, however, as a civilian I think of the words of another Shakespeare quoteI can no other answer make but thanks, and thanks, and ever thanks”, when highlighting my appreciation of our Armed Forces.