James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire - Soldiers do so much for us at huge personal cost (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire - Soldiers do so much for us at huge personal cost
3:00pm Thursday 24th October 2013 in News
Malmesbury man Thomas Hobbes famously argued that were it not for decent government and a ‘social contract’ which binds us all together life would be “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”
His brilliant book, Leviathan, is something of which Wiltshire people can be proud – a fact reflected in the six-year-running Malmesbury Philosophy Festival which I attended last weekend.
Jesse Norman, MP for Hereford, academic philosopher and recent author of a book about Edmund Burke spoke for 45 minutes without a note on some of the more abstruse aspects of English 18th-century political philosophy.
It was Burke, Mr Norman said, who built on Hobbes’ work and converted politics from primitive factionalism to organised parties gathering around clear and central principles. How ironic it was, then, that the first question should be from someone trying to claim Burke as a Liberal – which Mr Norman politely squashed.
Said questioner, it transpired, was the newly selected candidate for the Liberals in the next election, no doubt seeking some local profile. He had narrowly defeated Malmesbury man Simon Killane for the nomination the previous evening.
Mr Killane, who had stood for Wiltshire Council as a proud, committed and determined Liberal as recently as last May, promptly resigned from his Party in a fit of pique at his non-selection, causing, it was reported to me at my Malmesbury surgery the following day, open warfare within the local Liberal Democrats.
Burke would have been proud to stand with the Prime Minister, ministers, generals and a huge crowd of MPs, peers and Parliamentary staff on Wednesday when I welcomed home 120 soldiers representing 1 Mechanized Brigade, from Afghanistan. He would have understood and welcomed the thanks and praise for our troops who put themselves at all kinds of dangers and discomforts for our good.
It is people like these, fighting and working on all of our behalves who do so much to ensure that all of our lives can be as little ‘nasty brutish and short’ as is possible, even at huge personal cost to themselves. Politicians could take some lessons from them.
Every action should be for the benefit of the people we represent (or hope to). Politics should be about high principle for the common good, and wholly setting aside factionalism and cliques.
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