Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour doesn’t respect our armed forces
Following publication in the national media of multiple photographs of Labour activists trampling over Woodside War Memorial in Croydon Central, local Royal British Legion chairman Tony Pearson speaks out against Labour's disrespect
War memorials should be preserved, protected and respected by everyone in our country. They are designed and built in memory of the men and women who gave their lives so that we can enjoy free speech, democracy and diversity in society.
This weekend, we saw that not everyone understands or even shares these values.
Photographs uploaded to Twitter by the team supporting Sarah Jones, who is hoping to become the new Labour MP for Croydon Central, make for shocking viewing.
The images, exposed by The Sun’s Westminster Correspondent Harry Cole show Sarah Jones and her supporters posing at the famous Woodside memorial site in Croydon, built in 1921 to honour 206 local men who lost their lives during the First World War.
Jones isn’t the only senior figure present. Woodside’s Labour Councillor Hamida Ali is there too, as is Councillor Timothy Godfrey -- both are cabinet members.
There’s just one problem -- Jones and her gang aren’t there to pay their respects.
The photo has been taken to support a Labour Party campaign day. They are waving Labour placards, laughing, with at least four team members standing on top of the memorial. One even has his arms outstretched as if he’s at an all-night rave.
In a damage limitation exercise, Jones and her team attempted to play down the scandal, pinning the blame on an over-excited activist. Anyone looking at the photograph could see this was at best being economical with the truth. It’s obvious several Labour members are stood directly on the memorial itself.
Then came the bombshell: further images were published showing additional Jones supporters standing and waving on the memorial, once again. I should add that these images were also openly published on the Twitter feeds of both the Croydon Labour Party and Croydon Momentum.
This kind of disrespectful behaviour has no place in Croydon, or anywhere in the country for that matter.
But the key question is, should we be surprised that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party shows such ignorance towards our armed forces? Corbyn publicly refused to sing the National Anthem during the Battle of Britain service in 2015, and has spent far too much of his political career hobnobbing with representatives from the IRA and Hamas.
Labour’s ignorance and contempt towards our armed forces is unacceptable.
As a Croydon Councillor, I led on the project that culminated in Croydon becoming the first London Borough to sign the Military Covenant and recently, in my day job as a funeral director, I was proud to steer Rowland Brothers Independent Funeral Directors to becoming the first Funeral Directors in the Country to sign the Military Covenant.
Like so many local Croydon residents, I’m proud of the sacrifice our armed forces have made, and continue to make, to keep our country safe.
At a time when the public want truthfulness and trust from politicians, the conflicting accounts from Labour’s Sarah Jones about the conduct of her activists is disturbing to say the least. Her links to Corbyn-supporting campaign group Momentum also raise worrying questions about her political views.
Representing Croydon Central on the national stage means understanding and respecting its culture, traditions and its history -- unquestionably.
These are the basic qualities needed for anyone in elected office, even more so when it comes to seeking to become a Member of Parliament.
Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party isn’t fit to represent Croydon Central, and the Woodside memorial scandal proves it.
Tony Pearson is a former Councillor in the London Borough of Croydon and local Royal British Legion chairman
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