My father passed away on Armistice Day, 36 years ago. He had anticipated the war with Germany in 1939 and joined the Army before the declaration of hostilities. Starting as a private, he eventually became part of the British Army’s Desert Rats in North Africa, fighting against the Nazis. When I was born in 1949, he was already a major and was responsible for organizing the Territorial Army in the West of Scotland. It was not surprising that he continued his military career after the war, as it was a family tradition. My grandfather had been a regimental sergeant major, and my uncle, after whom I was named, died in Lucknow, India, while serving with the cavalry.
The article includes images of poppy crosses at the ‘Field of Remembrance’ at Westminster Abbey and a pro-Palestine march in London. The author expresses regret that the pro-Palestine march took place on the same day as Armistice Day, considering it disrespectful to the war dead. The author agrees with the Prime Minister’s view that the march was unnecessary and that the organizers should have refrained from holding it for one weekend, especially since there had already been four similar marches in previous weekends and there would be more opportunities in the future.I agree with the Prime Minister’s view that the pro-Palestine march that took place in London on Armistice Day was unnecessary and showed disrespect for our war dead. It was not too much to expect the organizers to refrain from holding the march for just one weekend, especially considering that there had already been four similar marches in previous weekends and there will be plenty of opportunities for more in the future.
As a child, I was fascinated by the field guns and armored personnel carriers at the local drill hall where my father was stationed. I was often referred to as “Major Neil’s son.” Therefore, Armistice Day holds a special significance for me, as it does for all families with military connections, even though I have never served in the military myself (as my father once said, “I fought in a war so you didn’t have to”).
This day is a time for somber reflection on the devastating toll of war and to express grateful thanks to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we often take for granted. It is a day when other concerns and considerations should take a backseat.
I apologize for the fact that the pro-Palestine march took place yesterday. I share the Prime Minister’s belief that it was unnecessary and disrespectful to our war dead. It would not have been too much to ask for the organizers to abstain from holding the march for just one weekend, especially considering the previous marches that had already taken place and the future opportunities for more.
However, I am glad that the march was not banned. We live in a free society where the right to peaceful protest is a fundamental aspect. This right should be upheld, even when we do not agree with the cause of the protest.
It is easy to defend the rights of those who share our views. However, it is more important to defend the freedom of those with whom we disagree, even when they choose to demonstrate on days that rightfully belong to others.
Yesterday’s march was difficult to accept. However, it was the right decision to allow it to proceed.
Armistice Day is a time for solemn reflection on the devastating impact of war and to express grateful thanks to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. The image shows the Armistice Day Service of Remembrance at the Centotaph in central London.On Armistice Day, it is important that other concerns and considerations take a backseat. Grant Shapps is pictured laying a wreath at the Armistice Day Service of Remembrance at the Centotaph.
The protest, although not banned, is a testament to the freedom we have in our society. The right to peaceful protest is a fundamental aspect of free societies, even when we disagree with the protest. Pro-Palestine marchers are seen on Vauxhall Bridge in London.
It is crucial that politicians do not have the power to decide who can protest and who cannot. Like everyone else, they have the freedom to express their opinions and request that people refrain from protesting at certain times or places. However, our freedoms should not be defined or limited by temporary politicians. We live by a set of laws, not political whims.
When it comes to protests, the law is clear. The government can only ban marches if the police request it due to a clear danger of “serious public disorder.” The legal threshold for this is high, requiring specific intelligence indicating the risk of serious unrest. Neither the police nor politicians can simply silence protests without proper justification.
This is essential in a democracy, even if it can be difficult to accept, as it was yesterday.
Rishi Sunak’s description of the march as “provocative” and “disrespectful” does not mean it was illegal. I agree with him, but criticism does not equate to illegality.
The organizers may have harmed their cause by proceeding with the march. Most people will likely view it as a grave mistake. However, when they agreed not to begin until after the two-minute silence and to stay away from the Cenotaph in Whitehall, our national war memorial, there was no legal reason to stop it.
Just as politicians are not above the law, neither are protesters. Racism and anti-Semitism are rightfully prohibited, and when demonstrators shout such obscenities, they should face legal consequences.The police have not been sufficiently compliant in enforcing the law. Hamas is a terrorist organization, and supporting it, which is prevalent among the marchers, is against the law. The Metropolitan Police, who have suddenly become knowledgeable in the interpretation of the Koran, claim that ‘jihad’ has multiple meanings. However, when it is shouted at an anti-Israeli march, it only signifies one thing – the destruction of Israel, which is the fundamental principle of Hamas.
When it comes to protests, the law is clear. The government can only prohibit marches if the police request it due to a clear risk of ‘serious public disorder.’ The image shows the pro-Palestine march departing from Park Lane in London on November 11, 2023.
It is important to note that this is what our brave fallen soldiers sacrificed their lives for. It is a symbol of our democracy. The image depicts police officers and barriers surrounding the Cenotaph.
The chant ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’ is equally abhorrent. The river referred to is the Jordan, the sea is the Mediterranean, and the land in between is Israel. It is once again a call for the eradication of Israel and cannot be tolerated, particularly since it is often driven by anti-Semitism.
Once again, the police must take a stronger stance in monitoring these marches and other demonstrations.
We cannot allow a repeat of the events in 2021 when pro-Hamas hooligans drove through Jewish neighborhoods in London, threatening to rape Jewish mothers and daughters. Shockingly, although four individuals were arrested, none were prosecuted.
Being tolerant of protests should not make us naive.
The right to protest also entails the responsibility to respect the democratic rights of others. Those who protest for Palestinian rights cannot be permitted to make British Jews and others feel unsafe in their own capital.
It is worth noting that there is no right to protest in Hamas-controlled Gaza or the areas of the West Bank governed by the Palestinian Authority, unless it is in support of their agenda.Protesting against Israel is an act that showcases our right to express our opinions and beliefs. In a time where moral relativism prevails, emphasizing the equality of all cultures and societies, it is important to assert that our ability to protest sets us apart and makes us stronger. This fundamental right, for which our brave ancestors sacrificed their lives, is a defining characteristic of our democratic society. It is a value that my father comprehended and appreciated.
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