The little voice in my head that is my conscience, even when I would like it to be quiet.
I have this little voice in my head a bit like Jimmany Cricket and Pinnochio, the one that when I am going to do something or decide something says, hang on, wait a minute if you do that, then all you have said about the other is hypocritical, can you live with that Missy? (the voice calls me Missy at these times).
In this instance it is the General Election quandary I am in at the moment. I belong to our local Labour Party, I have joined every local Party when I moved house, I have been an active member, not just a supporter on elections, but always, the lobbying, the not so popular times, the leaflet drops, even when I would rather stay at home.
I hadn't got inherited wealth, I had worked damned hard, even when I lived in a hostel for homeless people, I went out to work, I did work at home anything and everything to get myself out of the poverty trap. By damn I did and by damn I succeeded. I earned each and every penny.
Now, I am disabled, I was medically retired, Mr T came out of 26 yrs in the RAF to care for me. We are 70k a year worse off. I claim DLA, I get a small amount of Industrial Injuries benefit after being almost squashed by a runaway farm trailer that squashed my company car and damaged my vision and injured me. I know all about poverty, been there, had just one pair of cardboard in my shoes, shoes, ate just once a day and turned all the heating and lights out when Mike was in bed poor. I have even been forced to use a sand castle bucket to pee in as I couldn't leave him on his own while I went to the toilet as we lived with drug takers and dealers in the hostel, once having to hit one with a baseball bat to stop him coming into my flat. yes, I know all about that side of life and not just because I made a visit to a food bank.
So, Labour and Corbyn should be the Party I vote for, I should be shouting from the rooftops at having such a left wing Leader. But I cannot, I am saddened, I am out of touch with my Party and I am lost as to who I vote for.
I would love to walk into the polling station in our local community centre and proudly put my tick next to Labour. I always sit up each election and watch while each result comes in, this year I will go to bed and pull the duvet over my head and wish it all went away. So when the local party asked where I was, was I OK, was I going out trying to rally votes in an area that is almost totally SNP, I had to say no. I told them that I am ex Forces, my husband was, my mother was, my father was, my grandfather was, we are a military family through and through. My son is a Policeman and I was a Social Worker, we are a public service family.
I joined the RAF to get away from a terrible event that happened to me in my hometown, joining the RAF or any armed forces was my way out and I took it. I loved it, not the discipline, I hated that, I was never going to be a fits into it type and had more charges than anyone I know. People in the Forces don't just have friends, we have people we live with, eat with, work with, we are as close to family as strangers thrown together can be and we extend that to anyone else who wears a uniform. We are like one huge family with a common goal, that of keeping the peace so others can enjoy democracy and freedom, we do things we are ordered to even when we disagree or don't want to, we do it because we take orders and that is why the British Armed Forces are admired, respected and loved the World over.
Every time someone says something derogatory about us, they do it because those same people have fought for freedom, every time someone burns a poppy, they can do it because we have fought for that Democracy. Each time someone protests about a War they don't agree with, they can do it because there are people risking their lives, dying or coming back with limbs missing and there are people in the countries we fight or fought that say, Thank God that we do, so they can live without fear of being gassed, shot, tortured and worse and so that girls don't have to marry at 6 yrs of age and that women don't have to be oppressed by a mad patriarchal leadership, girls get an education, water pipes, schools built all these things are and have been done while in the UK under a million marched against a war they knew nothing about.
During the 70's and 80's, when I did my time in the RAF, I got to know a lot of Army people, mainly through drinking in the pub at Thetford and Otterburn, but also through being pretend enemy in Tin City where they went to learn how to manage policing civilians. By and large we were all working class kids from council estates who wanted to see a bit of the world and who wanted something different from our parents, though not in my case, my Dad was a Spitfire pilot so he had seen a lot himself.
The IRA was at its height of bombing mainland UK, indiscriminate bombing. Many, many people died on their way to football matches, at memorial parades, just getting on with life, the Tube bombing, the Hyde Park bombing, the London Bus the Canary Wharf, the Birmingham pub etc etc all done by the IRA, ordered by two men. McGuiness and Adams.
When McGuiness died, Jeremy Corbyn had this to say:
" was very sad to hear of the death of Martin McGuinness this morning, and I would like to send my thoughts and condolences to his wife Bernie and his family.
'Martin McGuinness played an immeasurable role in bringing about peace in Ireland, after years as a key protagonist in the tragedy of the conflict.
'Martin played an absolutely crucial role in bringing about the Good Friday Agreement and a peace process which, despite difficulties, remains an example throughout the world of what can be achieved when the will is there.
'As we reflect on his role, the past twenty years have shown us that if there is leadership and the will on all sides, we can achieve change."
I thought, it is good that we moved forward, it is great that we no longer fear the IRA indiscriminate bombing.
Yet, that little voice in my head that whispers, but what about ....
That what about is that on 28 October 1989 a young Michael and I were in Wildenrath Germany filling up our car at the local petrol station outside the RAF camp we lived on. At the station was a young RAF man, Corporal Islania his wife Smita and 6 month daughter Nivruti, they had just been to the Schnelly, a snack bar, I spoke to her and chucked the pretty little girl under her chin and we shared our plans for the day and off I went.
Corporal Islania was hit by multiple rounds and died instantly, Nivruti by a single shot to her head. They found her mother almost comatose while she clung onto her poor, beautiful dead baby girls while her husband was riddled with bullets, his take away dinner in his hands. It could have just as easily have been me and Mike.
At the same time a woman who was married to a serviceman was shot outside her house, two Australian tourists were shot because the IRA killers thought they were British servicemen. Numerous other service men and women were killed including the lovely, funny Ian Shinner.
All these were ordered by Adams and McGuiness, the same men Jeremy Corbyn was sitting down with, was publishing his support of them and their actions. The same men who ordered the most horrendous torture and murder of one of the bravest SAS Officers, Captain Robert Niariac the same men who ordered the Brighton bombing and all the other death's. The little voice in my head acknowledges that Jeremy Corbyn the leader of my Party drank with them, laughed and joked with them, supported them and not once, not once did he stand for a minute's silence in memory of any of those people, the voice in my head is screaming at me to remember.
Not even Nivruti, not even condemning the murder of a 6 month baby girl who's future should have been rainbows and unicorns. Not death.
The little voice in my head says how can I respect this man? How can I put a tick in the box next to his name when all I can see is Nivruti. I met him a few times, one time I simply asked, what do you think about the murder of Nivruti? he didn't know who she was, yet he knew the names of those who had been brought to justice.
That is what I cannot forgive or forget, that is why I think electing this man makes me sick to my stomach and why I do not think for one moment he gives a toss about those who died keeping the peace back then. he was never a part of the peace process, standing for and commemorating the death of the man who killed so many. In 1987 he addressed the Wolf Tone Society and paid tribute to eight IRA gunmen who were shot by the SAS, telling the meeting that he was
'Happy to commemorate those who died fighting for an Independent Ireland'.
To commemorate means to celebrate, it means to show respect for someone or something, to honour, to salute, to pay tribute to pay homage to.
Pictures from that time, and they are all over the internet, show him with Gerry Adams at the funeral of one walking past a masked and hooded gun salute. it makes me sick. Pictures show him drinking with, laughing with, protesting with those same leaders who, by their own admission (at least they had the balls to own up to it) used the gun and bomb to spread terror.
Why is the recent terror and murder in Manchester any more important than the death of Nivruti?
Not a word about Nivruti, not a word about the housewife or the 2 Australian tourist or the hundreds of innocent people going about their day who were killed by bombs or bullets. Not one. If he at least acknowledge his support and not try to gloss it over as being part of any peace initiative. It hadn't even begun at that time. At least Adams and McGuiness apologised, expressed regret.
But Corbyn, he continues to deny, deny, deny. How can I vote for him? How can I forget that 6 month baby and ask myself that if tomorrow similar took place and he took the same stance he did then, would people still vote for him? Could they? If the answer is No, then it is hypocritical to do so now. I cannot forget, it is etched on my mind. It should be etched on yours and most certainly Corbyn, McDonnell and Abbot.
This is not integrity, not one iota. This is hypocrisy dressed up in a smart suit and with clever speeches and spin. A sympathiser is a sympathiser, no matter what suit, hat or otherwise they put on.
For Nivruti, for Ian for all those killed, I hear you voices, they scream at me, they ask me how I can vote for someone ho, while not the one who pulled the trigger or planted the bomb, gave legitimacy to an organisation by taking them into Parliament, by sitting with them and by not condemning them even now. If you can, well it is your conscience, your voice. I just hope you are never in this position.