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Letter: We Should Ignore Armed Forces Day

Published on: 21 Jun, 2015
Updated on: 21 Jun, 2015

Armed forces DayFrom John Morris

Leader of the Peace Party

Armed Forces Day? A national event in Guildford? Marching soldiers; martial music; military equipment.

What’s it really all about?

We, the British public, are being subtly persuaded that it is totally in order for our government to send troops to go and kill when conflict arises. Young and old won’t mind taking the life, as killing is euphemistically described, of another human being.

All for the highly dubious reason that somehow the rest of us are being protected, being made safe.

What a cruel joke.

Can’t they see that military solutions to problems provoke revenge, creating terrorists and terrorism, refugees and asylum-seekers as well as interfering greatly with all aspects of life?

Some possible guidance to reacting to Saturday’s junketing in Guildford – ignore them. Visit the Cathedral another time. Go shopping in another town (street closures are likely to make it a nightmare getting in and out of Guildford centre anyway).

Get that breath of fresh air in one of the other gorgeous, peaceful open spaces away from Guildford. And, if a young person starts to think about “joining up”, persuade them to check out all their questions on the “” website.

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Responses to Letter: We Should Ignore Armed Forces Day

  1. Bernard Parke Reply

    June 21, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    All of us wish to enjoy a peaceful life where we are free from oppression, but some times unfortunately, we have to fight to maintain it.

    What would have happened in 1940 if we ignored the threat from Nazi Germany?

    Even the revered figure Ghandi when asked how he would react when the Japanese tanks rolled into India. His response was that he would stop them by lying down in their paths.

    It might have worked, but I very much doubt it.

  2. Brian Holt Reply

    June 21, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    Thousands will support the day, and want to show their appreciation to all serviceman and women, who had no choice but were sent to fight wars. Many lost their lives and many more lost limbs or suffered other injuries.

    These heroes still deserve to be remembered and majority of the public still want to say “thank you” to them.

  3. Frank Phillipson Reply

    June 22, 2015 at 3:04 am

    I’ll choose to ignore John Morris and his naive views thank you.

  4. Russell Morris Reply

    June 22, 2015 at 8:46 am

    Is John Morris confident that, should his stance have been taken, the Fuhrer might now allow him to express his views?

  5. Father Andrew Norman Reply

    June 22, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    Reconciliation needs the vision of a way through conflict that is itself non-violent.

  6. Martin Elliott Reply

    June 23, 2015 at 6:55 am

    Does John Morris have influence in the BBC?

    I note the flag arrival event had zero coverage on radio, twitter, local or national TV.

    I wonder why – if the event is as important as the GBC is trying to persuade us it is.

  7. Sue Fox Reply

    June 23, 2015 at 11:20 am

    I’m sorry so many correspondents have chosen to belittle John Morris who is a sincere man. Conscientious objectors have always contributed to helping to alleviate the horrors of war by doing the tasks that others would not or could not do.

    Why is Guildford Borough Council mounting this event and how much compensation are they setting aside for traders who are going to have trading losses?

    When in today’s world we see desperate people trying to escape the horrors of war in Syria, Libya, Afghanistan etc., and refuse to give them sanctuary in Britain, are we not funding or contributing to organisations such as Medecins Sans Frontieres‎ who save lives in conflict areas and the Mediterranean without any regard to whom the victims are.

    I hope those who are so keen to see this have a good day but also remember the dead and maimed who have suffered for politicians’ egos.

    • Bob Panton Reply

      June 25, 2015 at 8:04 am

      In reply to Sue Fox who asks: “Why is Guildford Borough Council mounting this event and how much compensation are they setting aside for traders who are going to have trading losses?”

      I am a trader who will potentially loose a lot of money due to this event. I will not, and suspect most traders will not, seek compensation. In fact many, many places are offering discounts to serving and veterans, not just for the day but all the time.

      I for one am happy to celebrate this day, having served, in the Royal Engineers for many years, and been lucky enough to come home unscathed, I count my blessings. Whilst everyone is entitled to their views please remember those who gave their all so that you can have your views.

      A lot of those that who have died or are injured had no choice about fighting. The politicians are the ones that cause this, so have a go at them not us veterans.

  8. Jim Allen Reply

    June 23, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    My grandfather was injured at the Somme. My father was in the forgotten army in Northern Greece. My friend was in Iraq.

    None ‘celebrate’ the begin or the end or war – they have done their duty and returned – all scarred in their separate ways.

    Should we be thankful for the fact that we have people prepared to give service, even their lives and sometimes their sanity to our country in order to protect us? The answer is, of course, yes.

    Should we actually ‘need’ them, of course not – we have no reason to keep fighting each other but sadly many do, believing they have the right to inflict their beliefs and practices on others.

    The question is not ‘Peace in our time’ but how do we achieve and maintain peace safety and Harmony in the world without restricting extremists by force if necessary.

  9. Frank Phillipson Reply

    June 24, 2015 at 2:17 am

    I’d point out to Sue Fox that HMS Bulwark has rescued more than 3000 migrants from the Mediterranean recently. Also that the RAF and Royal Navy provide search and rescue services (up until 2015) and that the British Army has undertaken peacekeeping roles.The services have also provided assistance in other emergencies.

    Nobody wants war, but when all other avenues have been explored, sometimes there is no alternative to conflict. What are people in friendly (to the UK) foreign countries supposed to do when they are faced with AK47’s, RPG’s and bombs? And if not stopped there will bring those weapons to this country.

    Finally, don’t blame the Armed Forces for what the politicians decide.

  10. Stuart Barnes Reply

    June 24, 2015 at 10:47 am

    I would suggest that Mr Morris represents perhaps about 1%, at most, of our people and thus is quite rightly ignored. There are far more English people who think that the armed forces should be rebuilt from the pitifully low levels to which Cameron has reduced them than those who follow the Peace Party line. Our forces should be supported wholeheartedly.

  11. Cllr Angela Gunning Reply

    June 24, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    This event was originally conceived as Veterans Day by PM Gordon Brown. The name and content has gradually changed over the past five to six years.

    There will be events held all over the UK as well as in Guildford.

    John Morris’s sincerely held views should not be mocked or sneered at. He is simply asking for the event to be ignored.

    My view is that the members of the armed forces who have served this country on our behalf, and have maybe come home physically and mentally scarred, should be thanked for their sacrifice.

    What I am very disturbed about is that GBC’s ethical sponsorship policy was suspended so that we might accept funding from arms manufacturers in order to hold this event.

    And sure enough top of the sponsorship list is BAE. They have a very unsavoury record on arms sales into the Middle East, with serious bribery and corruption investigations over the past decade. Plenty of background info on Wikipedia.

    Arms manufacturers exist to fuel wars, where disagreement is solved by killing. Ever been to an arms fair? I have – where every kind of machine for killing and destruction is on show.

    I shall not forget chatting with a pink-cheeked young salesman who explained to me the various advantages of types of shrapnel. He was running the metal shards through his fingers commenting ‘these are best for body laceration, and these best for penetration’. Did he know what he was saying?

    As for HMS Bulwark saving lives in the Med. Fantastic! Nothing to do waging war, or with the destruction of homes and livelihoods.

  12. Mary Bedforth Reply

    June 25, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    I am with John Morris, Sue Fox and Cllr Gunning on this.

    I thank my father’s generation for defending us in WWII. Since then, our wars have been ‘offensive’ rather than defensive.

    The annihilation of Iraq and over one million of its 28 million people by Blair’s and Bush’s “Shock and Awe,” the destruction of Libya and at least 50,000 of its people, and the fomenting of a civil war in Syria with the support of Cameron of the ‘moderate rebels’, are the root causes of the maelstrom unleashed on the people there who are now suffering terribly and attempting to migrate away from the Middle East and danger.

    There is also the question of the budget for this event when there are cuts happening in other important areas.

    What are the costs for publicity, signage, the provision of double barriers right around the park, the portaloos, stage and sound system, etc etc Plus the staff time involved in the build up? Let alone the loss to businesses with the closure of the High St from 4pm on Friday.

    One bonus. I have never seen so many brooms, strimmers and mowers in use and so much general tidying up of pavements and gutters on the route.

    Traffic chaos Saturday? Yes, certainly.

  13. Harry Eve Reply

    June 25, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    Cllr Gunning’s comments sum this up for me. We need our armed forces to defend our democracy – which I for one have always taken for granted because that is what I grew up with.

    Imagine living under the rule of a dictatorship where your views count for nothing and you have no prospect of changing things for the better.

  14. Andrew Backhurst Reply

    June 25, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    We are all very fortunate that our armed forces defend our right to express our views.

    In my lifetime I count myself lucky that I have not had to fight for my country and thank those that do it on my behalf.

    We are all fortunate that because of there work we are all able to have opposing views.

  15. Nik Dadson Reply

    June 27, 2015 at 9:59 am

    The best way to honour the people who have served is to do our best to make sure that conflict doesn’t arise and do our best to see that their children and grandchildren won’t have to go through the same horrors.

    Had we taken a more responsible attitude to the plight of German people before the Second World War the conditions may not have arisen for the Nazis to take hold of power and get such support from German people. Maybe.

    As for the First World War – what were we fighting for exactly?

    Was it democracy? Our soldiers fight for whatever they are told to fight for. Our own government will take away our rights bit by bit – no need for foreign intervention.

    If we allow our government to wage wars for their rich friends to profit from then we are mugs. We pay the government to ensure our safety – not send our children to their deaths.

  16. Angela Wackett Reply

    June 27, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    From the Red Arrows streaking up the high street at 11am to them streaking across Stoke Park at 5pm, this was no celebration of war.

    It was a celebration of the skill and bravery of our army, navy and air force, whether those skills are used for search and rescue, for scientific research, engineering, saving the victims of human trafficking on the high seas and elsewhere, or the defence of our islands and civilization.

    We had a fantastic day and learned a huge amount about what our armed forces actually do and are for.

    War is the least of it.

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