So to start with, our society had the pleasure last week of hosting Peter Jewell, the deputy treasurer of UKIP , in a talk on the EU. It was a very interesting talk, and I would like to use this platform to thank Peter for coming. I look forward to campaigning with him and all the people that came to leave the EU. Also we have voted and we shall be opposing the change to the Porters’ contracts, as Labour and the Lib Dems have already agreed to do. This may be the first cross-party campaign which contains all of the parties in York University.
So with remembrance day being very recent, there’s many issues that one could discuss about war and conflicts, and there’s been much tiresome debate over the colour of the poppy a certain politician should wear. The red poppy and the message of “lest we forget” I feel is a peaceful one. While I understand why some people (Quakers for example) will honour their conscientiously objecting ancestors by wearing a white poppy, my opinion is that it should never attempt to appropriate the symbol of the red poppy. The red poppy is not a glorification of war, rather a glorification of freedom, with a reminder of the blood that had to be spilled to maintain that freedom from fascism. In short, anyone should feel free to wear the white poppy, but I personally will not be joining them, instead sticking with the red poppy as a symbol I feel is more fitting.
When we commemorate Remembrance Sunday, we remember those that fought in wars in our country’s name. We remember the sacrifices of those who died and those who still live. Indeed, the fact that our discharged troops are often very poorly treated many of them ending up homeless and suffering from PTSD, is a national disgrace. One of the main policies I support UKIP for is our support of the military covenant, policies such as giving veterans priority for social housing should they need it, and funding specialist hospitals to support their adjustment to civilian life after the army. The very fact that we may end up violating our obligations under NATO is deeply concerning to me. According to a report by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) , the government managed to meet the 2% recommended spend on defence this year only through an accounting trick, through subsuming parts of the Department of Work and Pensions and our UN Peacekeeping contribution (which were not part of the calculation previously) into the budget in order to show an apparent commitment. I consider this deception on the Tories’ part , and I am not impressed. At this time it is vital that we look not just to the unknown soldier, as powerful as that symbol is, but to the known soldier who gave everything for this country and who has been left with nothing.
Thomas Turton is the Secretary of the University of York UKIP Association.