I had an email in a couple of weeks ago now from John Bird, a respected member of the Brownhills British Legion and old friend of the blog. John is not known for mincing his words, and has posed an interesting question that I think is a fair and reasonable one and deserves an answer.
John Bird has periodically written clear, eloquent and concise letters to the local press – the ones that have always stuck in mind have been the ones relating to the development and plans for Brownhills High Street, and he’s written some brilliant stuff over the years including one recently that provoked much debate on the subject of Remembrance parade funding.
Since then John has been in touch to tell us that the Legion are there for the community and ex-service folk and that the local branch is always looking for new members. But today’s question is related to the community act of Remembrance, which of course, is coming in little over a month’s time.
John Bird wrote:
Mrs. Wendy Morton M.P. and the Brownhills Remembrance Sunday Service at the Cenotaph.
Over a number of recent years, I understand that the Brownhills branch of the Royal British Legion has invited our Member of Parliament, Mrs. Wendy Morton, to attend their service at the Cenotaph adjacent to St.James’ church on Remembrance Sunday at 11-00am.
There has been no explanation as to why she chooses to attend the service at Aldridge, each year, instead.
Now councillors Ken Ferguson and Stephen Craddock have each lain a wreath on her behalf during the last two years so is it possible, therefore, that they may be able to give us all an explanation as to why she prefers to attend the annual service at Aldridge rather than at Brownhills?
This is in spite of several sincere invitations. After all, she is the Member of Parliament for the whole of the Aldridge and Brownhills constituency not just Aldridge.
So once again, may I ask ‘Councillors are you able to provide an explanation as to why this appears to be the norm?’
I do think this is a valid question, and is not political in the slightest. I would, however, extend it further. Wendy Morton MP represents a constituency including Pelsall, Brownhills, Walsall Wood and Aldridge, would it not be fair to rotate attendance each year? I know every district is proud – and rightly so – of their own event. Surely each service deserves it’s turn?
Comments are open here on the matter, and I welcome a reply from local councillors – you have the floor.
Comment on this post or mail me please – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.
Again, thanks to John for making an excellent, thoughtful point.
Well I think it just shows the contempt for our ward doesn’t it. You only have to compare Aldridge town centre with Brownhills Town Centre, wherever it is … need I say more.
The thought occurred to me a few years ago. Pelsall were there with the knitted poppies years ago and a long time before others and it was that effort that made me wonder why our local MP did not attend other ceremonies within the constituency and that’s from an Aldridge resident.
Remembrance Sunday invokes strong emotions for all. It is wrong that one centre within the constituency is favoured over others. Perhaps Ms Morton should be approached directly.
Whilst we’re discussing remembrance, perhaps also, the service at Aldridge should be rid of political statements at the actual service. They have marred the service in recent years and leave a sour taste in the mouth. Politics has nothing to do with remembrance and the local Legions should keep them out of the service and speeches.
We are fortunate that Wendy does generally attend the Walsall Wood event, although being in the afternoon it doesn’t clash with the other events.
The point raised is a very valid one and the suggestion of rotating round the events, id a plausible idea.
Did Richard Shepard do this?
I’d don’t know to be honest, but I’d tenure what he did was irrelevant. invites have been sent and as John says, the constituency is not just Aldridge.