Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 12 November 2015


Last Sunday I listened more carefully than ever before to the words of "In Flander's Field" beautifully read at the civilian service just down from the Hoe. For the first time (shame on me) I understood its principle point: that if we do not remember the sacrifice of those who have died in warfare keeping us free, the dead cannot fully enter their rest.

While I suspect that theologically that is not true, it is nonetheless a powerful point, and a further reason why acts of remembrance are necessary. The Hoe was packed out again this year with people of all age groups, remembering, expressing thanks, praying for the fallen and for peace. This year at the end of the service spontaneous applause rippled through the crowd, not something I ever remember happening before.

There are those who believe these acts of remembrance glorify war and they are entitled to their point of view. The harsh reality is that there has been warfare on this planet ever since the dawn of man, and unless something dramatic happens to human nature, it is likely that there always will be. We should work for peace, but we have to prepare for conflict and ensure that we send our brave young men and women into battle to keep us safe with the very best eqipment that we can provide.

It is why we must take better care of those who return from conflict zones with physical or mental handicap. As a boy I used to love war films and had a child's view of war.  Now I wonder how anybody copes under the constant threat of attack. I watched American Sniper the other day and it scared me witless.

We must look after those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). When I was first elected, I can recall defence ministers refusing to admit that such a condition even existed.  Thank goodness those days are long gone. Having met many over the years who came back from conflict "changed", I have seen the impact. Still more to do.

Remembrance Day is special. It is an opportunity to express our gratitude to those who have given so much including the ultimate sacrifice. It is a reminder to do more for survivors and veterans. It is a powerful incentive to work for peace
And according to that compelling poem Flanders Field our appreciation helps the fallen to enter their rest. May it be so.

posted by Gary @ 09:09