Tony Blair gladly sang the national anthem for all to see. But he brought shame on the UK and disaster to Iraq.
I am a patriot – an immensely proud father of two sons. Both my boys served in the British army, and my eldest, Tom, made the ultimate sacrifice serving our country in Iraq. So I have a strong view on Jeremy Corbyn and patriotism.
Corbyn has found himself at the blunt end of a lot of criticism in the media for his supposed lack of patriotism for not singing along with gusto to the national anthem during a memorial service to mark the Battle of Britain at St Paul’s Cathedral earlier this week. Battle of Britain veterans were quoted as saying the Labour leader’s “lack of respect” was astonishing.
But I think those who criticise Corbyn should look more deeply at his record. Surely a true patriot is not just a person who follows the laid-out rituals, but one who defends the honour of his country at all levels with pride and vigour.
A true patriot would not mislead or deceive his fellow countrymen or put them in harm’s way with no good reason. A patriot would wish to see his country held in high esteem on the world stage with other UN nations firmly in support. This is the man we know Jeremy Corbyn is, from all his words and deeds.
Sadly, in sharp contrast we had a false patriot in a leaders such as Tony Blair who would gladly smile and sing his heart out to the national anthem for all to see, but who at the same time was misleading parliament on Iraq, misleading the people and worst of all misleading those brave troops who were to lay down their lives.
So many died for the lie of a threat of weapons of mass destruction that never existed. He brought disgrace on Britain, taking us into an illegal war without UN backing. He brought suffering and death to many of our finest – including my son Tom – by sending them to an ill-planned war, ill-equipped. These are hardly the actions of a patriot.
Corbyn has gone on record as saying that if Labour were to win a general election and form the government then he would apologise for the catastrophic war in Iraq. He stood firmly behind and supported military families who opposed the illegal war in Iraq in our quest to bring the troops – our sons and daughters, loved ones – home as soon as possible.
More recently he has supported the call for Sir John Chilcot to bring a swift end to the farcical delays in the Iraq inquiry. Our country’s true honour would be upheld if those responsible for a war that has created so much havoc and unending destruction were brought to justice for what they did – Tony Blair included.
Does the above display a distinct form of patriotism? Fighting for the honour – through honesty and decency – of our country?
Let us not forget that if Corbyn had been prime minister back in 2003, Britain would not have entered into war with Iraq on a falsehood. He would have remained true to his people and his beliefs.
Then 179 brave troops would not have died, and 3,500 would not have been severely wounded with life changing injuries. Hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi men, women and children would not have perished.
Would Corbyn willingly exacerbate anti-western feeling around the world and make Britain a less safe place to live? Would he send our troops to risk death on a lie? I think not.
Give the guy a break – he just wants a more equal society where people can live in peace. Surely this is a patriotic aim. Maybe it’s an unachievable utopia he strives for, but good luck to him.