East Lothian Courier – 9 November 2023


With Parliament returning from a brief break, I’ll again be supporting the calls for a ceasefire in Gaza. A humanitarian pause just doesn’t go far enough. With Remembrance Sunday approaching we can all recall tales of Christmas truces between troops in the trenches. But Gaza is an attack upon a civilian area even if Hamas fighters are located there. How long would a pause be for? Removing the dead and wounded is one thing but there’s over 2 million people residing there. Where can they go?

It’s why calls for a pause just don’t go far enough. Only a ceasefire can protect civilians from the slaughter whether from above with rockets and planes or from the ground with troops and tanks. That’s what I’ll again be seeking and will work with individuals and organisations striving for it.

The other matter which may arise in Parliament is the fallout from the Covid Inquiry. The revelations about the chaos in Boris Johnsons premiership were farcical whilst his own position utterly disgraceful. The first responsibility of any elected politician is to protect the life and welfare of citizens. To be so crass as to be willing to sacrifice the elderly was simply appalling.

Johnson was always a narcissist and that’s been exposed. Those who defended him or downplayed his actions also need held to account. It’s not just the harm he did as Prime Minister but the price and pain he was prepared to enforce on others. He wasn’t just some jovial posh boy. He was a scheming charlatan interested only in himself and his rich pals. Some of the latter benefitted from Covid but it was ordinary people who paid the price.

The other aspect of the Covid inquiry has been What’s app and private messages. Now when I was a Minister social media was just beginning to come in and we were being encouraged to use it. That was Twitter or Facebook postings about what we’d done. What’s App hadn’t come along.

But deleting these messages is wrong. They’re part of the record as are formal memos or letters. They need produced.