Make our MPs line the road at Wootton Bassett
I WAS going to go to Wootton Bassett on Tuesday. I don't know why; I just thought I should.
But when it was clear that it was going to turn into a flower-chucking, Diana-inspired media circus - as we saw on the telly later that night - I decided to give it a miss. I'll go again, another day, when it's quieter and a lone squaddie is being brought back in a body bag.
I'm torn on this whole thing. The lining of the streets of this minor English town to show respect for our fallen has grown organically, and for the right reasons. It began when a funeral cortege just happened to go down the High Street as the local branch of the British Legion were rehearsing for a parade. From there it's grown and grown, but it's sometimes difficult to distinguish between a genuine outpouring of emotion and respect and a sort of ghoulish theme park experience.
What is certain is that not a single government minister has ever shown his face in the vicinity. Neither, to the best of my knowledge, has any representative of NuLabour, the people who sent Our Boys to war, ever attended a funeral of one of the fallen. The excuse is that "if we go to one, we'll have to go to them all". Well what's wrong with that?
Unless some of the thieving bastards have resigned in the past 24 hours, there are 349 Labour MPs across the country. There is no reason at all why they can't draw up a rota to ensure that one of them manages to don the black tie and drag themselves along to any Army funeral in their vicinity. It's the least they can do.
And if that proves too difficult to organise, then let's just send toothbrush-moustached Bob Ainworth, Minister for the Armed Forces, down to Wootton Bassett every time that coffin-laden plane flies into RAF Lyneham.
The lads who are dying are simply doing the government's bidding. So why are our politicians so desperate to distance themselves from the death toll?