Reflections on Public Service on Remembrance Day

Reflections on Public Service on Remembrance Day

I was honoured to attend the Sevenoaks Town Council’s Remembrance Day parade and service. The Revd Canon Angus MacLeay in his pause for thought reminded us of our need for each other as part of a community, encapsulated in the phrase “No man is an island”.

As we remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice today, I also think of those who survived conflict and war and continue to carry the scars of battle, both physical and mental, and those whose lives have been defined by their service to their country.

My family’s service

My own father Eric is a D Day veteran. He landed on Gold Beach at the age of 21, and still shares his memories with such lucidity as if it happened last year. For him, his service for his country is the thing that defines him as a person more than anything that happened in the following 70+ years.

My grandfather, whom I never met, served in both world wars, including the Gallipoli Campaign. His service is all the more remarkable as he chose to return to Europe to fight from his home in Jamaica (where my great grandfather served in the legislature as the Custos of Portland).

My personal view of public service and politics

My commitment to public service comes from my traditional Christian upbringing and family values, and the example of my forefathers. I am a Conservative politician because I believe in the power of the individual to aspire to greatness without state interference and the responsibility we all have to look after the most vulnerable and each other when in need.

I have had comments on my Facebook page from people saying we shouldn’t have a political Police & Crime Commissioner because he/she should serve the public not his/her party. Yet in every community across Kent there are councillors at parish, town, district, unitary and county level who have no conflict in serving their residents and at the same time being a member of a political party. It does not prevent them from putting their residents first. The Police & Crime Commissioner role is no different. It is a public service role. The ability to do a good job is enhanced by political experience and the ability to communicate effectively with local and national government. This is a message we need to get across.