The Conservative Party includes some of the greatest people resource we could wish for, our veterans.
I’m a veteran. As is Johnny Mercer, who I was fortunate to meet at the recent Cheshire and Wirral Conservatives Annual Conference. He gave an uplifting speech, telling of his incredible journey to become a highly successful and charismatic MP. And there are so many more veterans to speak of in our party like Dan Jarvis, Penny Mordaunt, Crispin Blunt, Andrew Selous, Ruth Davidson, Iain Duncan Smith and Steve Baker to name but a few.
The list of veterans in politics falls sharply on the side of Conservatives. Look for yourselves. For as much support as there is among university students towards Labour, the same can be said for veteran’s support for the Conservatives. But why is this?
As sailors, soldiers and airmen/women, we serve our country because we’re proud to be British and enthusiastic to share this with the world. We serve our country with a unique sense of pride and duty. We put our lives on the line because we want to help protect the British people and the British way of life. Protect our values and heritage. We want to protect freedom and democracy. Protect the freedom to speak what we think. Upholding the freedom of British people to live the lives they want to live.
Yet within our own country, we have a political class that stands against many of these values: socialists.
Socialism suffocates our freedom of choice. Socialism seeks to move us from our long-held way of life, our British way of life in pursuit of a failed ideology. It concentrates power in the hands of the few, to control the many. Socialism aims to strip us of our long-held values and heritage, because it doesn’t fit in with their ideology. They seek to shut down our freedom to say what we think, because it doesn’t match their narrative. You only have to look at the vitriolic nature of socialists on social media to realise that. They seek to tell us how to live our lives because apparently, we can’t be trusted to live our lives properly without the architecture of socialism. Socialism is in stark contrast to what I, and so many others, served to uphold and protect.
Let’s think back to the recent manifestos for how veterans and servicemen/women are treated by the national parties.
Labour want to offer veterans things they already have such as priority housing, priority mental health services, and access to education while at the same time, undermining our serving armed forces at home and overseas.
Yet the Conservatives actually think about what’s important to the people who have served our country.
In our latest manifesto, we offered a package of ideas to support our veterans.
We stop and think about how we can help our veterans, which is why we now have a Minister for veterans in Johnny Mercer.
Further help and a proper path into a civilian career. We offer something tangible to our veterans, not just meaningless words.
I, among fellow veterans will now get a veteran’s railcard on Remembrance Day.
And from spring, veterans will be offered guaranteed interviews in a wide range of public sector roles.
Why is it that we as Conservatives support our veterans? We reflect on what they have endured. Our veterans have travelled the world. They have sadly seen first-hand how bad human suffering can be. They have helped people who have fallen victim to natural disasters. They have witnessed extreme poverty, extreme disease and hunger. They have witnessed corruption. Terrorism. Selfless acts of heroism. They have lived a life like few others.
It’s not surprising that experiencing so much in life, the majority of my fellow veterans turn to the party that best represents the interests of the British people, the people they served to protect. The party that offers real opportunity and freedom. The party that wants to support the British people in what they want to do, and the societies they want to construct. To support politics that finds way to lift the whole of society away from the depths of poverty and deprivation.
It’s no surprise that when veterans become Conservative politicians, they are among the most electable candidates we have. They have an integrity that outweighs some people’s distrust of other politicians because they have earned the respect of the public through their service to our country. They have shown selflessness in the face of adversity. They hold an affinity with our communities, often coming from working class backgrounds.
We should make the most of the invaluable resource of our veteran’s community within the party and support those who wish to stand for election. Put those who were once on the frontline of the battlefield, onto the frontline of the political battlefield. They are a unique and valuable asset to our party. Let’s ensure we tap into that.