James Gray MP with representatives from Google and The Countryside Alliance Foundation
James with representatives of 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards during a Welcome Home Event for 20th Armoured Brigade
James Gray MP welcoming representatives of 20th Armoured Brigade to Parliament
James at The Springfields Academy
The Nobel Peace Prize should, in my view, be reserved for those people who have made an outstanding contribution to the peace and stability of the world, for the promotion and preservation of democracy, and for the advancing of civilised notions of human decency and civil rights. Well, if you think that the European Union falls into any of those categories, then I fear that you and I will simply have to agree to disagree. If anything, I fear that the EU may ultimately have the opposite result – by forcing different peoples into a straitjacket of uniformity, you risk sparking off violent disagreements – as we are beginning to see in Greece and Spain for example. It is a nonsensical award which risks bringing Nobel’s good name into disrepute.
The sterling work, by contrast, done by those at the DFID Depot on Kemble Airfield which I visited with Minister for Overseas Development, Alan Duncan on Friday, genuinely promotes peace and security globally. Kemble is the base from which we fly out the tents, camp beds, water purifying equipment and so on which may well be needed at a moment’s notice as a result of natural disasters around the world. I am very glad that we here make our little contribution to humanitarian relief in that way.
On Saturday night, I was pleased to attend the regimental dinner of 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards in Cardiff, having played a small part in preventing their abolition. Just back from Afghanistan, they fulfil my own regiment's motto "Arms are the Balance of Peace ".
By Sunday, I was at the excellent civic service at Royal Wootton Bassett’s St Bartholomew’s church where the outstandingly able vicar, Revd. Canon Thomas Woodhouse preached on “giving to Caesar what is Caesar’s and saving for God what is God’s.” The presence in the church of Bassett’s ceremonial sword which was presented to the town by the then MP in 1809 was also symbolic of the civil power being endorsed by the church. The things which are Caesar’s and those which are God’s are separate, but closely intertwined.
Global peace – or at least peace across the Tory Party – will break out as a result of the affable and superbly well-mannered Sir George Young being appointed as Chief Whip. He needs an iron fist in a velvet glove. Whips need to persuade people to do the right thing – not shout at them whether or not foul language was in fact used.
A bit of peace and harmony and the ability to get on with quietly running the country would now, I think, be much appreciated by all.
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