There was a debate on defence issues on Friday inevitably dominated by Afghanistan but it went wider than that. I referred to the importance for our troops of ensuring that we did not try and score political points in these debates. You can read the debate here and see what you think.
I also used the campaign to abolish the slave trade as an example of how memorials can be used to reconnect with our history and remind ourselves that conflicts of the type we are struggling with in Afghanistan are not unique and sadly will re occur in the coming decades. I particularly want to see a memorial to the Royal Navy and Marines which could include and represent all those from Africa and Europe who campaigned or fought for the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade. I suggest it could be situated in Ghana – a stable and democratic country so closely associated with the slave trade. It could be a statue of liberty for Africa and demonstrate to people of all races that although the slave trade was driven by extreme brutality it was also stopped by the courage and conviction of Africans and Europeans who increasingly rose up against the abhorrent trade. I think the Commonwealth will also be interested in this.
16,000 RN personnel lost their lives in the campaign to stop the transatlantic slave trade. Their contribution was vital. Should we not remember it and does it have something to tell us about current conflicts? Please read what I say about this in my speech and let me know what you think – I would particularly like to hear from people with links to the RN, the Army and RAF.