Monday, June 08, 2009
On such a depressing day, particularly for those of us living in the North West, the best thing we can all do is put aside our anger and remember what it is we love about being British.
For me the most important part of my British identity is freedom. Freedom to believe in whatever I choose to believe in, and so long as they harm no-one, the freedom to live my life in accordance with those beliefs.
My family were immigrants, Jews fleeing the persecution of Russian pogroms on my maternal side, and Irish seeking work on my paternal side. Such a background means I believe in freedom of thought and expression so vehemently that regardless of my disgust for their politics I absolutely support the right of parties such as the BNP to believe whatever they want to believe.
Previous generations laid down their lives for us to be able to live in such freedom. It's equally important now that we fight as bravely as they did. Instead of guns and bombs our weapons should be freedom and justice. It's too easy to think that nothing we do makes any difference and become apathetic. Just one small gesture performed every day by each one of us can make enough difference to change our society.
Today my gesture was to visit the grave of Lieutenant John O'Neill, VC. Lt O'Neill is buried in the cemetery a few streets away from my home. His grave was looking like it needed some love and attention when I discovered it a few days ago, so today I returned to clean it.
What will your gesture be?