My response to the Eastbourne Independent article published yesterday:
On Friday 4th December I took part in a peaceful protest and candle-lit vigil outside MP Caroline Ansell’s office in Grove Road. The location and timing were chosen to take place during Ms Ansell’s office hours, outside her office on the day immediately after the UK parliament began bombing operations in Syria.
A number of people were gathered with placards and candles to demonstrate our opposition to the British Government’s decision to begin air strikes in Syria, and to stand in peaceful solidarity with the victims of war on all sides.
Our objective was to make clear to our local MP that we did not support her decision to vote for this action – just as many of us had contacted her prior to the debate to signal our opposition to the air strikes.
Demonstrators at the event last Friday were not aware of causing any interruption to shoppers, and in fact were standing just a few metres away from where the brilliant Stix drummers had been drumming in the road just beforehand. The road was already closed and the vigil did not cause an obstruction to those wishing to shop.
Once it had become clear that the owner of a particular premises was unhappy with our presence on the evening, the vigil was moved to different location in order not to cause any offence.
However, peaceful protest is a legitimate right in any democracy, and many passersby supported the campaign.
Whilst we condemn all acts of extremist violence, there are a significant number of voters across the country and in this constituency who do not agree that increased military intervention is the most appropriate solution to the problem. Indeed, there is strong evidence to suggest that further military strikes will only serve to increase military resistance to the West in the destabilised area of the Middle East, increase the likelihood of retaliation by extremists, and excacerbate the refugee crisis.
Our local MP, Caroline Ansell has made it clear that she voted in accordance with her desire to increase the safety and security of this country. However, if MPs do have genuine concerns about the safety and security of the country, and a real political intention to see an end to the conflict in the Middle East, with the restoration of stability in the region and the wider world, I would strongly recommend that they begin to investigate the answers to some of the questions asked by opposition MPs such as Jeremy Corbyn and Caroline Lucas, as to the sources of funding, weapons and training that have been supplied to IS in the past and have enabled them to grow into the military operation that they now are.
I personally believe that real, open and honest political debate, with a genuine will towards a political solution in the region is the best, most appropriate and most effective way to bring about peace in theregion and promote global security.