As we commemorate Remembrance Sunday in Brent we must also recognise the contribution of millions of women and men from African, Caribbean, South East Asian, along with other Commonwealth nationalities who have served this country without proper acknowledgment since the Battle of Waterloo. Also it is important to remember ex-service personnel who play an important role in civic and public life like Cllr Lincoln Beswick MBE who is the only current Brent councillor to have served in the armed forces.
Although I was against the war in Iraq and question the impact of our involvement in Afghanistan, I still have the utmost respect for those young men and women who are committed to serving our country. We are lucky to learn about the heroics and courage of Johnson Beharry in Iraq who received the Victoria Cross. Sadly many of our young men and women including Brent residents have given their lives in these conflicts which ultimately need a political solution.
I was lucky to befriend the late Eddie Noble who wrote the ‘Jamaican Airman’ the first major biographical account of a black service man’s wartime experiences and the colour bar in 1950s. This inspired me to make the documentary ‘A Charmed Life’ back in 2008 about Eddie and other ex-service men and women.
I had the privilege of screening the film at a fundraising event for Brent Central CLP at Bridge Park in November 2012. For those of you missed the event. Please see the film trailers which you an insight in to Eddie’s story. Click here
On the back of my film in 2010 I worked on an inter-generational workshops where young people from North London interviewed war veterans, ex-service men and women from World War 2, Mau Mau, Burma, Falklands, Bosnia and Iraq. The project Speaking Out and Standing Firm gave young people a better understanding of war and conflict and their own personal motivations around their future careers and personal development. Please see link to the film trailer click here
This year I worked with the Imperial War Museum as part of a film and research project on the Commonwealth contribution to WW1 & 2 acknowledging the BAME contribution and its legacy today around modern conflicts and the narrative of Britain as we move toward the centenary of WW1 in 2014.
Please see the link to the film which is part of a national road show. The museum is in the process of working with Brent Council to fix a date for future screening. Click here
It is great that Brent Council is supporting the Armed Forces Covenant in supporting ex-servicemen and women and their families. From my experience working in health the key issues are support around mental health, employment and housing.
As a candidate for Brent Central I will lobby for more resources and support, but also I will stand up in Parliament against future conflicts. I will also encourage and influence Brent to be part of the City of Sanctuary movement to build a culture of hospitality for people seeking sanctuary for all migrants and victims of wars including refugees and asylum seekers.
Patrick Vernon OBE