Friday 8 May 2015

Military Families Against War

Ten years ago, at the time of the 2005 election, and two years after Iraq had been invaded, Brian Eno told me he would put up money for an anti-war candidate to stand against Tony Blair in his Sedgefield constituency. Reg Keys was the father of Lance Corporal Tom Keys, one of six military policemen killed at Majar al-Kabir in Iraq. Tom and his fellow soldiers had been sent to a police station where they were ambushed. They had no radios and had been issued with limited ammunition. In Reg’s words, ‘They were let down in life by the men who sent them to their deaths and they have been let down in death by the people who continually deny responsibility.’ As one of many parents of unnecessarily killed soldiers, Reg was campaigning against the Ministry of Defence and was supported by Military Families Against the War. He had been planning to stand against the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, in Blackburn. I had worked with the journalist, Felicity Arbuthnot, when making a film for ITN on attitudes of Iraqis in the UK to a possible attack on their country. She said we should contact Reg and, through her, I did so. He agreed to switch his candidacy to Sedgefield and I organised his first press conference at Brian’s studio. I got to know Reg, a lovely man, and soon after became a friend of ex-SAS trooper, Ben Griffin, of Veterans for Peace. (VfP) You can read more about the Sedgefield story and about Ben in 'Left Field'. And watch Reg's brilliant put-down of an edgy-looking Tony Blair at the election count. Thanks to Reg and Ben my memoir (to be published in Feb/March 2016) is now linked to VfP and if the book goes into profit, they will get my support. They will get my support even if it doesn't.

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