For much of my career – as a student, teacher, and M.P. – the real beginning of the year for me has been September rather than January. So now is a good time to look forward, and also back.
Two big events coming up are the new Mayor’s People’s Banquet on October 10, and the Be My Guest project.
I have now finalized a radical revamp of the Mayor’s annual banquet to ensure that, as a People’s Banquet, for the first time a true cross-section of Worcester society will be invited, according to new criteria, recognizing the good work of people who would otherwise never be rewarded for what they do.
The Be My Guest project is an attempt to encourage some interest in civic affairs by inviting schoolchildren and students into the Mayor’s Parlour to have a convivial meeting to talk about historical and current affairs, and have a tour of The Guildhall followed by refreshments.
Looking back, I have attended numerous events to mark the outbreak of the First World War, with still more to come. But apart from rightly honouring our fallen heroes, have we learned the lessons of that tragedy? I fear not.
Even today, this country has now been at war in the Middle East for 11 years. The questions we must answer are: do the horrors of the fighting – the wanton death and destruction – justify the end? Although countries may win the military campaign, do they actually win the war?
I am frequently reminded of this since right outside the Mayor’s Parlour, behind the wooden panels, is a whole wall containing the handwritten Roll of Honour listing those 4,981 Worcester people who served in the First World War, of whom an astonishing 741 were killed.
Let’s make all that worth it and, because life is not a rehearsal, let us think of the consequences before we act or speak.