Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day brings a range of emotions for me. I look back at my military service with a great deal of pride and remember with fondness the bonds of friendship that were forged in adversity during my operational tours of Northern Ireland and Bosnia.

I also feel sadness when I think of good friends who have been cut down in the prime of their lives. I think of their wives that have to endure life without a husband and of course the children growing up without their father.

I recently had a major disagreement with my MP over a tweet he had posted regarding the Unilateral Nuclear Disarmament which would take place under a Labour Government.

How would nuclear annihilation and the indiscriminate killing of millions of people solve any of the world’s problems?


His argument is made more ridiculous by his insistence that the Nuclear Weapons we have are a deterrent to Russia. Really? Our entire British Force currently stands at 150K. Now compare that to Russia’s 3.5 million! We have 160 nuclear warheads compared to Russia’s 1,500. How is bringing a pea shooter to a machine gun fight a deterrent?

What he should be doing is giving a firm commitment to reverse the cuts that his Conservative Government have imposed on our National defence. In 2010 we had 103,000 Army Soldiers, 35,500 Navy Sailors and 40,000 RAF Aircrew. That figure now stands at 82,000 soldiers, 30,000 sailors and 35,000 RAF Aircrew. When these figures are combined with the callous change of Pensionable age of our force’s personnel do the actions of this Conservative Government really live up to its Red, White, and Blue rhetoric?? I think not!

Perhaps the money spent on nuclear weapons would be better served housing the many Ex Service Men who sleep rough on our streets today?

This leads me onto my next point. At the time of writing, 64 army veterans have committed suicide this year alone as a direct result of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD sometimes known as shell shock or combat stress occurs when the nervous system is unable to return to its normal state after the fight or flight experienced during severe trauma or a life-threatening situation. The recovery entails the journey back from a mental war zone to a healthier state of mind. By the Governments own figures (quoted in the House of Commons Defence Committee Report) it is estimated that one in ten of our Forces personnel could have mental health problems. I wonder; are we failing our combat veterans?

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I had the opportunity to discuss with an old friend of mine, his experiences of serving in Afghanistan. It was with tears in my eyes that I listened to his story unfold. The responsibility that he felt towards his men, the immediate realisation that his preparation was wholly inadequate and ultimately the despair he felt when he was injured. I could not be prouder of how that man has battled through such a traumatic experience aided by his truly amazing wife. I was truly humbled in their presence.

This story and many more like them have ultimately strengthened my resolve that the Blair led invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan was a truly awful error.

Nothing unites soldiers more than their resolute courage in the face of conflict and danger. I remember vividly the fear I felt on foot patrol on the streets of Belfast during the early 90’s. I was well aware that my life could have been taken from me at any moment, like so many others before me. I remember too, the scenes of utter devastation in Bosnia. The revulsion that I felt at crimes that mankind had committed. Villages and Towns destroyed, atrocities carried out by one neighbour to another, entire generations of families utterly erased from existence.

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The memories I have convince me to conclude that war is far from glorious. Harry Patch who fought in the Great War and was actually the last remaining soldier alive, described the conflict as nothing more than organised murder. US President Franklin Roosevelt simply said, “I have seen war, I hate war. Yet war it seems is inevitable”. Albert Einstein said “as long as there are sovereign nations possessing great power, war is inevitable”. President Trumps decision to withdraw from a Nuclear Weapon disarmament programme seems to be consistent with this! This is precisely why I can follow a man who is a pacifist and makes conflict a last resort. After all it is easy to send others to war.

What is beyond any doubt is that the freedom that we enjoy today came at a price. Indeed, the famous words of John Maxwell Edmunds ring true which state “when you go Home, tell them of us and say, for your Tomorrow we gave our Today”. Therefore, I shall have no hesitation in raising a glass on Remembrance Day and toasting those that gave everything, and the memory of my friends in their prime!


Norton Town Council Meeting Update

During Mondays Norton Town Council Meeting, Bryan Barrett asked the developers to ensure that local people are given priority in the allocation of the affordable homes which will make up 35% of this development! 550 new homes and school plan for Norton


Bryan notes that it’s not realistic just continue to build more and more houses, and not invest in other infrastructure.  Planners need to ensure that the developers will contribute to providing Schools, Doctors Surgeries, Hospital faciliies, and Public Transport in Norton, to cope with the growth in population the development will bring.

URL to Gazette Herald article

Fracking Update from Bryan Barrett

I can’t have been alone at being alarmed at the release of the IPCC report last week.

The very sobering report can be summarised in just one sentence. The burning of fossil fuels is destroying our planet.

Is it not obscene then that in the very same week in which this report was released, the High Court ruled that Fracking could go ahead? Is it also not obscene that this government “pulled the plug” on making environmentally cleaner cars more affordable?

In comparison the Norwegian parliament has set 2025 as the goal for ALL new cars to have zero emissions, compared with the UK’s 2040, they are on target, the UK isn’t.

Fracking is an emotive subject and one that many people close their ears and eyes to. There is a lot of evidence available, much of which can seem to be contradictory. I have considered both sides of the argument and deduced that we should be investing in renewable energy.

Surely, we cannot surge ahead with a controversial method of gas extraction with a history of environmental disasters in other countries when we have just admitted that our planet is dying!

The argument that we need a bridge to renewable energy is also defunct after a Petro-chemical giant, admitted in an article published in the Sunday Times newspaper on 30th December 2017, that all of the gas extracted as a result of fracking would be used as a feedstock to power its power plants. These same power plants, make the plastic that pollutes our seas and oceans. This is quite simply grotesque!

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I have had an off the record discussion with a senior employee of an energy company, who own the PEDL License for an area very close to where I live. They state that our country should be heavily investing in renewable energy and that Fracking will not end well.

Think about it, an expert in the field, employed in the oil and gas industry has informed me of the detrimental impact that fracking will have on our communities. This is a warning that I cannot ignore.  Put simply; fracking will destroy our community for corporate profit!

Given the controversy surrounding fracking you could be forgiven for thinking that there would be a concerted effort to ensure that everything would be conducted transparently in an effort to combat any claims of underhand dealings or unfair play.

The sentencing of 3 protestors for 18 months by a judge with, according to the Daily Mirror, links to the oil and gas industry suggests to me that there is an unseen power at play here.

Surely the time is now for every politician to come together, irrespective of their political allegiance and work collaboratively for the good of our humanity? The future of our world depends on it!

Bryan Barrett




Bryan’s Blog

Do you know your local councillors?

A Labour Party Candidate honest enough to admit he used to be a Tory voter

My name is Bryan Barrett and I am a serving Fire Fighter.  I live in Norton (near Malton), North Yorkshire with my wife and two children, not far from where I was brought up on the Tang Hall Council Estate in York. When I left school, I joined The Green Howards Infantry Regiment based in Catterick Garrison and Osnabruck Germany. I took part in a number of operational tours of Northern Ireland and Bosnia.

I left the Army in 2000 and moved to Malton to join the Fire Service. My early years as a fire fighter saw me at odds with the Blair Government. Strikes over fair pay and my disagreement over the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan made me a natural Conservative voter. My disagreement with the Labour Party became altogether more hostile as a number of my friends, who were still serving, lost their lives in Afghanistan. The lives of these young men, who knew little about politics, were cut short by a war that they were ill prepared for. That experience had a profound effect on me. But old allegiances run deep,  and it wasn’t until after the 2015 general election that I began to realise that it was the policies of the coalition government that had led to austerity and the increasing poverty around me. Public service workers like me had been taken for granted. The cost of living was increasing, yet our wages had totally stagnated and my annual salary was virtually the same in 2015 as it was in  2010.

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Bitterly disappointed with politics in general, I was intrigued when Jeremy Corbyn became leader. He stated his intention to stand on an anti-austerity platform and seemed to be able to relate to fellow human beings in a way that other politicians simply couldn’t. Labour Party membership doubled in his first 6 months as leader. However, I remained deeply suspicious of politicians in general and it wasn’t until I read the manifesto in 2017 that I nailed my colours firmly to the mast and became a Labour Party member myself.

Now in 2018 I am appalled at our divided country where the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Homelessness is rising sharply, health inequalities are widening and a record number of people are having to rely on foodbanks. We face the unprecedented situation of this generation being worse off than the last, with the worst wage growth for 200 years.

We all need to do something about this, and as an elected Labour representative, I want to lead the local fight for a fair society where everyone has opportunities, and no one needs to visit a food bank.

Bryan Barrett, October 11th, 2018