We must pause to remember those we lost during the war
Column by Councillor Lee Steptoe, a member of South Kesteven District Council
At 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the guns fell silent as an international armistice finally ended the carnage of the previous four years. That mass slaughter in the trenches saw the loss of over 10 million lives, including nearly a million from Britain and its then vast empire.
The First World War was a mechanised, industrialised war of international destruction and led to solemn statements like it was ‘the war to end all wars.’ Unfortunately, a punitive treaty was forced on Germany (the Treaty of Versailles,) which fuelled passionate German desire for revenge, led by the psychotic Adolf Hitler and his Nazi thugs. The resulting Second World War led to the loss of 60 million lives and a shattered Europe. Sadly, localised wars have continued to rage across the globe ever since.
I have taught history for 30 years and it’s always been the catastrophes of the 20th Century that has fascinated and appalled me in equal measure; always trying to get students to reflect on human made barbarities such as the Holocaust in a sensitive way. That has got increasingly difficult in our screen dominated, two second attention span society. But I urge people to stop and pause on Remembrance Sunday- and not forget the sheer scale of sacrifice our ancestors made to preserve our free society.
In other quickfire news, Coun Ian Stokes continues to sit on South Kesteven District Council despite the appalling racist comment he made in a committee meeting, as recently highlighted by this paper. As corruption swirled around the Government at Westminster last week, I was rather hoping he might do the decent thing. No, he continues to draw his councillor allowances, but simply as an ‘unaligned independent’ rather than a Conservative.
The SKDC Tory cabinet this week reported a capital underspend of £11.3 million on capital spending of its housing stock. This is a disgrace, as so many properties in my Earlesfield ward and across the district are in such states of disrepair. 1500 remain on the council house waiting list locally, whilst Tory councillors count the reserves.
Finally, John Turner, CEO of the Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group last week, urged us to have a say about services at our hospital in a 12 week consultation. Excuse my cynicism, but decisions were made ages ago. We are about to lose A&E for a glorified GP surgery - face to face appointment anyone?