Malvern MP Harriett Baldwin writes for the Observer
THIS month we are marking the one hundredth anniversary of Britain’s entry into the First World War.
There will be many events across Worcestershire and the country honouring those who served, remembering those who died, and ensuring that the lessons learnt live with us forever.
I have visited churchyards and memorials in the constituency and last week I attended a moving service in Tenbury to lay a wreath at the war memorial there. Across West Worcestershire there are 93 graves in 40 cemeteries known to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, with 11 men buried in Malvern, five in Tenbury and eight in Pershore. Many of our fallen also lie in Flanders and other foreign fields.
These days papers are full of complaints about the European Union. At least the disputes we have today with our European trading partners and neighbours are now settled at the ballot box and not on a battlefield. For this, I am profoundly grateful.
However, we don’t have to look far today to see conflict all around the borders of Europe. Whether it’s Russia’s illegal annexation of the Crimea and backing rebels in Ukraine, Syria’s horrendous civil war, violent insurrection in Libya, death threats against Christians in Northern Iraq or Hamas provoking Israel’s violent retaliation as it seeks the destruction of that country, conflict now surrounds Europe.
I firmly believe that the first job of Government is to protect its citizens within its borders but the UK also has an important role to play to bring peace, working with the United Nations to seek a lasting ceasefire in Gaza, working with economic allies to agree sanctions against Russia, working with NATO allies to secure our borders, providing humanitarian aid to those civilians caught up in the terrible crisis conditions and protecting citizens from terrorism at home.
The UK must also work with all parties to achieve a negotiated two-state solution to resolve the Middle East conflict and achieve sustainable peace and security for Palestinians and Israelis which will allow them to live alongside each other without fear of violence, in the way that European countries have succeeded in doing in the last seventy years.