House of Commons,

Wednesday, 28 December 2022

Dear Robert A. Stewart,

there are those who are role models and lead from the front, and those who merely spout propaganda and send their troops out to do a job they will not do themselves. I am sure, from your own experiences in Northern Ireland and Bosnia-Herzegovina, that you know many people who fit in both designations, and I am also sure that, from those distant times, you can place yourself fairly and squarely in the former category. But with the passage of time we change as much as our surroundings and situation changes. We need to adapt and review our own position in light of those around us, those to whom we wish to belong for whatever reason; even when we know that those about us are not in the better category.

Some move from being the role model we all admire and look up to, attempt to emulate even, to something completely different. They move from being inspiring, thought-provoking, thoughtful and caring people, into something else. Into a foot soldier for a cause, seen from afar and with a modicum of awareness, education and intelligence, as dangerous if not, in the words of some, positively fascist. And some go only half way, and realise that much of what they have done has not been in the best interests of those they serve, those who have placed them in a position of trust.

I wonder, looking back over these two lives, at which stage you are now, although I can guess from your voting record. You have been forced to apologise many times for comments and decisions made in a brash moment of follow the leader, of allowing your mouth to shoot off before your brain has properly engaged. For many, it might be said you have gone from the much admired Bosnia Bob to the vilified Bonking Bob.

Having finally had the guts to stand up and admit that same-sex marriage is justified, and having seen the joy it brings for same-sex couples, how long must we wait until you finally do the right thing, stand up from your cushy backbench seat, and admit that voting against meals for poverty-stricken children was false, that you regret it, that you have come to appreciate the joy children get from being able to eat, and that you will finally live up to the promise of your time in the former Yugoslavia, and do something about it? How long until you stand up and place yourself back at the forefront, and against this destructive, hate-filled government of which you are a card-carrying member?

Yours sincerely,