Stephen Ladyman

Toast and marmalade. Fried breakfasts with bread dipped in bacon fat. Rainy holidays in seaside towns with penny arcades on every street. Green fields. Berries growing in hedgerows. Beer tasting of hops. Lying in at the weekend. Steaming hot tea when something goes wrong. Steaming hot tea when something goes right. Steaming hot tea just when its time for a cup of steaming hot tea.

Getting sunburned at a cricket match. Losing to Australia. Knowing that they took it more seriously than we did and we could have won if we wanted to. Screaming yourself hoarse at a football match. Losing the penalty shootout. Scraping through the qualification stage of the next competition but immediately believing we are favourites to win.

Orderly queues at bus stops. Seeing a doctor when you need one and not worrying about the cost. Sending the kids to school and not worrying about the cost. Putting food on the table day in and day out.

Moaning about the weather. Moaning about the Council. Moaning about the Government. Saying what you think is right and wrong. Saying it in pubs. Saying it in schools. Saying it in shops and workplaces. Saying it on the radio, on the TV and in newspapers. Saying it to the powerful. Saying it and not being thrown in gaol.

Voting. Winning the election and doing something about the things that don’t work. Losing the election and taking defeat with good grace. Power changing hands without a shot being fired or a brick thrown.

Knowing that there is more to the world than just England. Knowing there are more people in the world than just the English. Visiting them. Learning from them. Coming home.

Not taking ourselves too seriously. Being serious when someone has to be. Honouring heroes. Teaching a new generation of heroes what is right and wrong.

Standing up for fair play. Standing up for a principle. Standing up when others kneel down.

Stephen Ladyman is the Labour MP for South Thanet.