It seems that there's little in Portsmouth - including military history that's recent enough still to be raw - that doesn't end up being political slash-and-burn. The Yomper Statue outside the Royal Marines Museum in Portsmouth, who gazes out to sea over Eastney Beach, is hot news. The Yomper memorialises the role of the marines during the Falklands Conflict in 1982 and was unveiled by Thatcher ten years later.
In their traditional campaigning style, the Portsmouth Lib Dems are trying to own it as a 'local issue', and to blame other political parties for the plan to move the iconic figure from the soon-to-close Royal Marines Museum location to the nearby Historical Dockyard where it will be a companion to the Mary Rose, Victory and Warrior - a site which draws hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.
But it is absolutely clear and obvious that this is a decision that lies with the Royal Marines Museum and the MoD - not the local Tories. The thought that the Tories would want, or enable, the removal from Eastney of the Yomper and the commemorative plaque which inscribes Thatcher's name onto the seafront turf is laughable.
In 1982 I was 22 years old and I lived in Newcastle; and I watched the news broadcast live to the nation where Brian Hanrahan said of the planes, 'I counted them all out and I counted them all back'.Read More