What a mournful milestone we passed this week with the deaths of six British soldiers in Afghanistan, pushing the total killed in this senseless war above 400 - to 404 at the time of writing.
These young men were from Yorkshire, Cheshire and Lancashire. And young they were - the youngest was Private Christopher Kershaw, 19, from Bradford.
Huddersfield, Bradford and the Lancashire former mill towns are a universe away from the gilded Etonian millionaires who are running our country into the ground - when not taking to horse, on steeds loaned, if you will, from the Metropolitan Police at our expense.
Yet David Cameron, William Hague and the rest are determined to throw more of our young men and women into the maw of war, in Afghanistan and - so leaks from the Ministry of Defence confirm - into catastrophic conflagration in the Persian Gulf should Israel, with the US in tow, launch an attack upon Iran.
We are four years into an economic crisis more devastating than any for three generations.
We are over a decade into a cycle of war that those who govern us show no sign of halting, despite the public reaction this week to the grim news from the killing fields of Helmand.
It is redolent with the complacency and criminal neglect that blighted the 1930s.
Then, as mass unemployment soared, the political class retreated to the gentlemen's clubs and society gatherings in the smart areas of London.
They pulled down the shutters on the distress that was engulfing the country.
They muttered instead their admiration for the business elite that profited even from the misery, turned their minds to maintaining an empire in decline and imported the methods of divide and rule from the colonies back into Britain with vicious tirades against the immigrant, the poor, the struggling mother and the disabled.
So great was the otherworldliness of polite society that when the great leader of the struggle against unemployment Wal Hannington toured the land and wrote The Problem Of The Distressed Areas, bringing to attention the scale of social devastation, it was treated as a rude shock by the editors and political class in London.
You sense a similar incomprehension when today's campaigners against unemployment are met with bemusement by politicians and pundits merely for pointing out that there is an alternative to Tory slave labour schemes - real jobs, a decent minimum wage and investment in the things we desperately need not self-defeating cuts to the gains of 60 years of the welfare state.
One aspect of the distressed times we live in today is worse even than the 1930s - the enervation and prostration of the party of labour in the face of a rampage by the richest 1 per cent against the 99 per cent at home and abroad.
It was bad enough 80 years ago. Faced with bankers' demands to flay the unemployed and working people, the Labour Party split - with what you might today call Blairites going the whole hog and joining with the Tories and Liberals to impose years of austerity.
But despite that historic betrayal, there were still voices in Parliament - the rump of Labour and firebrand MPs from the Independent Labour Party - who refused to join the grim and deadly orthodoxy.
It's true that they could not muster a majority in the House of Commons and were even ridiculed as lone voices.
The corruption of our parliamentary democracy had sunk deep even then.
But they were able to speak from Westminster over the heads of the huntin', shootin' and fishin' brigade and their collaborators who had left the ranks of real Labour.
And that voice was heard in the distressed areas - from east London to Inverclyde, Yorkshire and the Rhondda.
In turn, the cries of pain and of resistance flooded back and were channelled by figures of stature such as James Maxton and Fenner Brockway.
They lent weight to every decent cause - from the successful battle to stop the British Hitler, Mosley, through support for democracy in Spain to the heroic agitation against unemployment and the economics of war against the poor.
There are all too few such voices today. Next Wednesday, the leaders of the government and opposition in Parliament will exchange hollow condolences for the families of those whose loved ones were killed this week in Afghanistan.
But both of them are committed to yet more blood sacrifice. And for what?
The very same Taliban that phoned the BBC to claim responsibility for the deaths has now opened an office in Qatar in the Persian Gulf - not far from the home of the US Central Command headquarters from where the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq were launched.
We are sending young people, often from areas of high unemployment and little hope, to kill and be killed while negotiations are taking place with the very people we were told it was impossible to have any dialogue with - hence the need for 10 years of war.
Perhaps the Tory and Labour front benches could convince themselves about the tragic necessity of the first British casualties or the first few thousand of the uncounted Afghan dead.
Perhaps. Though everything those of us who opposed the war from the beginning said then is now even more telling a decade on.
I remember when the then defence secretary John Reid told the House of Commons that the extra troops he was sending to Helmand would be back by Christmas without "firing a single shot in anger."
I rose and responded that they would not be back that Christmas or in 10 Christmases.
How the poodles with pagers in Parliament laughed at that. That was 10 years ago.
But whatever they said or believed then - and for them the two are usually not the same thing - what can they say now?
How can they explain to those who are about to be sent to Afghanistan that they face death not for some just victory - they long since stopped talking of victory - but to save the faces of their masters who are busy negotiating over how to get out with the very people who are planting the roadside IEDs?
And how can those who brought us the mendacities about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq tell us that the same soiled fabulations should be believed this time over Iran and the threat of an even more dangerous, crazed conflict?
They cannot with any credibility do so. Hence they rely on the absence of official opposition and the subservience of a media still dominated by the phone hackers and bribers of public officials from the stable of arch tax-avoider Rupert Murdoch.
When not complicit, the response of Labour's leadership is woeful.
Why is it left to the young unemployed to bring to heel the corporate giants who seek to profit from joblessness by using unpaid labour press-ganged by the Tories?
To pensioners to expose the blatant privatisation of our NHS more effectively than massed ranks of backsides on green benches in the Commons?
To grieving mothers to make the case for withdrawal from Afghanistan, for peace and not war?
To union leaders representing the low paid to argue for public investment not cuts coupled with handouts to private parasites?
In many British cities last summer we saw what happens when the voices of the distressed areas are not heard as they cry out against social devastation, the darkening of hopes and the daily humiliations of bigotry, racism and Tory snobbery.
One way or another, the people will be heard. It is better that that is done democratically, together, the stronger standing with the weaker, and effectively - forcing a change in priorities.
It's as a contribution to that that I will be standing as the Respect Party candidate in the by-election at the end of this month in the Bradford West constituency.
Bradford is a city like so many others that have been taken for granted for so long. It is one of the places that Cameron and his pals cannot bear to look at, even from a distance and atop a horse provided courtesy of the London taxpayer.
It is a place, like east London, where I and my colleagues managed to spook the horses seven years ago, rich in the real labour values which in my experience so many working people continue to hold dear.
It is where in 1893 the Independent Labour Party was founded, following the victory of Keir Hardie in east London the year before.
Their argument was as clear then as it is relevant today.
The 1 per cent at the top had two parties - Tory and Liberal - to represent them. The 99 per cent had none.
Now we have those two parties in a criminal coalition and a third that is a feeble opposition, a pale reflection of the hopes of Labour a century ago.
That cannot be overturned in total overnight, of course. But it has to be challenged - and a victory against the complacent orthodoxy would send shockwaves throughout the political class, making it harder for anyone to take the working people and the soldiers' families for granted any longer.
These voices are crying out across our country and they need to be heard - especially in the Parliament that is meant to represent us.
And that is what I intend to do throughout this campaign and beyond, alongside all those who stand for the principles that led those pioneers to take that historic step in Bradford over a century ago.
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