Few who know me believe that I’m soft on anything or anyone who threatens my family and constituents.
I’m from the pits and miners are well known for fighting for our jobs, our rights and our communities.
I am proud, too, that my son Barry fought three times in Iraq and Afghanistan with Royal Marines special forces. The courage and determination of our military personnel should always be applauded. But I still voted against the extension of military action in Syria.
I agree that so-called Islamic State are an evil bunch of lunatics, who target civilians, as we saw on that Tunisian beach and in the cafes of Paris.
But I also agree with Jeremy Corbyn that the case for war did not “stack up”. Let’s be clear – air strikes will result in the deaths of innocent people in Syria and beyond.
And we must always be careful of rushing into war without thinking through the consequences.
Such consequences will almost certainly lead to us having to put “boots on the ground” to tackle IS. Whose boots? I certainly don’t think they should be British ones.
And in that region it is never clear exactly who the enemy is.
To raise such questions does not make us “terrorist sympathisers”, as David Cameron claimed in an insult, which deeply offended myself and many others, and for which he refused to apologise.
It makes us realists.