We are sure that armed forces minister Andrew Robathan is a busy man. But we would like to cordially invite him here as part of the case for Portsmouth to be named Armed Forces City 2014.
We’re delighted that public figures in the city have been lobbying hard for us to receive this accolade, but the truism that seeing is believing would work in our favour.
We would certainly take the minister around the dockyard, impressing on him how cutting-edge technology creating the new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers sits but a stone’s throw from a celebration of our nation’s heritage in the outstanding new Mary Rose Museum.
Lest we forget, as we reported this week, the dockyard was given an accolade for being one of the most recommended sights among the thousands on the website TripAdvisor – it’s not just those from a military background who find it a major draw.
Next, we would take a stroll along the promenade, pointing out the wide space of Southsea Common, ideal for major occasions, and probably spotting a warship making its way out to sea.
We’d make our way to the D-Day Museum, which will inevitably be a focus for events during the 70th anniversary of the landings, and also point out the Solent forts, a permanent reminder of our defence history. We’d then show the minister the Royal Marines Museum, whose stately building matches its dignified contents.
The minister would no doubt also be interested to meet personnel from around the area, from HMS Collingwood and HMS Sultan in Fareham and Gosport, from Horsea island and Thorney Island, who would impress upon him their pride in supporting the campaign to be named Armed Forces City.
But most of all, if he spoke to the man on the street, he would come away with a sense of the admirable pride in the military that hundreds of years of history has engendered. He’d realise that the people of this area are as good an ambassador for the services as you can get – and so we respectfully ask that he considers this bid.