THIS weekend, thousands across East Lothian will join our annual remembrance for those who gave their lives serving with the armed forces.

Although first-hand memories of the two world wars are slipping into history, our community still has many older residents who saw active service in 1939-45. Others served more recently in Northern Ireland, the Falklands, the Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan. Many bear mental or physical scars and I join with others across our communities in paying tribute to those who have served their country.

Poppies used to be worn mainly on the lapel or were used for wreaths and crosses; now our towns and villages feature them more widely. The unforgettable cascade of poppies at Aberlady Parish Church in 2017, a fitting tribute to the fallen of the Great War, was a moving visual reminder of our annual promise ‘we will remember them’, a duty now carried forward by younger generations.

In addition to the Scouts, Guides, Cadets and others in uniform who take part in parades, other groups, schools, churches and community organisations make personal and creative tributes. I commend strongly the diligent and committed efforts of East Lothian’s teachers who ensure their pupils learn about past conflicts and understand the lessons from dangerous histories.

2022’s remembrance has the added poignancy of war on the European continent bringing abhorrent abuse of power and an attack on democracy but also inspiring the Ukrainian people to remarkable and heroic courage and resistance. The challenge here in East Lothian, as elsewhere in Scotland, was to offer support, donations and practical assistance to Ukraine. Many also willingly offered kindness, accommodation, hospitality or financial help to Ukrainian refugees.

By contrast, the UK Government has failed abjectly to deal with unarmed people fleeing war, poverty and persecution, responding with inadequate and inhumane processing of asylum claims. Home Secretary Suella Braverman used the term “invasion” to describe these migrants’ and refugees’ desperate efforts. This both insults the integrity of refugees and also demeans the bravery of Ukrainians whose land, democracy and self-determination have been assaulted by a brutal, and real, invasion. Dover isn’t witnessing an “invasion” but the chaotic consequences of abysmal UK Government failures.