Remembering World War One
Dear David Cameron,
I and my colleagues jibbed at the idea of 'celebrating' in 2014 the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. It should certainly be 'remembered', but with shame for the incompetence of our military, the arrogance and incompetence of our politicians, and the foolish jingoism of the citizenry. We should acknowledge with humility and awe the courage of the millions of combatants of all nations, and record with regret the immense loss of life. But we do not think that 'to celebrate' is the appropriate verb.
We object to the idea of significant extra money being spent on this commemoration. We already have our Armistice Sunday (though even that we might lay to rest when its centenary comes round). To that we could perhaps add a lecture in the Albert Hall on the 'Failures of Diplomacy that led to the Outbreak of War', and perhaps also a sermon elsewhere on 'Love thy neighbour' or 'Blessed are the peacemakers'.
Above all we object to the slightest hint that someone seeks to make political capital from the event, or attempts to boost the morale of the nation by remembering this gigantic fiasco. It was an old fashioned European war of national self interest waged with excessively destructive weapons, and as such one of the least justifiable wars in our history.
Yours sincerely, Ian West
Ian West, 12 Longhirst Village, NE61 3LT