Last year saw a flood of new books on World War 1. When I saw a new one in a bookshop or library, I would pick it up and look up how much space it gave to the issue of opposition to the war. This was particularly so if it was presented as a general history of the war, or of Britian’s part in it.
Ninety-nine years ago today (2 March 1916), every unmarried man aged between 18 and 41 in England, Scotland and Wales was “deemed to have enlisted” in the armed forces. It was only a few months before another act was passed, extending conscription to married men.
Andrew Murrison MP is the government’s special representative on the World War One Centenary Commission. At Exeter University tomorrow (14 November), he will propose the motion “This house believes that World War One was a great British victory.” I have been asked to oppose the motion.
Last week, the Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury did something which should cause us concern, wherever our political allegiances may lie. I give David Cameron his full title in order to place firmly in the frame the constitutional duties and responsibilities of the head of government in a democratic state.
The more I read about the history of World War One, the more I understand how we repeat our mistakes. Nearly every war is justified with claims that the situation is unique. Every time, the arguments made in favour of war are depressingly familiar.
Peace activist, writer and Ekklesia associate Symon Hill has established a petition at Change.org calling on the Royal Mint: to replace the the Kitchener £2 coin with one that truly commemorates the millions who died in the First World War.