Politics of Commemoration

29th April 2014: Politics of Commemoration

Should we commemorate events, such as the forging of the British Empire or Britain’s role in the First World War, which have involved conflict, suffering and loss? Can commemoration of such events avoid being politicised?

Read the article by Edward Vallance ‘Politics of Remembrance’ [PDF], and also the two recent newspaper articles which show antagonistic viewpoints about commemoration of the centenary of the First World War:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2532930/MICHAEL-GOVE-Why-does-Left-insist-belittling-true-British-heroes.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/news/a-charlatan-who-scores-cheap-political-points-jeremy-paxman-reopens-war-of-words-with-michael-gove-over-the-world-war-one-centenary-9190705.html

Then look at the images of school children celebrating Empire Day in Preston in 1909. Why would such celebrations be more contentious in the early twenty-first century? What approach should schools take to the centenary of the First World War in 2014?