Tag Archives: first world war

Shirley Williams talks about the new film based on the life of her mother, Vera Brittain

Baroness Shirley Williams has been speaking to the Telegraph on the occasion of the release of a film based on her mother, Vera Brittain’s memoir, Testament of Youth:

Baroness Williams has praised her mother Vera Brittain’s lifelong efforts as a pacifist, saying her only regret is that “she wasn’t here when we fought against the Iraq war.”

The 84-year-old Lib Dem grandee spoke about her mother at the premiere of the film adaptation of Brittain’s First World War memoir, Testament of Youth.

She said of the writer, feminist and campaigner who died in 1970: “She never gave up. She was as much against the Vietnam War as she was against the First World War.”

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Opinion: Is the First World War a reasonable subject for a supermarket advert?

Tyne Cot cemetery Ypres First World War by fdecomiteThis Christmas is the 100th anniversary of the so-called “Christmas truce” in 1914 when some First World War troops gathered in “No man’s land” on the battlefields of the Western Front to greet each other and share gifts. It is therefore, perhaps, understandable that Sainsbury’s have collaborated with the British Legion, historians and a leading film-maker to produce a beautiful 3’41” video featuring the truce, which is being used to present shorter TV adverts.

And yet, it is difficult not to feel somewhat uneasy as this advert is repeated many times on our screens.

Posted in Op-eds | 14 Comments

Opinion: Why the First World War matters for government for,and by, the people

Lloyd george public domainIn this 100th year since the Great War’s outbreak, and especially around Remembrance Day, we have all been united in sorrow for the pain and loss of life, respect for the ultimate subordination of self to a common good, and gratitude that war on such a scale has been unknown to us for decades and may, with wise leadership, never be seen again.

There is sometimes a view that the First World War was a pointless slaughter. That analysis is too simplistic, in my view. At university, I was privileged to spend a whole year looking at primary sources on British political, economic and military strategy in the First World War. The strategic picture reveals what was at risk in 1914-18. Beyond the pain there was a reason and a purpose.

Today, we see the First World War through the prism of the Second World War, which appears a blatant struggle between good and evil.

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The Liberal Party and the First World War – event in London next month

War gravesIn this year, a hundred years since the coming of war in August 1914, the conflict is remembered chiefly for
 its impact on the millions of ordinary men, women and children who were to suffer and die and over the following four years. Lives were altered forever and society transformed. But the war had political consequences too: empires fell, new nations emerged and British political parties and the party system underwent profound change – a transformation which plunged the Liberal Party into civil war and caused it to plummet from a natural party of government to electoral insignificance within a few short years.

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Opinion: A hundred years ago…

Rt. Hon. H.H. Asquith  (LOC)1910 was a momentous year for Liberals in UK government, with a long-desired end to bitter struggles with the Conservatives over House of Lords reform arriving at a  triumphant conclusion. Now a House of Lords of whatever persuasion would no longer be able to resist indefinitely progress for the vast majority of democratically drawn-up Parliamentary bills, and Asquith, Lloyd George & co could take much credit for this. Only four years later, however, the country slipped into a war, the wastage of human life caused by which remains unrivalled in the history of western and of European civilisation. What could have gone wrong?

1910 also marked the beginning of  – and 1914 the near-culmination of – a slide in Liberal fortunes which within a decade of the second date would see a national institution reduced to a crowd of irrelevant backbenchers. Asquith was still leader; did he any longer have any party to follow him?

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Edward McMillan-Scott MEP writes… 100 years on from World War I, let’s remember the EU’s role in spreading peace and democracy

Anzac day License Some rights reserved by Ian McKenzieToday is Anzac Day, when we remember those Australians and New Zealanders who fell fighting during the First World War side by side with British soldiers, and the senseless sacrifices of millions of men and women who died across Europe and the rest of the world.

This year will see the one hundredth year anniversary of the First World War and it should give us time to pause and reflect on the tragedies of the first half of the twentieth-century.

As we do …

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  • User AvatarGary J 23rd Feb - 10:31pm
    An evocative surname for those who recall the TV soap Brookside. I hope Jimmy, Billy et al will be campaigning for Andy.
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 23rd Feb - 9:43pm
    " Let’s show that we do have the passion to fight the ills that we can clearly see." Yes, Katharine, it's clear and very obvious...
  • User AvatarMalc Poll 23rd Feb - 9:42pm
    Wait a minute here Tony ! (And that's the polite version ) 1 I am a card carrying member of the party I'll put my...
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 23rd Feb - 8:27pm
    Yes, expats, we do need outrage, at what the poorest and unluckiest people of this country are suffering, and sadly are likely to suffer more...
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 23rd Feb - 7:37pm
    Much as I enjoy trying to categorise political thinking, Tony, I don't see many politicians in either the Tory or the Labour party actually fitting...
  • User AvatarJohn 23rd Feb - 7:07pm
    Little englanders have been forecasting the end of the EU since early EEC days of 6 countries in the early 70's