Thinking about Remembrance

The year 2012 has presented problems for anyone, like me, who is outside the mainstream of thinking and yet emotionally involved in similar preoccupations, such as ‘remembrance’. During this year we have witnessed massive political piggy-backing on public events. The Queen’s Jubilee merged seamlessly with the Olympics and Paralympics and, before much time had elapsed, the Prime Minister was already signalling his intention to take political charge of the centenary events for the First World War from 2014. The danger of these turning into another State-sponsored, flag-waving jamboree is terrifying.

Perhaps the politicians should take note of what happened when they turned up to present medals at the Paralympics. Cabinet members were roundly booed by the crowd. Their hypocrisy in trying to soak up credibility from the athletic events while simultaneously subjecting disabled people in general to fear and precarity was rightly targeted. Come 2014 they may face similar hostility as they cut and slash rank and file military budgets while hanging on to their precious nuclear arsenal and failing to support ordinary servicemen and women and their families – especially those physically and psychologically scarred by their experiences. Watch out for the comparison. There will be no ‘homes fit for heroes’, nor any other benefits. Indeed sacked squaddies will be expected to sign up as reservists and put any return to non-existent jobs and undermined civilian life second to having to do another tour of duty on less pay.

This year as well, the rise of the fashion statement poppy has been inexorable. They come in all varieties – metal, plastic, foam, shaped, spangled, multi-coloured.  Sorry grandad, I won’t be wearing one this year. Sadness has turned back into anger.

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