Broadcaster Jeremy Paxman has criticised UK prime minister David Cameron for comments he made about how Britain will mark the centenary of the World War I.
Cameron promised a ‘truly national commemoration’ to mark the Centenary of the outbreak of war in 1914, Armistice Day in 1918, and of major battles.
Speaking last year at the Imperial War Museum, Cameron said that he wanted to see ‘a commemoration that, like the diamond jubilee celebrations this year, says something about who we are as a people. Remembrance must be the hallmark of our commemorations.’
Paxman told the Radio Times: ‘In announcing plans for events to mark the Centenary, our prime minister promised that the first world war commemoration would be “like the diamond jubilee celebrations”.
‘What on earth was he talking about? His address also included the cloth-eared ambition to spend lots of public money to make the Imperial War Museum ‘even more incredible’. The whole point of the place is its awful credibility.
‘The commemorations should have almost nothing in common with the diamond jubilee, which was an excuse for a knees-up in the rain to celebrate the happy fact that our national identity is expressed through a family rather than some politician who wants the job to gratify his vanity.
‘Personally, I think Elizabeth has played a blinder as queen. But her dull and dutiful grandfather, George V, recognised that the person who should be commemorated at the end of the first world war wasn’t him, but the Unknown Soldier.’