What Jeremy Corbyn actually said about commemorating the First World War

Reports don't always paint the full picture

Jon Stone@joncstone
Monday 02 November 2015 13:46
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

A number of newspapers have reported comments by Jeremy Corbyn about commemorating the First World War.

The Daily Express claims that the Labour leader said commemorating WWI was “pointless”, the Daily Telegraph said he “questioned” why the war was commemorated, and the Daily Mail reported he was under fire for “denouncing” the cost of commemorations.

The comments were made at an event organised by the Morning Star newspaper and were posted on YouTube in April 2013.

But what did the Labour leader actually say? Here’s the full quote and its context:

“Keir Hardie was a great opponent of the First World War and apparently next year the government is proposing to spend shedloads of money commemorating the First World War. I'm not sure what there is to commemorate about the First World War other than the mass slaughter of millions of young men and women, mainly men, on the Western Front and all the other places.

“And it was a war of the declining empires and anyone who's read or even dipped into Hobson's great work of the early part of the 20th century, written post World War, presaged the whole First World War as a war between monopolies fighting between [inaudible] markets.

“The reason I say this is next year the government are planning this celebration and I think that's an opportunity for us. It's an opportunity to discuss war and discuss peace and to put up an alternative point of view.”

A video of the comments is available below.

Do you think the reports are fair?

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