5 November 2018

Lord Ashton of Hyde
moved that this House takes note of the centenary of the Armistice at the end of the First World War.

during the course of the debate....

Lord Faulkner of Worcester

My Lords, we are now almost at the end of this commemorative journey. I start by saying how proud I have been to serve on the Government’s World War I advisory board, along with other speakers in this debate. At meeting after meeting, I have been impressed by the diversity and dignity of the events that have been organised in all parts of the United Kingdom, in Ireland, and in France and Belgium. Others have spoken of the brilliance of the DCMS team, and I pay particular tribute to David Thompson and Jennifer Shaw for keeping the show on the road so brilliantly.

In preparing for today, I looked back at what was said in your Lordships’ House in June 2014, on the eve of the centenary of the start of the conflict. I commented in that debate that a great deal of preparation had been put in place and hoped that it would capture the imagination of as many people as possible. I also, perhaps slightly prematurely, paid tribute to the work of Dr Andrew Murrison MP, the Prime Minister’s special representative for the centenary commemoration, and I am delighted to be able to do so again, four years on, as have other speakers in this debate. Since the summer of 2011, there have been no fewer than seven Secretaries of State at the head of DCMS but, fortunately, there has been only one Dr Murrison. It is greatly to his credit that the tone and content of the commemoration programme has been correctly nuanced.

It would have been so easy to get this wrong, but that has not happened. The theme of commemoration not celebration is right, as is the determination to combine the traditional act of remembrance with new initiatives to engage as much of the population as possible, especially young people. In such a fractured and divided world, it is great that the commemoration programme has succeeded in bringing us together—members of all races and ethnic groups, young and old particularly.

Read my contribution in full