Last post

July 30, 2009

The Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, has written a poem (at the request of the BBC?, it’s slightly unclear) to mark the passing of the last British combatant veterans of the First World War. You can read a transcript and listen to her read it (at least UK readers can do the last bit, not sure if international readers can).

I could have done without the Owen quote, and I wonder whether the last post trumpet was her idea or the producer’s,  but I don’t think it’s a sentiment that many will disagree with.

Sacrifice in the Second World War

July 10, 2009

Probably few readers left of this blog, since I’ve been writing the book rather than updating this. So to keep things ticking over, I’m going to use it to put up some interesting quotes about perceptions of the equality of sacrifice in Britain during the Second World War. Then when I’ve got time, I’ll link them together to make some wider points.

Let’s start with a letter from Evelyn Waugh to Randoph Churchill, 26 September 1941, from M. Amory, ed, The Letters of Eveyln Waugh (London, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1980), 154.

‘England is very uncomfortable and everything is being done by the bureaucrats to aggravate the discomfort. There is a splendid new idea called ‘equality of sacrifice’ which means that life is reduced to the level of a pre-war unemployed miner – in every sense for extreme idleness is combined with privation.’

And that was before the advent of many of the most severe austerity regulations in 1942.