First World War Commemoration (Conscientious Objectors and Peace Groups)

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 19 June 2013.

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Photo of Jean Urquhart Jean Urquhart Independent

9. To ask the Scottish Government whether its commemoration of the first world war will include conscientious objectors and the role of peace groups. (S4O-02280)

Photo of Fiona Hyslop Fiona Hyslop Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government thinks that the commemoration programme should allow for a spirit of open inquiry, as we seek to remember and understand the broad impact that the first world war had on all parts of Scotland and beyond.

I have appointed the Scottish commemorations panel to advise on the development of the commemorative programme. One objective for the commemoration is to reflect the domestic impact of the war in Scotland, which, as the member observed in her question, encompasses a broad range of views about the war.

Photo of Jean Urquhart Jean Urquhart Independent

I am reassured by the cabinet secretary’s reply. I have noted with concern the use of the word “celebration” by some people in Westminster to describe the events that will mark the centenary of the commencement of four years of awful, indiscriminate slaughter in the fields of France and Flanders. Does the cabinet secretary agree that sombre remembrance of the lives that were lost in world war one is not a celebration and that we must not glorify that or any conflict?

Photo of Fiona Hyslop Fiona Hyslop Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government has made it clear that in our programme we want to ensure that commemoration is key. We must remember, we must learn, and we should never, ever, forget the tragedy of war.