No 'celebrating' WW1 says minister
Britain's First World War victory should not be celebrated with "dancing in the street", the Conservative minister in charge of marking the centenary has said.
Helen Grant said although the war was an "absolute vital victory" for Britain there should be no "triumphant fanfares" throughout the next four years of commemorations.
Her comments add to the controversy over how the four-year conflict should be remembered 100 years on.
She reportedly wrote in The Lady: "We won't be shying away from the fact that, in the end, it was an absolutely vital victory for us that changed the course of world history in countless ways, but we won't be celebrating that fact or sounding triumphant fanfares.
"Don't forget that, as well as changing history, the conflict claimed the lives of around sixteen million people across the world, and injured a further twenty million.
"The tone has to be right, not four years of gloom and misery, but no dancing in the street either."
Her comments follows a row sparked by Education Secretary Michael Gove when he suggested popular shows like Blackadder were being used as a propaganda tool by "left-wing academics".
Mr Gove told the Daily Mail that the left insisted on peddling myths about the First World War, which have served to "denigrate virtues such as patriotism, honour and courage".
He wrote: " The conflict has, for many, been seen through the fictional prism of dramas such as Oh! What A Lovely War, The Monocled Mutineer and Blackadder, as a misbegotten shambles - a series of catastrophic mistakes perpetrated by an out-of-touch elite. Even to this day there are left-wing academics all too happy to feed those myths."
His remarks saw him clash with Blackadder star Sir Tony Robinson who accused Mr Gove of making a "very silly mistake".
Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt also waded into the argument condemning the Conservatives for attempting to politicise the 2014 anniversary of the start of the war.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg later stepped in to insist the Government was taking a "dispassionate" reflection of the lessons learnt from the "shocking scale of bloodshed".
Last night Mr Hunt told The Times he was pleased the Government had now adopted a more reflective and respectful tone following Ms Grant's comments.