New £2 coin 'glorifies war' and does not honour WW1 dead, says Green Party leader

Stroud News and Journal: The new £2 coin featuring the First World War military leader Lord Kitchener has been condemned as 'jingoistic' by critics (3353569) The new £2 coin featuring the First World War military leader Lord Kitchener has been condemned as 'jingoistic' by critics (3353569)

A NEW £2 coin launched to commemorate the start of the First World War has been criticised by a prominent Green Party politician because it bears the iconic image of Lord Kitchener who appeared on the famous ‘Your Country Needs YOU’ army recruitment posters.

Dr Molly Scott-Cato, who leads the Green group on Stroud District Council and is the party’s lead candidate for the south west region in European elections later this year, believes the coin ‘glorifies war’.

The district councilor is calling for the coin to be withdrawn and replaced with a design that instead ‘honours peace’ and ‘truly commemorates those who died and suffered’ in the conflict.

Commissioned, produced and sold by the Royal Mint, the coin is the first of a special collection to mark the anniversary of the Great War, which claimed almost a million British lives.

The poster featuring the former War Minister formed part of a military recruitment drive, which enticed more than 2.5 million young men to sign up for the army between 1914 and 1915.

According to the UK coin-maker the new design is ‘instantly recognisable’ and a ‘fitting tribute’ to those who died.

But the choice of Lord Kitchener has proved controversial, provoking a backlash on social media, with some members of the public decrying the new £2 piece as ‘jingoistic’.

One Twitter user said it was ‘shameful’ to glorify a military leader rather than honour the deaths of ordinary soldiers, while others suggested the image of a poppy would have been more appropriate.

Cllr Molly Scott-Cato, who is her party’s national spokesperson on economic affairs, said: “While we recognise the huge sacrifices made by ordinary men and women during the First World War at home and abroad, I am clear that 2014 should be about remembering the monumental folly of war.

“Kitchener is a reminder of the days of industrial warfare and of the military and political leaders who made huge blunders costing millions of lives.”

She added: “We need to recognise how our recent involvement in wars, particularly the Iraq War, has added to global tensions and fuelled the fire of terrorism in the Middle East, as we see today in the suffering of ordinary citizens in Fallujah.

“We need to use the 1914 centenary to focus attention on the futility and 'the pity of War' as described by the great WW1 poet, Wilfred Owen."

The Royal Mint, however, says the coin “remembers one of the most significant moments in British history with a design that recalls the spirit, and with hindsight, the poignancy, of the rush to enlist encouraged by Lord Kitchener.”

In a statement, it said the design had been “selected to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War because it has come to be so strongly associated with the outbreak of the war.”

Furthermore, it added: “The launch of every new coin must go through a rigorous planning and design selection process governed by an independent panel, known as The Royal Mint Advisory Committee (RMAC).

“The RMAC is an advisory non-departmental public body of HM Treasury comprising history, art and design specialists, and is responsible for ensuring that the coin that reaches the public meets the highest standards of quality and artistic merit, and is worthy of its national theme.”

Comments (9)

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4:26pm Thu 9 Jan 14

Nimue Brown says...

I find seeing Kitceiner's call to arms rather disturbing. There's something chilling about it, amidst government talk of 'celebrating'. I agree that a poppy would have been far more approriate, and is a powerful symbol we all know already to associate with the period.
I find seeing Kitceiner's call to arms rather disturbing. There's something chilling about it, amidst government talk of 'celebrating'. I agree that a poppy would have been far more approriate, and is a powerful symbol we all know already to associate with the period. Nimue Brown

8:21pm Thu 9 Jan 14

Misfit901 says...

Seeing Kitchener actually makes me think what a waste of life it was to be led by that mad piper into a crazy war with idiot generals who sacrificed hundreds of thousands with ridiculous tactics.

Maybe if a million fewer young men had thougtlessly gone down the jingoistic parade then the politicians might have been forced to review the stupidity of the war and there would have been an outside chance of letting the whole affiair fizzle out. That would have saved millions of lives and might have even avoided WW2.

In the end would it have been so bad to have Germans in charge 5 million lives earlier? At least the trains would most likely be on time and we could have ganged up with the Germans against our natural enemies the French!
Seeing Kitchener actually makes me think what a waste of life it was to be led by that mad piper into a crazy war with idiot generals who sacrificed hundreds of thousands with ridiculous tactics. Maybe if a million fewer young men had thougtlessly gone down the jingoistic parade then the politicians might have been forced to review the stupidity of the war and there would have been an outside chance of letting the whole affiair fizzle out. That would have saved millions of lives and might have even avoided WW2. In the end would it have been so bad to have Germans in charge 5 million lives earlier? At least the trains would most likely be on time and we could have ganged up with the Germans against our natural enemies the French! Misfit901

9:28am Fri 10 Jan 14

A Stroud Worm says...

Misfit901 wrote:
Seeing Kitchener actually makes me think what a waste of life it was to be led by that mad piper into a crazy war with idiot generals who sacrificed hundreds of thousands with ridiculous tactics.

Maybe if a million fewer young men had thougtlessly gone down the jingoistic parade then the politicians might have been forced to review the stupidity of the war and there would have been an outside chance of letting the whole affiair fizzle out. That would have saved millions of lives and might have even avoided WW2.

In the end would it have been so bad to have Germans in charge 5 million lives earlier? At least the trains would most likely be on time and we could have ganged up with the Germans against our natural enemies the French!
Misfit901...... I presume you are not black, disabled or gay?
[quote][p][bold]Misfit901[/bold] wrote: Seeing Kitchener actually makes me think what a waste of life it was to be led by that mad piper into a crazy war with idiot generals who sacrificed hundreds of thousands with ridiculous tactics. Maybe if a million fewer young men had thougtlessly gone down the jingoistic parade then the politicians might have been forced to review the stupidity of the war and there would have been an outside chance of letting the whole affiair fizzle out. That would have saved millions of lives and might have even avoided WW2. In the end would it have been so bad to have Germans in charge 5 million lives earlier? At least the trains would most likely be on time and we could have ganged up with the Germans against our natural enemies the French![/p][/quote]Misfit901...... I presume you are not black, disabled or gay? A Stroud Worm

1:28pm Fri 10 Jan 14

dimreepr says...

Misfit901
Hindsight is often a wonderful tool, but seldom have I seen it used to dishonour, the millions that felt it their duty to heed the call of their country, in such a cavalier way as this:
"Maybe if a million fewer young men had thoughtlessly gone down the jingoistic parade"
Don’t forget the culture then was vastly different to todays; yes mistakes were made and yes the class system did through up some idiots but, in their defence, they were facing a war on a scale nobody had ever encountered. So please choose your words carefully.
Misfit901 Hindsight is often a wonderful tool, but seldom have I seen it used to dishonour, the millions that felt it their duty to heed the call of their country, in such a cavalier way as this: "Maybe if a million fewer young men had thoughtlessly gone down the jingoistic parade" Don’t forget the culture then was vastly different to todays; yes mistakes were made and yes the class system did through up some idiots but, in their defence, they were facing a war on a scale nobody had ever encountered. So please choose your words carefully. dimreepr

1:34pm Fri 10 Jan 14

dimreepr says...

"In the end would it have been so bad to have Germans in charge 5 million lives earlier?"

Would you give up your liberty so easily?
"In the end would it have been so bad to have Germans in charge 5 million lives earlier?" Would you give up your liberty so easily? dimreepr

1:36pm Fri 10 Jan 14

Crow says...

Your country needs you to recycle, save energy etc.....just look at it that way Molly. It is a famous image, and can have new meaning a hundred years on.
Your country needs you to recycle, save energy etc.....just look at it that way Molly. It is a famous image, and can have new meaning a hundred years on. Crow

2:49pm Fri 10 Jan 14

TigerTigerBurningBright says...

Goodness!! I agree with dim!!!
Goodness!! I agree with dim!!! TigerTigerBurningBright

8:29pm Fri 10 Jan 14

Misfit901 says...

What's the inference about giving up liberty? Several million lives later the Germans practically control us anyway through the common market laws, if WW1 had not been allowed to get where it did then there would have been no bloated eurocrat brigade. As for the euthanasia bit (black etc) that was Hitler's regime in WW2 which would most likely not have happened if WW1 had been headed off or handled differently.

No I don't mean to dishonour a lot of brave young men but do despise the idiot generals and ploiticians.
What's the inference about giving up liberty? Several million lives later the Germans practically control us anyway through the common market laws, if WW1 had not been allowed to get where it did then there would have been no bloated eurocrat brigade. As for the euthanasia bit (black etc) that was Hitler's regime in WW2 which would most likely not have happened if WW1 had been headed off or handled differently. No I don't mean to dishonour a lot of brave young men but do despise the idiot generals and ploiticians. Misfit901

9:50am Sat 11 Jan 14

dimreepr says...

“What's the inference about giving up liberty?”

The question was straightforward, unambiguous and explicit, no inference made.

“Several million lives later the Germans practically control us anyway through the common market laws”

No they don’t, you don’t seem to understand the workings of a democratic parliament?

“if WW1 had not been allowed to get where it did then there would have been no bloated eurocrat brigade.”

At least, if you’re going to comment, have the decency to do a little reading on the subject; England only declared war on the Austro-Hungarians when they had invaded Belgium and Luxembourg, before marching on France and Serbia.

“As for the euthanasia bit (black etc) that was Hitler's regime in WW2 which would most likely not have happened if WW1 had been headed off or handled differently.”

By “handled differently” do you mean we should have capitulated or joined them? Diplomacy doesn’t work when they’ve already invaded.
“What's the inference about giving up liberty?” The question was straightforward, unambiguous and explicit, no inference made. “Several million lives later the Germans practically control us anyway through the common market laws” No they don’t, you don’t seem to understand the workings of a democratic parliament? “if WW1 had not been allowed to get where it did then there would have been no bloated eurocrat brigade.” At least, if you’re going to comment, have the decency to do a little reading on the subject; England only declared war on the Austro-Hungarians when they had invaded Belgium and Luxembourg, before marching on France and Serbia. “As for the euthanasia bit (black etc) that was Hitler's regime in WW2 which would most likely not have happened if WW1 had been headed off or handled differently.” By “handled differently” do you mean we should have capitulated or joined them? Diplomacy doesn’t work when they’ve already invaded. dimreepr

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