Triolet: Don’t Mention the War


They never talked about the war, the ones who fought and struggled through it Why speak of memories so sore? They never talked about the war but football, politics and more Unless the young asked them to do it, they … Read more

Triolet: War Is Over


She didn’t say the war was won Instead she said the war was ended Fall silent now, the bomb and gun She didn’t say the war was won There’s future-building to be done Place and people to be mended She … Read more

The first Remembrance Day


Also published in Solidarity newspaper. One hundred years ago, on the very first Remembrance Day, 11 November 1919, the Daily Herald, a socialist newspaper, published this article on its front page. It was one year after the Armistice, and Prime … Read more

1919 – Ready for Rebellion


Also posted on the Workers’ Liberty website here. As 1919 began, working-class people in Britain and many other countries looked forward to leaving the Great War behind them and rebuilding their lives. They expected and demanded a better society than … Read more

1919 – Whose Peace?


Also published on the Workers’ Liberty website here.   11 November 1918 had been merely an armistice. The war would not be officially over until peace terms had been negotiated. The victorious Allied countries began six months of talks in … Read more

1919 – Militarists and Mutineers


Also published on the Workers’ Liberty website. The ‘Great War’ was finally over. When it had begun in August 1914, the British government predicted that it would be won by Christmas, but it had dragged on for four more years, … Read more

A Heroine of our Movement


  Lansbury’s parents were impoverished Jews from Poland, then part of the Russian Empire, and had fled to the East End of London to escape antisemitic pogroms and persecution. Some in the labour movement welcomed the Jewish refugees, but others … Read more

Masterless Men


After the Battle of Waterloo, the British ruling class got in a bit of a panic about unemployed ex-servicemen roaming the country, worried that these ‘masterless men’ would cause trouble. A similar fear haunted Lloyd George’s Liberal-Tory coalition government after … Read more

War Poetry: Challenging the Nationalist Narrative


From its declaration of war in 1914, Britain’s ruling class appealed to patriotism to boost its support and its military recruitment. By 1916 both were flagging. On the pages of socialist newspaper The Herald, poets used verse to question both … Read more

Memento Mori (Gallipoli, 1915/16)


Hopeless force the Dardanelles Shells, death knells and straits to hell Terra firma, firmer terror History puts it down to error Wounded yet still predatory Terrorise for territory Ground of flesh and rocks from bones Lay out wire for telephones … Read more

Verses From The First World War: Conscription


Published in Solidarity 396, 2 March 2016. One hundred years ago this week, conscription came into force in Britain. The Military Service Act placed men between 18 and 41 years of age into the army reserve unless they were married … Read more

Pro Patria Mori


Dulce et decorum est As Owen wrote, the ancient lie Inscribed upon the soldier’s breast And told to men when sent to die But tell me, for commemoration Below the flag that’s raised to fool us Did they really die … Read more

Gallipoli: Savage, Bloody and Pointless


This article was published in two parts in Solidarity newspaper, beginning in issue 388 on 6 January 2016. Picture: My grandfather, Albert Henry Booth, who was in the Navy at Gallipoli, with his sister Victoria (Queenie). One hundred years ago, on … Read more

Christmas Eve (1915)


A century ago, with Britain at war, the Woman’s Dreadnought published this poem: CHRISTMAS EVE – to man the comfortable Hark, O, Hark the herald angels sing Glory to the new-born heavenly King! Come near the fire and closer draw the … Read more