Monday 5 November 2018
Now that we've reached the final week in the run up to the centenary of the end of the First World War we shall hear a great deal more about the horrors which resulted from that monumental failure of politics.
Yesterday I watched a BBC 4 programme, We will Remember Them with Huw Edwards. Naturally there was a good deal of information about the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and their very humane policy that all should be remembered equally, regardless of rank, religion, ethnicity, caste or anything else.
Each life was equally precious
I have been fortunate to have visited several of the Co mission's 2 500 war cemeteries and plots, one as far away as Papua New Guinea. Each visit provoked a deeply moving and very humbling experience, and I suspect most others find the same, even if, like me they have no personal connection with any of the dead.
The centimetres are immaculately kept. They exhibit no bravado, promote no belligerence: just sorrow and tender loving care.
I have no means of knowing for sure but I suspect the Commission employs none of the devices which neo-liberal capitalism seems to believe is necessary to promote "efficiency." No eye-watering "compensation" for the directors, nor obscene bonuses for hitting spurious Targets (though maybe an MBE or some-such on retirement).
Certainly there is no attempt to sweat their "asset" to generate the maximum short term profit. Entrance to every cemetery is free.
I suspect even the most right wing Tory government wouldn't dare privatise it.
If the Commission can achieve what appears to be close to perfection in its function without any of the misguided shibboleths of the free marketeers, why on earth can't we do the same for our railways and public utilities?