The Daily Telegraph reports:
Ministers have been accused of “social engineering” over their plans to mark the centenary of the First World War, by downplaying the role of Australian and New Zealand soldiers in favour of the contribution from New Commonwealth nations. …
The latest row follows a briefing to Australian journalists by Whitehall officials that no events were being planned to mark their country’s contribution and that internal discussions on the plans do not mention Australia or New Zealand. The briefing disclosed, instead, that officials were concentrating on promoting the role played by so-called New Commonwealth countries, those which achieved independence since 1945.
The countries singled out for promotion were India, Bangladesh and Nigeria, along with other west African nations. The reports state that this is to promote “community cohesion” in the UK.
The government source said: “There has been no mention of old Commonwealth Allies like Australia or New Zealand but more interest in celebrating the role from New Commonwealth countries. I think it’s fair to say Commonwealth ties are being frayed a little on this one.”
Off memory New Zealand had the highest ratio of soliders killed per capita among the Commonwealth nations. You’d think that would merit being singled out.Tags: WWI