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Remember: it wasn't great

David Cameron has found £50 million from the UK's overstretched budget for events to mark the centenary of the Great War.

That's the Great War of 1914. The war that would end all war. Twenty-five years later it was renamed the First World War as the whole business kicked off again.

In 2014 there will be grants to grow poppies and loads of parades and saluting. Two pupils from every school in England will be sent back to 1914 frontlines to discover how Great War heroes died. But not why they died. UK defence minister Andrew Murrison says: "The commemorations will be very much focused on remembrance, making no judgment on right or wrong."

I hope there are Scottish plans to mark the centenary. Such as a posthumous war crimes trial for Field Marshal Douglas Haig, the butcher of the Somme. Every school should have a showing of the film Oh! What A Lovely War. Every pupil should get a copy of Eric Bogle's song about slow and obscene death in the Green Fields of France. Every child should search military history websites to find out how great-great-grandad died. My grandfather was blown to bits on June 2, 1916 at a place called Zillebeke in Belgium. A German eye-witness reported: "The whole enemy was a cloud of dust and dirt into which timber, tree trunks, weapons and equipment were continuously hurled up, and occasionally human bodies."

As well as reflecting on the futility of the Great War, pupils might learn how British bravery saved the world in the second war which started in 1939. Those were the days when we didn't start wars but were great at finishing them.

By 2014, Britain's pointless war in Afghanistan should be over. Add in £50m worth of poignant remembrances of the Great War and Cameron's unpopular government should get a wee boost in pre-election year.

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