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City memorial call for those who opposed First World War

SCOTLAND should have a memorial to those who opposed the outbreak of war in 1914, according to a group seeking to counteract the official centenary events next year.

The Jimmy Reid Foundation is asking Glasgow City Council to erect a plaque to honour "some of the finest people in Scotland" who opposed the outbreak of World War One.

The council has been urged to ensure that the city's radical tradition of leading socialists and peace campaigners, many of whom suffered for their convictions, are included in the proposed commemorations of the centenary next year.

The Jimmy Reid Foundation has established an "alternative World War One Commemoration Committee" to counteract the official centenary events next year which they see as militaristic and inappropriate.

A statement issued by the foundation said: "The request to Glasgow City Council for a proper recognition of the role of the anti-war movement is the first initiative of the Committee but is seen as an important symbolic step.

"As far as the Committee can ascertain, there is not a single commemoration to those who opposed the war anywhere in Scotland."

The convener of the committee, Isobel Lindsay, said: "Some of the finest people in Scotland in this period, and particularly in Glasgow, opposed the war. It took great integrity and courage to do so in the face of the jingoism they faced.

"If they had been listened to, one of the darkest periods in Scottish and British history could have been avoided.

"That there is nothing to mark their courage in public space in Scotland is a disgrace - these people must be written back into history."

She wrote to the council: "The Alternative World War One Commemoration Committee has been established to ensure that important aspects of the World War One anniversary are given appropriate attention.

"As well as producing educational material on the origins of the war and its devastating impact on Scotland, we are particularly concerned that the bravery, principles and judgement of those who opposed the war are given the credit they deserve."

The group highlighted the cases of several "outstanding figures in the political history of the city" who were "prominent opponents" of the war.

The foundation's list included John Wheatley, John Maclean, Mary Barbour, Helen Crawfurd, Jimmy Maxton, Agnes Dollan, Willie Gallagher and Rev James Barr, while others with strong West of Scotland connections include Keir Hardie.

The foundation added: "Had their views prevailed, so much suffering and economic decline could have been avoided."

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