London Mayor says Labour Party’s education spokesman is unfit for office and should resign

London mayor Boris Johnson  says Labour party’s education spokesman Tristram Hunt is unfit for office for clearing Germany of blame for the start of the First World War.

London mayor calls Labour party’s education spokesman unfit for office for refusing to say that German militarism sparked the First World War.

Boris Johnson criticized the Labour spokesman, Tristram Hunt, for his statement that it was “crass” and “ugly” to blame Germany for the First World War.

The political ruckus over how Britain should mark the centenary continues to escalate as the commemoration of the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 grows close.

Only the other week, Tory Secretary Michael Gove criticized the academics of the left-wing party for encouraging myths about the First World War. He also attacked shows like Blackadder for mocking Britain and clearing Germany of culpability.

Mr. Hunt, on the other hand, alleged that Mr. Gove accusations against the party was an attempt to use the First World War event to “sow political division” and accused the secretary of using “ugly” and “crass” arguments of the Conservatives.

He further wrote in The Observer, “Whether you agree or disagree, given the deaths of 15 million people during the war, attempting to position 1918 as a simplistic, nationalistic triumph seems equally foolhardy, not least because the very same tensions re-emerged to such deadly effect in 1939.”


Mr. Hunt, who is a historian, was elected to the Commons in 2010. He said that the issues raised by Mr. Gove, Max Hastings and Fritz Fischer, particularly the statement that the war “was a necessary act of resistance against a militaristic Germany bent on warmongering and imperial aggression” failed to consider the internal opposition to Kaiser Wilheim II. 

Mr. Johnson responded that Mr. Hunt was “talking total twaddle”. He further said, “If Tristram Hunt seriously denies that German militarism was at the root of the First World War, then he is not fit to do his job, either in opposition or in government, and should resign. If he does not deny that fact, he should issue a clarification now.”

“It is a sad but undeniable fact that the First World War – in all its murderous horror – was overwhelmingly the result of German expansionism and aggression. That fact is, alas, not one that the modern Labour Party believes it is polite to mention,” he added.

The Daily Mail reports that Downing Street also seemed to hit back on Mr. Hunt and support Mr. Johnson, claiming that Britain “should not be afraid” in telling the world why it resisted the German aggression during WWI. 

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman commented on the issue, “The prime minister’s view is that the centenary of the First World War is an opportunity to do three things, one obviously to commemorate the fallen, second, there’s an opportunity of course to learn about the impact the conflict had on our country and the world because of course there were very significant impacts on us as a society and as an economy as a result.

“And thirdly of course to reflect on the achievement of peace for the most part, with some tragic exceptions obviously such as the Balkans conflict in the 1990s, but for the most part on peace in Europe following the two conflicts which scarred the first half.

“So there’s an opportunity for us to do that, and I think we can do that without being afraid of saying it was right for Britain to respond to aggression and to enter the war on that basis.

“So those are the things we can do, and we can do those without being afraid that it was right for Britain to respond in the way that it did.”

Part and partial of the political row over how to commemorate the Great World War involves whether the Blackadder, a BBC sitcom, should be shown in schools.

Mr. Gove said, “The conflict has, for many, been seen through the fictional prism of dramas such as Oh! What a Lovely War, The Monocled Mutineer and Blackadder, as a misbegotten shambles – a series of catastrophic mistakes perpetrated by an out-of-touch elite. Even to this day there are Left-wing academics all too happy to feed those myths.”

Captain Coward: Tony Robinson as Private Baldrick, left, and Rowan Atkinson as Blackadder in the titular sit-com, which Education Secretary Michael Gove blames for distorting attitudes about the First World War

Sir Tony Robinson, prominent Labour party member, plays Baldrick in BBC series, Blackadder. Education secretary Michael Gove accuses the series of belittling Britain and clearing Germany of blame over WWI.

Sir Tony Robinson, who played Baldrick in the Blackadder, said it was “very silly” for Mr. Gove to say so.

Sir Tony is a prominent member of the Labour Party. He was once served in its national executive.

He further said, “I think Mr. Gove has just made a very silly mistake. It is not that Blackadder teaches children about World War One.

“When imaginative teachers bring it in, it’s simply another teaching tool,” he was also quoted.

“They probably take them over to Flanders to have a look at the sights out there, have them marching around the playground, read the poems of Wilfred Owen to them. And one of the things that they’ll do is show them Blackadder.”


Siegphyl is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE