HOW sad that as we approach Remembrance Day, a vote has been taken at a top university asking students to effectively remove all mention of British war veterans and poppies from any planned memorials.
Those who voted in favour of dishonouring the sacrifice of our Armed Forces in two world wars and other conflicts should be utterly ashamed of themselves. These disrespectful proposals at Cambridge University were narrowly defeated — although Prince Charles’s old college, Trinity, backed them.
I fear, however, this sort of nonsense will be repeated all over the country, and that students with a breathtaking sense of entitlement and little knowledge of history will despoil the memory of those who fought, died and were wounded in mind and body while bravely serving their country.
It’s the same sort of skewed thinking that this week forced veteran US astronaut Scott Kelly to apologise for quoting Winston Churchill a man recently voted the greatest ever Briton in a poll.
Kelly initially tweeted: “One of the greatest leaders of modern times, Sir Winston Churchill said, ‘In victory, magnanimity’. I guess those days are over.”
It was an intelligent comment against the backdrop of toxic US politics, but then the professionally “offended” mob started wading in with appalling insults against Churchill, and Kelly crumbled.
I’m not only furious at the buffoons who bullied him into issuing an apology, I’m also raging that he actually caved in and didn’t simply tell them all to get stuffed. Instead, he tweeted that he was sorry if he had caused offence and added: “I’ll educate myself on his atrocities and racist views.”
Now, Churchill was certainly flawed, but this is disgraceful. He made terrible mistakes that haunted him throughout his life, but he was also the right man in the right place and we could have easily lost World War Two if it wasn’t for his stubborn brilliance.
Churchill was also one of the first public figures to be open and honest about his mental health problems, famously referring to his depression as a “black dog”. To compare him to a vile monster like Hitler, as some of these witless trolls have done, is not only disrespectful but also profoundly ignorant. That ignorance continues with university motions that demean our troops.
Cambridge Students’ Union, perhaps belatedly realising how this would look to the outside world, issued a statement saying that “discussions were not about erasing the past, but rather broadening the focus of our remembrance to include those who suffered wherever they were”. Isn’t that what we do already every year?
One of the most moving aspects of Remembrance Day when I was growing up was the sight of troops from all over the world marching proudly shoulder-to-shoulder. We honour and remember them only once a year, and we have to stop for just one little minute.
Is it really too much to ask for spoiled millennials to put down their phones and stop posting photos of themselves and their cats on Instagram for 60 seconds to show a bit of gratitude and respect?
I would also urge them to look at the remarkable footage of World War One troops which Lord Of The Rings director Peter Jackson has used in his new documentary They Shall Not Grow Old, which will be shown in cinemas next week. He has breathed new life into the original footage with careful restoration and the clever use of colour.
These young men with hopes and dreams are brought to life so vividly that it would break your heart. Their sacrifice should never be forgotten or derided. Cambridge Students’ Union say they are a global university with students from more than 120 countries. That diversity is brilliant and should be celebrated.
I also guarantee that many of those students who are free to pursue their academic careers would not have been able to do so if we had lost the war against fascism.
How ironic that these snowflakes are only able to instigate such childish and insulting votes in the first place because too many of our Armed Forces died protecting democracy and freedom of speech. Shame on them.
Strictly slip-ups certain
IT’S the moment of truth tonight for Seann Walsh and Katya Jones as they step on to the Strictly dancefloor for the first time since that drunken snog. This week I spoke to former Strictly judge Arlene Phillips, who had sensible advice for any celeb considering taking part in Strictly.
This wise woman says you should never take part if your relationship is anything other than 100 per cent rock-steady.
Any cracks between a couple will rapidly turn into Grand Canyons – and there’s a good chance of contestants falling head over glittery high-heels in lust with their dance partners. They spend hours in a sweaty rehearsal room with their bodies entwining, almost as close and personal as a couple making love.
The female pros are supremely fit – in both senses. They have to dominate, control and, ahem, lick their partners into shape.
For well-known alpha males used to calling the shots, that heady mix can prove irresistible. In turn, the male dancers nurture, embrace and almost seduce the female celebs, making them feel desirable, alluring and confident.
It can be intoxicating and if a relationship outside the Strictly bubble is a bit wobbly, no wonder so many succumb to temptation. Show bosses also need to address the elephant in the room tonight.
Tess Daly must choose her painful puns carefully, while the jolly japes of Claudia Winkleman, could misfire if she’s not careful.
And what about those twee little videos used to fill in the time it takes to clear the dancefloor before each couple perform their routine? The one featuring Seann and Katya will surely have to refer to the cringeworthy headlines and awkwardness of the past week.
Ultimately, the public will decide whether this couple stay in the competition or are unceremoniously dumped.
Whatever happens, the already high viewing figures will go through the roof.
Icon Emma gets snippy
ACTRESS Emma Watson found fame as Hermione in the Harry Potter films and has gone on to become something of a style icon and campaigner for women’s rights.
This week she posted a photo of her at age 11 during the making of Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone, to celebrate International Day Of The Girl – and she posted it alongside the most recent snap of herself.
It’s a noble cause that deserves attention – so forgive me for thinking the 28-year-old Emma had cut her fringe herself with a pair of nail scissors.
TV SUPERVET Noel Fitzpatrick is on tour with a show that celebrates our love of animals and gives us all hope for the future.
Noel had a tough time as a kid and was mercilessly bullied. His best friend was his little dog and the two were inseparable.
His passion to help animals is well documented in his Channel 4 series and he has the kindest soul, but also an admirable steely determination to do the very best for his patients, who cannot speak up for themselves.
Controversially, Noel would also like the worlds of human and animal medicine to join forces for the benefit of all concerned and it’s hard not to agree with him. Vets need way more qualifications than doctors and both sides could benefit hugely from all the advances being made in both camps.
We are all animals when it comes right down to it, and those at the cutting edge of human medicine should listen to this passionate Irishman, who wears his heart on his sleeve and wants to make the world a better place.
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Christina would have been proud
IT was an honour to present The Sun’s Who Cares Wins awards this week – honouring the unsung heroes of our NHS.
It’s hard to single out anyone but I was struck by Nicola Taylor, a modest midwife who helps parents try to come to terms with the death of their babies.
She was nominated by Mike and Kath Blewitt, who say she helped them through a “world of pain” when their triplets passed away just an hour after being born prematurely. We also saluted the late Sun Health Editor Christina Newbury who was key in setting up the awards, but died in March.
She would have been proud to see her work praised by PM Theresa May and for the first award, in her name, to go to the University Hospitals of Leicester for their work saving the life of a baby born with her heart outside her body.
Every hero nominated by Sun readers is a winner in my book.