Subsequently, we can observe that the past has risen as a popular, political force in modern Britain. One used by the forces of power and privilege to legitimise their rule of ‘the new few’ and onslaught on social, welfare and collective provision. There is a relationship between this and Labour’s culture of living in the past – one at first very different from the establishment story, but which through time has been interwoven and interchangeable with this problematic, elite version.
Look at contemporary Britain. This is a society where the voice of past dead generations seems to matter more than the living. Where the consistent marking and enacting of anniversaries, military contests, conquests and struggles, feels as if it accelerates by the day. Next year we have ‘the big one’ of anniversary celebrations, by chance in the same year as Scotland’s independence referendum. On June 6th, there is the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, on July 28th, the 100th anniversary of the onset of the First World War, and on September 1st, the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Second World War, arguably, the last British ‘good war’.