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Dan the man?

The Facebook page “Dan Cooper must resign as ULU Vice President” has gained 1716 likes at the time of writing this article. So far that is 245 likes a day.

The campaign to remove Daniel Cooper from his position of Vice President of ULU began on Friday 9th November after he published a letter (on his website, www.dancooperulu.wprdpress.com) explaining why he was refusing an invitation to participate in the UoL remembrance ceremony. Further complaints have been leveled over the apparent undemocratic nature of his election, reportedly receiving only 1% of the ULU electorate vote.

This outrage at his behaviour seems fairly astounding to me. Of course remembrance Sunday is an international mark of respect to the millions killed in war and to most it is an inoffensive demonstration of institutional cultural memory. Cooper’s refusal to attend the service may, on the surface, seem to those who have not bothered to hear his reasoning to be shocking and deliberately controversial. However his actions are more those of a man who has come to a measured decision over what he believes are the slightly sinister connotations of our traditional remembrance service.

While many think it is a time for personal and national remembrance, entirely devoid of political interference, Cooper convincingly argues that this isn’t the case, and his conviction that remembrance Sunday is politically saturated is what informed his decision not to attend the service this year. Cooper writes in his blog that, “behind the facade of concern and mourning [of our remembrance service] the dominant account in the lead up to, and Remembrance Day itself – is soaked in militarism and the monarchy. Military parades, royal pageants and religious ceremonies have become the only way to commemorate the deceased. This is a hijacking of the commemoration of millions that died. It allows us to actually forget that war is a highly political act carried out for highly political aims, not usually in the interests of those who suffer most from its consequences. A former SAS soldier, Ben Griffin, expressed similar sentiments , saying that remembrance is used to “stifle criticism” and that remembrance has turned into a “month-long drum roll of support for current wars which “trivialise, normalise and sanitise war.” At the risk of brutally simplifying his rather articulate argument I would say that the politicians we look towards to lead the way in our nations remembrance as they lay wreaths at the cenotaph, are hypocrites, being part of the very force which sent people to their deaths in the first place

It is fairly easy to douse the complaints regarding Cooper’s meagre electorate support. If you think the 1% was insufficient to earn him his position, well, you should have voted shouldn’t you.

Whether or not you agree with Cooper’s reasoning, and he has a lot more to say on the subject than what I have highlighted here, is irrelevant. He never claimed that his views were those of ULU and was not representing them in any official capacity when he published the letter. I would argue that this determined campaign to remove him, which has gone so far to demand a referendum on the subject is just a further example of jumped up students who want to ‘get political’ but don’t stop to absorb any information relevant to the cause, the cause they happen to be fighting that day.

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