CRANKS and other suspect creatures

The PPU has been collecting material from and about conscientious objectors since the 80’s. Many PPU members had been COs in the 1914-18 war many more in the 39-45 war. It was natural the PPU would like to record their stand.
In 2006 we published Refusing to kill a general introduction to conscientious objection in WW1. While written for the general reader it was supplemented with comprehensive supporting material for pupils and teachers and has proved popular in schools. In 2008 with the support of the Peace Research and Education Trust we opened the first Conscientious Objection Resource Centre in Britain. The centre contains valuable archives, exhibition and library and is used by researches and students.

paxmanThe sate-sponsored centenary of WW1 had sparked a search for something different to say and everybody seems to have discovered conscientious objection. The media loves them especially as they represent something different, a little quirky. Some might think is a poor reason

In the BBC’s ‘Britain’s Great War’ which kicked off the anniversary programs about the war Jeremy Paxman used the opportunity, as so often, to voice his prejudice. Many people complained. He could it appears not understand the so-called absolutist. ‘To be honest the extreme conscientious objectors’ he says, ‘have always struck me as cranks.’ This is a sentence from a scripted program so it may not be unfair to examine it more closely.