Angry students have attacked the Union President for his “disgusting” refusal to lay a wreath at today’s Remembrance Service.
Daniel Cooper, Acting President of University of London Union (ULU), snubbed the ceremony claiming it would celebrate “an economic system which created the war”.
He says the service – which commemorates those who lost their lives in the First World War and other wars – is “an insult to those sent to die, victims of the self interested advancement of the British Empire.”
Graduates and students accused Cooper, who represents more than 120,000 students in the capital, of capitalising on the occasion for political gain.
Cooper’s comments are all the more shocking as the most recent casualty in Afghanistan, Lt Edward Drummond-Baxter, was a UCL graduate.
Furious graduates and students hit out at the Acting President.
Jonny Prince, a 23-year-old UCL graduate, said: “My great grandfather’s eldest brother, a UCL student, was killed at Loos. This guy is meant to represent him. Absolutely disgusting.
“As an ex-ULU student I am absolutely incensed that he has taken this as an opportunity to promote his own political views. It doesn’t matter what your political viewpoint is on war, remembrance is a time to reflect on the sacrifices of our friends and family members.”
Prince added: “I am hugely insulted by his letter and do not feel that he has adequately represented the views of the students he represents.”
It is common practice for the President of ULU to lay a wreath at the service, and Cooper was invited by Rev. Stephen Williams, the Chaplain of the University of London.
But in a fiery response reproduced on his blog, Cooper wrote: “Mourning the butchery of thousands of ordinary people through an act of remembrance side by side with the inheritors of an economic system which created the war is not something I wish to take part in.”
He added: “I mourn and remember the dead. But my mourning is mixed with bitter anger against the rulers and the system that create such bloodshed.”
Instead of attending the ceremony, Cooper will hold an event entitled ‘Our remembrance: A working class history of war’ next week.
Rev. Williams declined to comment on the matter, but London students were quick to condemn Cooper.
On Facebook, Bradley Willis wrote: “Disgusting. How you bastards claim to represent ‘all of the students of ULU’ is beyond me. Not in my name.”