In the 'Guardian' recently, Simon Jenkins argued eloquently and forcefully that the commemoration of World War 1 is a mistake.
He makes the point that there are other significant historical events which should have equal emphasis (such as the Peterloo Massacre) and I can see his reasoning.
Certainly, here in Cymru, events like the risings in Merthyr and Llanelli and the Chartist revolt in Newport need to be remembered and assessed in terms of contemporary relevance in particular.
In terms of Merthyr 1831, modern-day loan sharks are very similar to the 'truck shops' of that time and multi-national companies such as Miller Argent ( doing opencast mining) behave with the same greed and arrogance as the Ironmasters of the 19th century.
Jenkins makes a more pertinent point when he says that we should celebrate the best of humankind and not just the worst (which war demonstrates).
Thus, the Chartists, the founding of the Trade Unions and the fight for women's suffrage should have a much greater focus.
The only positivity regarding remembrance tends to be related to the monarchy ; suiting British establishment propaganda in much the same way as war acts as a unifying force for a 'Great' Britain which is gradually fracturing.
English Education Secretary Michael Gove and right-wing historians like Max Hastings would have us change the perspective of that war given in the likes of 'Blackadder Goes Forth' ; as an exercise in mass murder by imperial powers intent on an Arms Race.
To their credit, the BBC doesn't seem to be unduly influenced by this and , from what I've seen of their recent programmes, has shown commendable balance.
In the new drama series 'The Crimson Field', the sheer absurdity of World War 1 is often shown. Set in a field hospital, it poses questions through the lives of the main characters : nurses, doctors and casualties.
Though too many issues are dealt with in single programmes, the writers are clearly aware of the complexities.
Surgeons wine and dine while the soldiers are patched up and rapidly returned to the front. The alarming contrasts much like Sassoon's best satirical poems.
A once eager Irish soldier all too suddenly turns into a rebel when denied home leave and ends up 'doing a Yossarian' and appearing naked on parade decrying the British uniform. The background of Irish rebellion which led to the 1916 Uprising, is suggested if not developed.
A soldier accused of deliberately wounding himself in order to get back to 'Blighty' is shot as a deserter. This certainly happened in many cases. The way he is seen 'as a ghost' by others is an effective metaphor in what can be a rather heavy-handed drama.
It is hardly the anti-war bitterness of 'O What A Lovely War', nor is it part of Gove's revisionism. It raises vital issues and tries to give a background.
Two programmes on BBC 4 complemented this very well.
'War Requiem' used Benjamin's Britten's operatic settings of Wilfred Owen's great poems together with dramatised sequences. The elegaic tone was prevalent, though I felt it was too formal for verse which became more starkly realistic and horrific as the war went on.
The programme about Ivor Gurney was more contentious. Its presiding thesis was that Gurney - both in his life and art - thrived as a result of the war.
As a celebration of a poet and composer whose work is too often neglected , this programme was effective.
Overall, however, it was seriously flawed.
Gurney didn't actually seem that different from Rosenberg, Owen and Sassoon , who all produced their best work as a direct result of involvement in combat.
Saying Gurney needed the war is much like saying Heaney needed The Troubles : it doesn't make either conflict a necessity.
Gurney's poetry was unique : he cared so much for his native Gloucestershire and had that love of locality which neither Owen or Sassoon possessed.
His songs were truly remarkable : composing such haunting, ethereal music whilst in the trenches was a genuine act of genius.
He is a poet who deserves to be placed alongside the likes of David Jones, Hedd Wyn and Herbert Read and the fact that much of his best work was written during his many years in a mental institution after the war was astonishing.
In this year of commemorations, I have been conducting workshops with Merthyr Writers' Squad based on World War One.
It's very interesting to note that one Primary school are producing their own drama based on local history and these pupils knowledge of Merthyr's relationship with that war was a revelation.
In particular, they had researched our former MP Keir Hardie and his avowed pacifism.
To return to the Simon Jenkins article, at least this commemoration has led to these young people carrying out their own research and engaging with the past.
You never know, it could have a profound affect upon our future.
HANDS SOON HARDENED
Rows of shells, Five Nines.
Moustachioed men supervise.
The shine of lethal bombs
like boots of troops on parade.
Women workers wearing masks,
strange nurses tending weapons ;
wielding wooden mallets like clubs
to stopper the open tops ;
women in overalls with long hair
tied and wrapped in head scarves.
Rails of warfare, purposeful and direct
as slogans on recruitment posters.
Bullets the size of torsos,
churns of gunpowder not milk.
Soft hands soon hardened
by the solid press of iron.
Thoughts overseas to broken lines
and holes which cannot be plugged.