I’m going to start this with an admission that by the standards of the times makes me worse than Hitler.
I’m not wearing a Poppy.
Nowhere on my person will you find a poppy, my jumper is poppy free, my underwear is devoid of poppies in fact the closest thing to a poppy on me at this very moment is a poppy seed stuck in my teeth from a bagel. There is of course a very good reason for this. I have grown to dislike the poppy, not its symbolism or what it stands for, but the object itself.
An American by the name of Moina Michael wrote a poem called “We shall keep the faith” so moved was she by the words of “Flanders fields” by John McCrae that she vowed to always wear a red poppy in remembrance of those who were killed in the Great War. Eventually this idea caught on and it is the reason for a week or so in November the poppy is worn.
So here’s whats wrong with it, as we saw yesterday the Poppy has become a source of temporary insanity in this country, those who choose not to wear it face criticism and abuse, and this doesn’t just extend to people in the public eye. My daring to appear in public without a poppy on clearly irked one drunken oik who decided to call me a “traitor.” David Cameron facing more pressure from all quarters to actually do something in government wrote a letter to FIFA asking for them to repeal their stance that the Poppy was a “political or religious symbol.” Theresa May tonight facing more pressure to resign after a calamitous scandal involving the border agency and her imminent embarrassment as the-now former- head of the border agency looks set to win an unfair dismissal case, decided to announce that “Muslims against Crusades” would be banned from Midnight.
Muslims against crusades cause public anger when they burned poppies during the two minutes silence last year and had planned to do the same again this year. Muslims against crusades were also known as “Islam4UK” who planned to march through Wooten Basset, before being…..banned, so as we will inevitably see they’ll return.
The English Defence league, who rose to the bait and challenged MAC see the burning of the poppy as the ultimate sacrilege , the EDL who disrupted the launch of the British Legions 2011 campaign because they were planning another “peaceful protest” in the same area as the public launch. The same EDL who sold poppies last year with the EDL logo on, and didn’t give the money to the RBL, who in fairness wouldn’t take it.
My favourite criticism of non wearers is “They fought for your freedom” yes, yes they did. My freedom which means I can wear what I want and not be lectured by someone who probably wore the same poppy the year before. We’re free to wear it and we’re free not to. I’ll remember them for longer than the two minutes. If you need to hide behind a poppy to prove you remember them then it’s hollow. Remember them every-time you disagree with someone, or when you vote, or even get up on a morning.
Robert Fisk I think wrote a brilliant piece on the poppy and I whole heartedly agree with it. The poppy is in danger of straying from its original purpose, it’s already been caked in extras like a green leaf, and the less said about those huge gaudy ones the better.
The poppy has become less a symbol of remembrance and more a cheap political stunt and a fashion accessory, a tool by which the plastic patriots force others to wear lest they be labelled “scum” or “traitor”.
Tomorrow I will wear a Poppy, I’ll drop a few pound in the Help for Heroes tin when I see one and I will stop for 2 minutes tomorrow at 11. I will stick my RBL wristband on since they last longer than a paper poppy and don’t get as tattered plus you can wear them all year round. It’s a simple gesture to someone who is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, and a small token of hope that no more fall for the old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori.