Friday, 11 November 2011

Poppy madness is now out of control

The UK has officially lost the plot. It seems as though no-one is allowed to do anything or go anywhere without wearing a poppy. The BBC physically stitches one on to anyone who appears on television, and has been for over 2 weeks before today, Armistice Day.

Similarly the madness over footballers wearing poppies during matches and the furious bile directed at FIFA seems insane, considering it's never been a problem before now. It's not just about wearing them - players are having poppies stitched in to the shirts and even their boots. The worst thing about this issue is how it is driven by the British public - oh the Great British Public.

I have already described my feelings about poppies, white poppies, and never-ending silences, and that's not really changed. But I feel it is worth commenting on the sinister atmosphere and fears of being "unpatriotic", and the accusers who drive this fear. Not Sinister with a capital S like a government conspiracy or a secret plan to invade another country, but sinister in the low, ugly, uncomfortable sense.

I was glad to see a collection tin on a cafe counter the other day, rather than around someone's neck - I put in a pound, because the poppy appeal is a worthy cause regardless of what our soliders do and are sent to do. But I did not take a poppy, because I do not wish to wear one. That is a choice and a freedom - that we are so often reminded about - that our military men and women died to protect.*

"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."
[Samuel Johnson]

*This is a nonsense in regard to wars like Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, The Falklands etc. - these soldiers fought and died because of politics and because their political leaders demanded it. But I will accept it is the case in World War II and possibly World War I.


  1. I fully agree with everything you've said in this blog Jez. I'm also interested to know your opinion on the fuss that was made in the media about the extremist Islamic group who were going to burn poppies on Armistice Day. Personally I felt that all the media did was give publicity to a small minority group of loons who in no way represent the teachings of Islam or the views of the moderate Muslim population in this country, therefore fuelling racist attitudes and inciting further anger and hatred towards Muslims in general.

  2. Hi Lucy cheers, sorry for the late reply. Regarding those nutters, I'm inclined to agree. Unfortunately the nature of the media is that it thrives on conflict and, to an extent, hatred. Naturally the media want to cover things like that because so many people will watch it.