A proud Republican can wear the poppy…

In the first of what I hope will become a series, John McGuirk argues that there is no conflict in interest in an Irish Republican wearing a poppy in remembrance of those who died in past wars… For him it is about standing up for what you believe in, not against what you don’t believe in: specifically, the universal freedom of humanity that saw the liberation of the death camps of Bergin Belsen and other places…By John McGuirk

Over the course of a weekend filled with strange yet predictable happenings, including an alleged visit to Knock by the mother of God herself and Liverpool’s 3-1 defeat at Fulham, of all places, one incident stands out as particularly easy to foresee, but impossible to divorce from controversy. In a decision which led to a full nineteen pages of discussion inside four hours over on one internet forum, John and Edward allowed silk poppy motifs to be sown into their clothes for their appearance on the X Factor.

You can read the discussions on various fora yourself, if you want to sample the criticism the lads received for their decision (strangely their singing is largely unremarked upon in most parts), but you can probably guess the tenor of much of it without bothering.

Traitors. West Brits. Pandering to Unionism. They probably once sneakily laughed at an Ally McCoist gag on A Question of Sport. And so on. The usual insults doled out to anybody seen as too pally with the hated, and ergo intrinsically evil, British.

I’m a Republican. I believe in a 32 County Irish Sovereign Republic. I want the tricolour to fly over Stormont, one day, with broad consent. And I’m proud to wear the poppy, like John and Edward. For far too long Irish patriots have cast our patriotism in terms of what we are against – Unionists, Britain, the Loyal orders, the blue side of Glasgow and so on, instead of what we are for.

I prefer to define my republicanism in terms of what I support. I’m for liberty, for freedom from the need to fear my Government. I’m for basic, decent equality between people regardless of creed or country or colour. I’m for helping those in need of help. Those values are universal, and I’m proud that they have been adopted by a modern, outward looking Irish Republic.

But there’s an important point to me about those values. They are ideas, and rights, that have been paid for dearly with other men’s blood.

Others who defend Irish poppy wearers point out that some of the blood spilt in their defence was Irish – and it was – but that’s not the point. I’m sick of having to justify my poppy with the argument that it’s ok to wear it because “Irish men died as well”. They did, and I honour them, but I would wear it anyway even if they did not.

I wear the poppy because the battle against Nazism was a battle fought on behalf of humanity, and not just on behalf of Britain. I wear it because I’m glad men of all colours and creeds gave their lives to liberate Belsen, and because I’m happy that Europe is free and democratic for the most part. It could have been so different of those men and women had just decided to sit at home.

Some values are universal. If my poppy shows that I stand with those people, and honour their sacrifice, then I don’t care whether it supports the Royal British Legion financially or not, nor whether it is worn by the Queen, or members of the SAS. They wear it out of loyalty to country. I wear it out of respect for a generation who laid down their lives so that my life is free.

Does the poppy commemorate dead Black and Tans as well? Maybe it does. Does it commemorate soldiers lost in action in the six counties? Perhaps. If it were just about those operations, you could count me out, but it’s about much more than that.

Freedom isn’t free. Britain has made many mistakes, but on the two biggest calls of the last hundred years, she got it right. The blood she offered in defence of liberty deserves to be remembered by liberty’s advocates.

John McGuirk blogs at www.mcguirk.eu

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  • Brit

    He sounds far too reasonable, and lacking in knee jerk anti-Brit bigotry, to be a Republican?

    But admirable sentiments.

  • Several points.

    (1) The White poppy remembers the victim of war without the money going to militarists. It’s nearly as old as the red poppy, and has been worn by people of progressive politics for generations

    (2) Has this guy never seen Team America: World Police? We all know freedom isn’t free. It costs a buck o’five.

    BTW Mick, I hope in this series you are having someone from the left as opposed to just nationalists and unionists.

  • Mick Fealty

    You offerin’ Gari? If so, be my guest!!

    Also it would be good to have bona fide unionist point of view… pro or anti…

  • Brit

    The money for the red poppy doesnt go to militarists it does to ex-service men and women or their dependents.

    The white poppy money goes to funding pacifist propaganda and I think the symbolism is pacifist as opposed to remembrance.

    Plenty of progressives in this country wear the red one.

  • Garza

    Red poppy came into existance to help WW1 veterans, many who couldn’t work due to missing limbs or Post-tramatic stress disorder. There was no European legislation against disability discrimination or compulsary wheelchair ramps and lifts in those days!

    Loyalists may have perverted the red poppy in the past, just like they perverted the Red Hand – yet I still see the Red Hand in on the shirts Ulster Gaelic teams.

  • fin

    “I’m glad men of all colours and creeds gave their lives to liberate Belsen”

    Huge chunk of revisionism going on here, concentration camps existed since 1933 and the West didn’t care too much about them.

    Time Magazine still had him on the cover and the West was still doing business.

    The full horror was only realised circa 1943,

    The BBC has a good article on the etiquette
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8333733.stm

    But all in all its just more of the same arguement, people against wearing a poppy cite incidents that are shameful and the pro camp cite incidents of bravery.

    The problem is the poppy covers the good and the bad, not to wear one forgets the brave and worthy and wearing one honours the bastards.

  • Seymour Major

    Part of the reason for the bigotry over the poppy seems to have been that in early 20s Repubicans began to detest hearing the playing and singing of “God Save the King” at remembrance day ceremonies because it affronted their memory of 1916. Then there was the outrage at Phoenix Park in 1925 mirrored 62 years later in Enniskillen.

    In Northern Ireland, the oppression of Catholics seems to have aggravated anti-poppy feeling. Some Protestants have used Catholic feeling against the poppy to feed their own sectarian bigotry.

    Somewhere in all of this history, the fact that many of their kinsmen died in the great war has been lost to many Catholics.

    Enniskillen, seems to have been the low point of Catholic antagonism towards the Poppy in NI. At that point, a victim’s father, Gordon Wilson, a man of great piety touched the hearts and minds of many Catholics.

    Since then there seems to have been a gradual de-contamination of remembrance day and the Poppy in the eyes of Catholics – although it is still rare to see a Catholic wearing a poppy in NI.

    John McGirk’s articles seem to have given this trend a huge push towards the finishing line. Notwithstanding my difference political opinion, I very much welcome the view of Johm McGirk.

  • borderline

    I’ve no problem with Jedward or anyone else wearing a poppy.

    I have a major one with BBC presenters being instructed to wear them.

    BBC NI should rescind this instruction forthwith, or hand over half of their budget to Nationalists so we can have our Irish values service.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Just a point of clarification – does the poppy represent those combatants who fought against British imperialism in Ireland and in Africa and Asia?

    If so, then Nationalists should be prepared to wear it even if it inlcudes many unsavoury people from the British military – otherwise, clearly we need a more inclusive emblem.

  • joeCanuck

    I wrote this on a previous thread:

    “It wasn’t always thus, at least in some nationalist areas. I grew up in Strabane, a mainly Catholic town. There were 20 houses in our street with 3 protestant and 17 Catholic families.
    We all wore poppies and all went to the Remembrance Service. Most of the veterans were Catholic.
    The only problem with the poppy, then as now, was that you always lost it within a few hours of pinning it on.”

    In reply to a comment above, here is some of what the Canadian Legion does with the money:
    . Provide assistance to needy ex-service members and their families.
    . Purchasing medical equipment and appliances for community health facilities.
    . Paying for medical research and training.
    . Building affordable housing for veterans and senior citizens.
    . Paying for bursaries for needy students.
    . Providing support services to senior citizens, meals-on-wheels, drop-in centres etc.

    I and my family have benefitted from many of these services.
    Don’t begrudge a few pounds or dollars.

  • Prionsa Eoghann

    Joe

    You are quite right for Canada, I too have watched many Anzac parades in Australia, my eldest cousin wearing his Da’s and our Granda’s medals. i have stood many, many times for the ‘going down of the sun…etc’ in our local Returned services league. If only we could differentiate the actions of the British army in Ireland, even other imperialist money grabbing/punishing the natives type wars from the sacrifices of the world wars. Only we can’t, and until we do………..

    I read John McGuirk’s piece with an open mind, and kept waiting for the redeeming piece of information that would sway me to the poppy cause. Sadly all we got was belsen and fighting nazism. Well I’d be as well remembering heroes of the Soviet Union individually because they defeated Nazism and liberated Aushwitz and the majority of camps.

    Guess I’ll just go on respecting the memory of the men who died for us without lending my support to the British services as a whole.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    joeCanuck,

    re. “Don’t begrudge a few pounds or dollars.”

    It is undoubtedly a very worthwhile organisation and if it was a very inclusive one (which perhaps it is – see question above) then it would enjoy support from across the community in Norn Iron.

    Hopefully we will get some clarity here on this thread on just how inclusive it is?

  • Kathy C

    posted by Kathy C

    The rememberence of the war dead who fought for the british crown and what it represents.

    Now we don’t know if any of the service men who shot and killed innocent civilians in Derry on Bloody Sunday died during their active duty because the british gov’t won’t give their names. If they did die…then wearing the poppy would be a way to honor those men who shot and murdered Irish Catholic civilians.

    WE also don’t want to forget the british military active duty men who burnt the towns of Mallow and Fernoy. Maybe some of them died during their raids in Ireland…but again we don’t know their names.

    I do not think it is appropriate for a Irish Republican to wear a poppy.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Prionsa Eoghann,

    are you suggesting the poppy does not commemorate those killed, including civilians, in various (perhaps selected) conflicts – I always presumed it did?

  • Prionsa Eoghann

    sammy

    afaik it represents the British ‘fallen’ of all wars. Is it facetious to wonder what represents the ‘fallen’ of Scotland and England pre-1707, especially when they quite often fell at each others feet? Probably.

  • LURIG

    I think that the time is long overdue when the British government, British Legion and Royal family publicly stated that they abhor the sectarian politicizing of the poppy in the North of Ireland by Unionist/Loyalist bigots. This would go a long way to address the annoyance and unease of many Catholics whose family members served and fought in wars yet who annually observe cowardly paramilitaries and politicians taking ownership of remembrance services. Most of these yellow bellies would run a mile in a real war if forced to take up arms and fight an enemy face to face instead of shooting him in the back. This silence from the various authorities is the main obstacle to the acceptance of the poppy for the real reasons.

  • This is possibly the silliest and most self indulgent blog I have ever read on Slugger, like it or not the red poppy glorifies war in all its putridity. The fact that after WW1, (probably the most unnecessary and stupid war in history) the victims had to rely on charity, just about sums up why one should not ware a red poppy, it sends out all the wrong messages about warfare and those like Tony Blair who send young people to war on a wicked lie.

    If you doubt me I suggest you go along to a monument on Nov 11 and you will see the heirs of those who glorified war troop out in all their hypocrisy. They will prattle on about lads dying for the rest of us in places like Afghanistan, when in reality is is absolute tosh, as these young squadies are having there’re their lives stolen by the greedy no good human garbage who sent them there.

    The important thing about war is to remember the living, those who survive, that is what the dead would want. The best thing we could do is stick the charity collecting tins down the toilet where they belong and demand of our politicians that they fund the widows and orphans they have created, plus give adequate medical care for those they have plated a major role in wounding.

    For christ sake, why do you guys think the politicians and the rich and powerful love charity so much, I will tell you it takes the responsibility off their own shoulders for the hardships they have inflicted on others..

    I will be blunt anyone who attends any of these parades is glorifying war, the military life and encouraging todays politicians to steal other peoples sons and daughters lives. Let the families remember their dead, the living need to look to the future.

  • PS Oh, and a proud republican cannot wear a poppy.

  • Dave

    “I read John McGuirk’s piece with an open mind, and kept waiting for the redeeming piece of information that would sway me to the poppy cause. Sadly all we got was belsen and fighting nazism. Well I’d be as well remembering heroes of the Soviet Union individually because they defeated Nazism and liberated Aushwitz and the majority of camps.” – Prionsa Eoghann

    That’s the fatal flaw, and why his ‘argument’ amounts to no more than an idiosyncratic statement. If you select wars that you agree with and praise a state’s army on that basis, then it is equally valid to select wars that you disagree with and damn a state’s army on that basis. He has led himself to a self-contradiction, i.e. if he disagrees with the war in Iraq or the war in pre-independence Ireland (or the shabby sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland), then he expresses agreement with them by wearing a symbol that it not as idiosyncratic as his selective approval.

    Armies exist to defend a nation’ claim to self-determination by defending the sovereign territorial entity that allows the nation to freely exercise its claim (i.e. the state). In defending the British army, he is defending the militant maintenance of the claim to self-determination by the nation that vetoes his nation’s claim to self-determination. That is not a nationalist position.

    We all approve of Churchill’s noble decision to defend the freedom of Europe from fascism (shame that that freedom has been subsequently lost by stealth to an anti-democratic regime, however), but that should not be obfuscated with the British army for obvious pro-British state propaganda purposes. Just because the so-called nationalists in NI have endorsed the legitimacy of the British state’s sovereignty over NI is no reason why the rest of us should be persuaded to celebrate that state’s armed forces.

  • cut_the_bull

    Mick Hall has made some hard hitting and truthful ponits.

  • alan56

    Does the Easter lilly represent an equal glorification of war?

  • McGuirk “I wear the poppy because the battle against Nazism was a battle fought on behalf of humanity, and not just on behalf of Britain. I wear it because I’m glad men of all colours and creeds gave their lives to liberate Belsen, and because I’m happy that Europe is free and democratic for the most part. ”

    If you wear it for those reasons then I have my opposing reasons. The poppy came in after WW1 after the british soldiers had been financially abandoned by their govt (see Mick Hall above). WW1 was a senseless slaughter between the armies of arguing cousins and should be quietly remembered as a wasteful slaughter. The govts, the kaiser’s family and the Windsors should be excluded from everything connected to Nov 11th memorials.

    McGuirk remembers WW2 with his poppy……… sorry thats selective memory. He might first remember something closer to home and the agressor and “acknowledge that there is a small nation that stood alone not for one year or two, but for several hundred years against aggression; that endured spoliation’s, famines, massacres in endless succession; that was clubbed many times into insensibility, but that each time on returning consciousness took up the fight anew; a small nation that could never be got to accept defeat and has never surrendered her soul?”

    Proof as if proof be needed that if you tell a lie frequently enough then it’ll be acknowledged as true. Republican are now wearing poppies….. I suppose if everyone on Sky Sport wears one then everyone else should…. sheep!!!

    If Unionists are so partial to military commemorations then why do they complain against Republican commemorations like the recent one in Galbally?

    In light of the GFA equality any TV personality obliged to wear a poppy should be obliged to wear an Easter Lily in April. Or do the broadcasting companies have a heirarchy? Does anyone have a link to that Derry young fella on the Britan’s Got Talent show whose family were asked not to wear their GAA shirts?

    If McGuirk is selective in his reasons for wearing of the poppy then many IRA supporters can equally be as selective in their support for the republican campaign and ignore La Mon, Enniskillen & Omagh.

  • Alan – Newtownards

    I wear the poppy with pride to remember members of my family who gave their lives in WW2. My grandfather and an uncle paid the ultimate sacrifice. End of story. In Newtownards, prods and catholics wear the poppy and catholics attend the rememberance service at the war memorial. I personally only wear mine on rememberance Sunday.

    I don’t believe anyone should be forced to wear one if they don’t want too. The same goes with wearing the shamrock on Patricks day. It’s a free country….thanks to the brave men and women who fought the nazis and their allies.

  • joeCanuck

    Mick Hall has made some hard hitting and truthful ponits (sic).

    Cut the Bull, Mickhall said “..anyone who attends any of these parades is glorifying war..”
    I refute that; it’s simply not true in my case and, I suspect, the case for the majority who remember the dead and injured, of all nations who have suffered.

  • and any money donated these days thro purchasing a poppy wouldn’t go to some poor WW1 Tommy from the trenches or soldier who fought against Der Furher as most of them have passed on.

    Nowadays your money’s for the heros from the Mau Mau campaign (ear collectors) and those who stood firm against the Paddys in Castlereagh Interrogation Centre. That’d also be age group for those running the Glenanne Gang.

    So memorials and Last Post for WW1 are one thing but nowadays the aging British soldier’s experience, for which poppy purchasers are suporting, relate to the the early 70’s in NI. Yeah they were honourable and should be honoured by nationalists !?!?

    McGuirk go join Tom Kelly OBE in Uncle Tom’s cabin

  • alan56

    Mytuppenseworth,
    tuppence seems about the right value to place on this analysis. It bears no relation to the reasons why many people wear the poppy. To ascribe to these people the sentiments you express is inaccurate and insulting. I suspect there must be another agenda at work.

  • “I wear the poppy with pride to remember members of my family who gave their lives in WW2. My grandfather and an uncle paid the ultimate sacrifice. ”

    good for you

    I see it was a disgusting symbol of industrial warmongering in WW1 and the abandonment of the soldiers by their govts afterwards.

    If you have selective opinions regarding the poppy and british military activities then you’ll have no prob if likewise a Provo comes on line and ignores La Mon & Enniskillen etc and discusses the Honourable Republican Campaign against the might of the Brit Empire?

  • Padraig

    1 Was World War 1 a ‘War of Liberation’?

    2 If World War 2 was a ‘War of Liberation’ were Eastern Europe and China ‘Liberated’?

    3 What part did the Treaty of Versailles play in initiating the next war?

    4 What part did the imperialism of European Empires like Britain and the new American Empire cause in starting both world wars?

  • and as for the non sectarian aspects of the RBL and the poppy………….

    British Legion plays down election of UDR ex-convict
    By Seamus McKinney
    25/11/08

    The Royal British Legion in London has played down as a “local issue” the election of a man convicted in relation to a UVF murder.

    Several members of the Coleraine branch walked out of the annual general meeting last week after former UDR member Bobby Douglas was elected branch chairman.

    Douglas (62) was sentenced to 12 years in prison in for his part in the UVF murder of Samuel Patton from the Co Derry town in 1988.

    Although acquitted of Mr Patton’s murder, Douglas was convicted of wounding with intent.

    Two other men were convicted of murder.

    At his trial, it was revealed that Mr Patton had been killed for failing to hand over the proceeds of a robbery to the UVF.

    The trial was told the victim had been taken to a field where he was shot, beaten and had his throat cut.

    One witness told the court that Mr Patton had shouted: “Don’t be killing me. What are you shooting me for?”

    East Derry assembly member John Dallat said he had been contacted by a number of people angry at what had happened at last week’s legion meeting.

    “It is clear from the phone calls I received that loyalists packed a meeting last Thursday evening to elect Douglas rather than two other candidates who have no baggage,” he said.

    Mr Dallat also pointed out that another loyalist, Russell Watton, had resigned following protests after being elected assistant secretary of the branch in 2006.

    Watton was convicted in connection with a shooting in Dunloy in the 1970s.

    “There is serious concern that the British Legion club is being hijacked by loyalists,” he said.

    “I acknowledge the efforts made by the legion to make it more appealing to all sections of the community and I regret the harm this will do.”

    A spokeswoman for the Royal British Legion said the issue was a local one and a matter for the organisation at local level.

    No-one at the legion’s Northern Ireland headquarters was available for comment last night.

    http://www.irishnews.com/articles/540/5860/2008/11/25/603789_364561155522BritishLe.html

    Can I assume that the RBL was able to clear this killer out over the last 12 months? Does anyone have an update or has it just been ignored?

  • Mark McGregor

    John is as entitled to anyone else to take whatever view he pleases on the British Legion poppy. I’m not interested in arguing with him. What it represents or means to him, the arguments or bias of others he dismisses, that is all his prerogative.

    I guess I’m a republican too, seems a different brand from John but this argument/debate is just blah/blah repetition every year.

    Let him and those like him remember how they wish, treat the poppy how they wish, pick and choose how they wish. Let them remember and dismiss as they wish.

    But let others not have to endure attempts at making us feel guilt for not buying into their viewpoint.

    And more importantly stop making those that don’t buy-in have it enforced on them.

    Remember how you will, what you will or won’t, don’t try and guilt trip those who recall other things or force your remembrance down the throats of some.

    I wear a Lily as remembrance of the war dead I feel gratitude to, I’m sick of that being attacked or attacking those that stand behind the poppy.

    I just quite simply can’t give a feck anymore about this biannual attack your chosen form of commemoration bullshit.

  • alan56

    Mark,

    You speak much common sense. Trying to determine how anyone should show respect to those that have paid the price of war often diintegrates into a shallow sectarian rant.

  • Alan – Newtownards

    2pworth

    I couldn’t care less what republicans do or think or indeed if they want to discuss their dis(honourable)campaign. If you are an irish republican I just rejoice that I am not. I just want to remember (with pride) members of my family who fought the nazis. I would just like to add that we have a lovely letter from an irish R.C. priest who buried my uncle after he was killed in action. Here was a man of a different faith who showed respect to a dead irishman… unlike you. Grow up.

  • joeCanuck

    Understood and agreed, Mark. But for some, it doesn’t have to be the Poppy or Lily, can be both as appropriate.

  • Dave

    Mark, not much to argue with there. Other than to state the obvious: that the propaganda spewed on Slugger and elsewhere isn’t about making you as a republican feel “guilty” for not ‘remembering the dead’ but is actually about bringing you to endorse the legitimacy of the armed forces of the state that other so-called “proud republicans” have been brought to endorse. It is very cynical use of the dead for an ulterior political purpose.

  • Christy Walsh

    For NI folks the poppy has been hijacked by the RUC, Specials, and UDR and so it does not have the same universality here as it might if one wore it in London or France. Any money collected will be used in ways that have always promoted sectarianism. Dotted throughout West Belfast were nationalist WW Veterans who lived mostly discrete lives throughout the Troubles -unwanted by either side. I think they and/or their survivors should be given better recognition than they have been in the past.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Alan 56, did you hear the hames that local B(ritish).B.C made as announcer after announcer made an attempt to pronounce the name of that unfortunate young fellow who died in a fight in Australia? Had it been Penelope or Chloe – no problem. But why try to pronounce a taigy name correctly? Nextly there is only one l in lily. Now for all those nationalists who had brothers/cousins/neighbours murdered by the British military and are tempted to buy a poppy – your money goes to provide ‘little extras’ for the UDR and RUC gunmen who were wounded in the fight to keep Ulster British.The British state gives them a pension, the DUP begs for more so they don’t need your charity. And still some posters talk about catholic this and catholic that. Who cares what the catholics do – it is the nationalist/republicans who will not accept this sectarian statelet nor it’s PSNI.

  • Mark

    It is impossible to be neutral over this ‘thing’, the more so as whether you like it or not, you live in the UK, which is once again involved in what can loosely be described a post imperialist wars. If we are to pay respect to any peoples we should bow our heads in shame towards the graves of 600,000 Iraqi’s and god knows how many Afghan’s

    Another reason why it is impossible to be neutral on this; is because the British State and its institutions are not, they push the poppy every were, to the extent that no one can appear prominently on UK TV during this period without agreeing to were ‘there’ wretched poppy.

    As to charity, the very word makes me want to spit, if the British Legion is so good, how come they fail to help the many former squadies who are sleeping rough, or fill the jails, often for comparatively trivial offences, or suffer from drug, alcohol and mental health problems.

    There is far to much of,

    For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Chuck him out, the brute!”
    But it’s “Saviour of ‘is country” when the guns begin to shoot;
    An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please;
    An’ Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool — you bet that Tommy sees!

  • Mark McGregor

    PH

    And being disrespectful to the war dead of any country is a worthwhile or productive attitude?

    Let them get on with it.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Only your own war dead are worthy of respect, Mark. And I’m too long in the tooth and have seen too much for nouveau Sinn Féin to impress me with their attendance at British Army military commemorations where nobody wants them. Soon they’ll be more PONI than the PONIs themselves.

  • DK

    Mickhall – OK you don’t like the poppy, why lie about the British Legion’s work with “squadies who are sleeping rough, or fill the jails”:

    http://www.civvystreet.org/ – to help those leaving the armed forces.

    http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/can-we-help/poppy-funds#homelessness – speaks for itself.

    http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/can-we-help/poppy-funds#prison – a network of prison caseworkers.

    I can conclude you’re either careless or a propaganda merchant.

  • Greenflag

    john mcgurk ,

    Freedom isn’t free.

    Full marks etc but neither should it be as expensive as it has become .

    ‘Britain has made many mistakes’

    This is undeniably true .Who has’nt ?

    ‘ but on the two biggest calls of the last hundred years, she got it right. The blood she offered in defence of liberty deserves to be remembered by liberty’s advocates.’

    I’d be more inclined to say she got it right in WW2 . In WW1 none of them got it right. It was an unwarranted slaughter and waste of life for all the participants. And worse of all WW1 enabled totalitarian communism to get off the ground in Russia which resulted in another 60 million deaths, and the Versailles Treaty and the economic collapse of Germany and the hyper devaluation of it’s currency as a result of war payments gave Hitler the edge he needed to climb to power on the backs of a broken lower middle class and the non communist half of the working class , plus another 50 million deaths .

    Anyway whether people choose to wear or not wear a poppy is their own business . Time to move beyond the Poppy v Easter Lily annual regurgitation 🙁

  • Greenflag

    mick hall ,

    ‘Another reason why it is impossible to be neutral on this.

    No it’s not . The Unionists and others can have their Poppy Day and the Republicans their Easter Lily Day . So all thats needed to bring both sides together to commemorate together is a new emblem to be worn on a neutral day which should symbolise both tribes in NI and in particular their eternal devotion to conflict , fighting and loathing each other .

    The botanical experts need to be engaged to come up with a hybrid of the Poppy and the Lily . It could be called the Lippy by the Taigs or the Pilly by the Prods . The Assemblly should pass a law making wearing of the lippy or pilly compulsory for the day before and the day after the new national remembrance day . For Catholics the penalty for not wearing the lippy/pilly will be mandatory wearing of the poppy for two days before and after Remembrance Day while being forced to walk up and down the Shankill . For Prod offenders the penalty will be mandatory wearing of the Easter Lily for two days before and after Easter Monday while having to walk up and down the Falls Road .

    Lippy /Pilly Day should be held on April 1st . Somehow it just seems so appropriate 😉

  • The Raven

    I came to this thread late, but still I think that this is an admirable piece, in the midst of all the whataboutery.

    Anybody read Carol Ann Duffy’s “The Last Post”?

  • Greenflag

    Newsflash just in from the UN .

    For the 35th year in a row the UN has awarded the coveted ‘Annual Whitest Conflict on Earth Award to the the Taigs and Jaffas of Northern Ireland .

    Now if that doesn’t make yiz all feel proud shure I don’t know what will ;

    An objection to the award was lodged by the Georgians who maintained that their conflict with the Russians was ‘whiter’ and that Northern Ireland should be disqualified on grounds that the whiteness of their conflict had been diluted by the forced removal of Romany Gypsies from Belfast and attacks on women of colour .

    The presiding judge ruled in favour of NI stating that the Georgians were only johnny come latelys to the business of intertribal loathing .

  • OC

    Maybe the wearing of Dionaea muscipula can solve the problem for both tribes, as it is neither green nor orange, but with hints of both. And so à propos!

  • Wilde Rover

    The poppy is a symbol of the gullibility of the general pubic and its inability to comprehend the very simple fact that the banking class bankrolls both sides of war in the modern era and are only interested in prolonging wars for profit and at the expense of the average Joe.

    But please, keep feeding your children into the meat grinder. Your betters always need someone to top up their coffers.

  • SonOfD-DayDodger&DesertRat;

    It is sad that the poppy, among some people in Northern Ireland is either used as a badge-of-difference or seen as such. The same applies to the wearing of shamrock on March 17. It should not be seen as a badge-of-difference either. My father was in an Irish regiment in WW2, proudly serving with Southerners and Northerners who had volunteered, not for money, but for a worthy cause. He was happy to wear the shamrock on St. Patrick’s Day and despised the use by Sinn Fein of shamrock as a badge-of-difference in much the same way that harder line unionists have worn the poppy. SF and the IRA made many moderate Prods dilute their Irishness in disgust at the bigoted nationalism of the Provos and their fellow travellers. Fionnuala O’Connor’s rather sour Irish Times column on this last week took a far too negative view of an emblem which I hope will be accepted in the right spirit as the years wear on, as a symbol of respect and remembrance to all who died in war. It would be progress too to see more poppy wearers on the streets of Dublin — there are almost none. Pluralism comes dripping slow at both ends of the island….

  • Dave

    “…a far too negative view of an emblem which I hope will be accepted in the right spirit as the years wear on, as a symbol of respect and remembrance to all who died in war.”

    This is exactly what it is not and is not intended to be. It is in remembrance of those who served in the British army, defending the British state and the British nation. You are confusing it with a non-national symbol of universal remembrance of dead soldiers – which is something it could never be, and which no symbol could ever be (since not all dead soldiers individually or armies collectively are worthy of remembrance).

    The British state must elevate its dead soldiers, as all states must do, since they have died in service of their country – and it’s a tad hard to get folks to risk their lives if they are not portrayed as having done so to serve a greater good. It is in the United Kingdom’s national interest to elevate its armed forces, and it is in the national interest of all states to do so. It is not, however, in the national interest of other nations and their states to celebrate the armies of other states, and none of them do so. If you are British, then celebrate your army as you wish but don’t try to pretend that the Japanese, the Portuguese, the Irish, or any other nation has a moral or practical reason to do so.

    In Northern Ireland, the nationalists are subject to an ongoing process of integrating them into the United Kingdom, and just as they have been led to endorse that state’s police force, they must also be led to endorse all of the state – which, of course, includes its armed forces. So, bringing the members of the Irish nation in that region to accept the legitimacy of the British state wherein live is why they are being led to endorse its armed forces. Embracing the British state’s army under the bogus pretext here of embracing universal causes (“I wear the poppy because the battle against Nazism was a battle fought on behalf of humanity…”) and other pretexts such as anti-fascism or remembering members of the Irish nation who served the British state in its armed forces is part of that ongoing process of integration into the British state. As Margaret Thatcher put it: “The minority community must be led to support or at least acquiesce in the constitutional framework of the state in which they live.”

  • Dave

    All nations remember their state’s war dead. The Irish nation should of course remember the UK’s war dead if they believe that the UK is properly their state. There are plenty of irredentists who wish to separate the Irish nation from control of its state and to return that state to control of the British nation by rejoining the UK. Those who do not see the British state are their state has no business propping-up its army. The irredentists on the other hand have good reason to encourage the Irish nation to act as if the British army was its army, involving themselves in what are actually foreign affairs as though they were internal. In NI, they are internal affairs, so the situation is different up there. That’s what they signed up to so they are going to have to get fully with the integration program in due course, but it’s another good reason why we in Ireland should leave them to it.

  • Brit

    I think that it is entirely reasonable for Catholics in NI who see themselves as Irish, and not British or part of the UK, to opt out of wearing the Poppy. It is a British tradition and remembers and honours those who sacrificed themselves in the British army. Yes plenty of Irishmen fought for the British army but Frenchmen and Poles (exiles) also fought for the British army and I am not aware of any tradition of poppy wearing in France or Poland. I don’t think irish nationalists should feel ashamed or embarrassed.

    The above withstanding I think that some of the arguments ‘against’ the poppy advanced by Irish nationalists above are flawed. One of them seems to be that because the British army was involved in evil and contemptible actions in Ireland (Bloody Sunday being the largest recent example) then it would be wrong for irish/nationalist/Catholics to wear it. The implication being here that the wearing of the poppy means support for all actions undertaken by the British army. However, plenty wear the poppy and object to actions of the British army in Ireland and elswere – the army was used to put down political protest by the English working class, was used to violently crush independence agitators in India, and engaged in indefensible wars and military actions in South Africa, Suez and elswhere. Many of those wearing the Poppy in the UK objected strongly to the war in Iraq.

    It is merely a case of respecting the incredible courage of soldiers in any war (just/unjust/pointless/ whatever) and supporting (both symbolically and practically) injured soldiers and their dependants. Many soliders suffer from post-traumatic stress disorders (which used to be called shell shock) which can be just as debilitating as the loss of a limb and many fall into alcoholism, drug addiction, family breakdown, mental health problems and homelessness.

  • Billy

    LURIG

    I agree with you to a point about Unionists\”Loyalists” politicising the poppy. However, it’s similar to the vast majority of decent people in the UK who allowed the St George’s flag to be hi-jacked by the NF/BNP.

    Now they are commonly seen and no longer associated with extreme right wing views.

    I believe that there is no problem with Nationalists\Catholics wearing poppies. Many Catholics died in both World Wars and should be remembered.

    Also, it helps to defeat the myths put around by Unionists that it was only Protestants who fought against Nazism.

    My own Grandfather and all his brothers died serving in the Royal Navy.

    Frankly, I refused to wear a poppy for many years as a percentage of the money went to the UDR benevolent fund. Why any Catholic would give money to them beats me.

    However, since the British govt finally had the sense to dump them, I’m happy to show my respect and support the relatives by wearing a poppy.

  • Brit

    Padraig.

    In answer to your questions.

    “1 Was World War 1 a ‘War of Liberation’?”

    The Belgians probably thought so. Arguably the allies were fighting a Just war of self-defence / defence of allies.

    2 If World War 2 was a ‘War of Liberation’ were Eastern Europe and China ‘Liberated’?

    Short answer to first part of your question is yes. Short answer to the second part of your question is no.

    “3 What part did the Treaty of Versailles play in initiating the next war?”

    A significant part as a causal factor, although the overwhelming moral responsibility lies with the German Nazis and their supporters and enablers in Germany.

    4 What part did the imperialism of European Empires like Britain and the new American Empire cause in starting both world wars?

    Not that much.

  • Brit

    “This is possibly the silliest and most self indulgent blog I have ever read on Slugger, like it or not the red poppy glorifies war in all its putridity. The fact that after WW1, (probably the most unnecessary and stupid war in history) the victims had to rely on charity, just about sums up why one should not ware a red poppy, it sends out all the wrong messages about warfare and those like Tony Blair who send young people to war on a wicked lie. ”
    Most people associate the poppy primarily with WW1 which no one sees as a glorious experience, but rather an example of hell on earth for the huge numbers of terrified young men (British and otherwise) who died. That the soliders in that war were lions led by donkeys does not mean that poppy ‘glorifies war’. The tone of the ceremonies on Nov 11 is a one of quiet, melancholy respect not of triumphal celebration. And as for Tony Blair what is the “lie” you are referring to?
    “If you doubt me I suggest you go along to a monument on Nov 11 and you will see the heirs of those who glorified war troop out in all their hypocrisy. They will prattle on about lads dying for the rest of us in places like Afghanistan, when in reality is is absolute tosh, as these young squadies are having there’re their lives stolen by the greedy no good human garbage who sent them there.”
    Those in Afghanistan are fighting violent islamism, the most reactionary, backward, totalitarian movement in existence which absolutely opposes all of the core values and principles that any progressives/liberals share. It is one frontline in a global conflict which needs to be, and will be, won – often not by military means. Whilst you may argue about tactics and may make the case (which I would dispute) for immediate or phased withdrawal being the lesser of two evils the idea that those politicians who send them there are “no good human garbage” is idiotic.
    “The important thing about war is to remember the living, those who survive, that is what the dead would want. The best thing we could do is stick the charity collecting tins down the toilet where they belong and demand of our politicians that they fund the widows and orphans they have created, plus give adequate medical care for those they have plated a major role in wounding. ”
    Governments and politicians do, of course, fund and support widows and orphans. You are suggesting a false choice between government action and charitable activities.
    “For christ sake, why do you guys think the politicians and the rich and powerful love charity so much, I will tell you it takes the responsibility off their own shoulders for the hardships they have inflicted on others..”
    Many who are not rich or powerful and believe in an interventionist state also organise and/or contribute to charities.
    “I will be blunt anyone who attends any of these parades is glorifying war, the military life and encouraging todays politicians to steal other peoples sons and daughters lives. Let the families remember their dead, the living need to look to the future. ”
    I’ve dealt with your false assertion about glorification above. As to the other points – are you a pacifist? If so you are a proponent of an intellectually and morally flawed creed – but are at least internally consistent. If not then you accept that wars can be right/justified (not because glorious but the least bad option) in which case it is the job and responsibility of soliders to fight and in some cases to be killed. Politicians have a right / obligation to send other peoples sons and daughters to fight and die in such wars and there is nothing wrong in them so doing. Now we may differ on which wars are or are not but that is a separate point.

  • “Whilst you may argue about tactics and may make the case (which I would dispute) for immediate or phased withdrawal being the lesser of two evils the idea that those politicians who send them there are “no good human garbage” is idiotic.”

    Whilst you may not regard those who sent people to war against the Afghan people as human garbage I do, and I am certain the mothers of the countless innocent Afghans who have been murdered by British weaponry do also.

    What right does the British have to decide who governs Afghanistan? Does the Afghan State pose a threat to the UK, no it undoubtedly does not, indeed if Bush had the wit and was not in hoch to the US military industrial complex, and had continued negotiations with the Talaban government, Bin Laden would now be in Jail?

    Your talk of violent islamism, and the most reactionary, backward, totalitarian movement is absurd, when the UK military are raining bombs and missiles on Afghan civilians. What do you expect people to do when their loved ones are brutally murdered in this way but fight back? I would like to think we would do the same if we suffered the misfortune of foreign armies on our streets telling us how to live.

    Pray tell me who originally armed the most totalitarian, violently islamic, and reactionary militias in Afghanistan, the USA/UK and they have not gone to sleep you know, they are either in Karsi government, having received massive bribes paid for by the US and UK taxpayers; or once the Nato forces withdraw, which they will, this western created scum will turn on the women and other sections of Afghani society who have the misfortune to be without weapon’s to defend themselves.

    The arrogance of the UK government and opposition and people who think like you is astounding, our economy is going through the floor, we have major structure problems around essential services and infrastructure, hospitals, schools housing etc, ect, yet we believe we have the right to teach, by force of arms, other folk how to live their lives and run their countries. People I might add who have never done a thing to harm us, Unbelievable !

    Thankfully our European neighbours are not so arrogant and stupid. At least they learnt something from WW2.

  • Mick Fealty

    ‘Human garbage’ is ad hominem Mick. As I recall we have had an automatic bar on ‘scum’ in the past, mostly because it was a signal that someone was trying to dehumanise an opponent. A bit of rough and tumble is fine, but I rely on old stagers like yourself to lead the way and play it fair.

  • Fair enough, god forbid be it I who dehumanise Tony Blair, although some I’m sure might think by his inhuman willingness to go to war at the drop of a hat, his personal greed and his inability to understand he may be unsuitable for job which is based on finding a consensus with all types, not just the wealthy, powerful and thick, may have been the reason why some folk regard him as human garbage.

    But as you say not here on slugger, so I will just say I find the likes of Mr Blair and David Lloyd George as extremely greedy and unpleasant fellows, who seem to have a total lack of empathy for their fellow human beings, the more so if they are suffering due to their actions.

    All the best

  • Brit

    “Whilst you may not regard those who sent people to war against the Afghan people as human garbage I do, and I am certain the mothers of the countless innocent Afghans who have been murdered by British weaponry do also.”

    And what of the mothers of those murdered, tortured, attackted, brutalised and oppressed under the Taliban? Or those being allowed to live a normal life again, to go to school? Perhaps they view Western pacifists/anti-imperalists, who would abandon the, as the garbage.

    “What right does the British have to decide who governs Afghanistan? Does the Afghan State pose a threat to the UK, no it undoubtedly does not, indeed if Bush had the wit and was not in hoch to the US military industrial complex, and had continued negotiations with the Talaban government, Bin Laden would now be in Jail?”

    The moral right lies with the Afghan peope (this is subject to limited caveats to do with voting for governments which attack others – presumably you don’t think the invasion and occupation of Germany by the allies was wrong because inconsistent with possible German support for the Nazis?). The Afghan regime under the Taliban did pose a threat to the UK and US, by providing support and cover to Al Queda. Witness 9/11. I’m surprised that you even think Bin Laden is guilty (as a lot of your lot deny that) but even more surprised that you think the Tablian would have handed him over.

    “Your talk of violent islamism, and the most reactionary, backward, totalitarian movement is absurd, when the UK military are raining bombs and missiles on Afghan civilians. What do you expect people to do when their loved ones are brutally murdered in this way but fight back? I would like to think we would do the same if we suffered the misfortune of foreign armies on our streets telling us how to live.”

    Where to start. Yes it is the most reactionary, backward and totalitarian movement. No other movement, with the exception of the Neo-nazi Far Right would have supported an attack like 9/11, not the most extreme of national liberation movements like ETA. The UK armed forces are fighting the Taliban guerillas and are not raining bombs or missiles on civillians (clue: it is the Taliban that plant bombs and commit other attacks against civillians). You think suicide bombs in market places and targetting civillians is “fighting back”? (well I suppose you are a Republican so perhaps you do). If I had lived under the Taliban in Afghanistan or in Iraq under Saddam I would welcome liberation and not fight back (I certainly wouldn’t go around murdering civillians who were wholly blameless). The armies are on the streets in Afghanistan and (to the extent that they remain there) Iraq at the invitation of the government and with the tacit support / acceptance of the populace. There role is not to enforce any foreign writ but to maintain peace and then leave when there job is done. They are not telling anyone how to live.

    “Pray tell me who originally armed the most totalitarian, violently islamic, and reactionary militias in Afghanistan, the USA/UK and they have not gone to sleep you know, they are either in Karsi government, having received massive bribes paid for by the US and UK taxpayers; or once the Nato forces withdraw, which they will, this western created scum will turn on the women and other sections of Afghani society who have the misfortune to be without weapon’s to defend themselves.”

    The anti-Soviet Mujahadeen were supported by the US and included some islamists and others fighting a national liberation war who whilst islamic were not political islamists. They were also supported by many muslims around the world and other countries (including Pakistan). The more extreme Taliban and AQ were largely supported by wealthy islamists in Saudi.

    “The arrogance of the UK government and opposition and people who think like you is astounding, our economy is going through the floor, we have major structure problems around essential services and infrastructure, hospitals, schools housing etc, ect, yet we believe we have the right to teach, by force of arms, other folk how to live their lives and run their countries. People I might add who have never done a thing to harm us, Unbelievable ! ”

    We are not trying to tell “folk” (I hate that word) how to live their lives or run their countries, we are trying to support them in being able to run their own lives and run their own countries. We are also fighting a war against a global threat (Islamism) the main victims of which are muslims.

    “Thankfully our European neighbours are not so arrogant and stupid. At least they learnt something from WW2.”

    There were non anglo European forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. Also in Kosovo.

  • OC

    If war mongering is supposed to fuel the economy, then I’d say that they’ve done a poor job these last eight years.

  • Neville Bagnall

    I’ve attended Easter commemorations, I’ve attended Remembrance Day services. I’ve no problem wearing either the Poppy or the Lily as an act of remembrance and acknowledgement. I don’t endorse everything associated with both symbols, but I won’t ignore the pure to avoid the polluted. The White Lily is interesting, but I’m not a pacifist. What amazes me is that there is not a symbol that can be worn by all, in all nations and for all wars, a symbol of remembrance and memory and nothing more.

    Maybe a buttonhole of Peasant’s-Eye (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adonis_annua) for sorrowful memories and Edelweiss (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leontopodium_alpinum) for courage and noble intent.

  • Cushy Glenn

    “16.I think that the time is long overdue when the British government, British Legion and Royal family publicly stated that they abhor the sectarian politicizing of the poppy in the North of Ireland by Unionist/Loyalist bigots”

    And the evidence for this MOPEist self delusion is…..?

  • Cushy Glenn

    “Can I assume that the RBL was able to clear this killer out over the last 12 months? Does anyone have an update or has it just been ignored?

    Posted by mytuppenceworth on Nov 02, 2009 @ 09:18 PM”

    Can I assume that your admirably consistent and highminded approach is universal, and extends to IRA terrorists in -well, let’s pick an absurd example- the GAA? Hey, let’s go mad and imagine there might be convicted criminals in the government too. Because that is your point, as I understand it- that any institution which has such people in it must be irretrievably corrupted and denounced by all right thinking members of society. Lucky there wasn’t a priest involved in the Claudy bombing, or you’d be attacking Holy Mother Church too!
    One dimensional hypocrisy disguised as reasoned debate is overvalued at two pence

  • “If war mongering is supposed to fuel the economy, then I’d say that they’ve done a poor job these last eight years.”

    OC

    Perhaps you would be better to check out the balance sheets of the big US military, industrial and security multi nationals, you might get an idea just how good the iraq and Afghan war has been for them.

    Brit

    It is pointless to debate with someone like you, who first wrongly tags me as a pacifist then refers to me as ‘you lot’ what ever that may mean. One has to have a certain amount of respect for one’s opponent if we are to engage in serious and productive debate, as you have drawn your opinion about me, on guess work, inaccurately I might add, I feel it would be a waste of time for me to pursue this matter. The more so as you have begun to tell lies, as you know full well innocent Afghans have been killed by UK bombs and US drones and missiles.

    But hey what is collateral damage to a chap like you, the more so when the victims are muslims. Its the big picture that counts. Well, the big picture is going belly up old son, you remind me of a soviet press attache I used to know at the London embassy during their hopeless excursion to down town Afghanistan.

    By the way the anti-Soviet Mujahadeen did not contain ‘some’ islamists, bar the northern war lord, the whole bunch of them were, and are still are islamists politically. The reason the Talaban came into the picture was US intel had lost complete control of their surrogates and the Afghan people where sick to death with the whole bunch of them, bar those who ruled Herat.

    Admittedly this took some time, whereas the Afghan people, like the Iraqis before them, became sick of NATO forces almost from day one.

  • Brit

    “It is pointless to debate with someone like you, who first wrongly tags me as a pacifist then refers to me as ‘you lot’ what ever that may mean. One has to have a certain amount of respect for one’s opponent if we are to engage in serious and productive debate, as you have drawn your opinion about me, on guess work, inaccurately I might add, I feel it would be a waste of time for me to pursue this matter. The more so as you have begun to tell lies, as you know full well innocent Afghans have been killed by UK bombs and US drones and missiles.”

    I didn’t tag you as a pacifist. ‘You lot’ are the Stoppers, the “peace” (heh) movement (you know the one which sometimes supports suicide bombers, esp. when the victims are Jews I mean Israelis), those who the day after 9/11 started saying “yes it was bad…but what has America done to provoke this hatred”. I don’t know why your lot are so obsessed with accusing your opponents of being “liars” but your clear implication before was that the allies were targetting civillians not that civillians have been killed. Civillians were killed by the allies in ww2 and in pretty much all just wars in the last Century. I might well add that you have made assumptions about me and my attitudes which are also inaccurate. And judging from your contribution to this thread I have no respect for your arguments or views (you may be a very nice bloke)

    “But hey what is collateral damage to a chap like you, the more so when the victims are muslims. Its the big picture that counts. Well, the big picture is going belly up old son, you remind me of a soviet press attache I used to know at the London embassy during their hopeless excursion to down town Afghanistan.”

    Muslims are the main victims of Islamist terrorism, of Islamist regimes and were the main victims of the Ba-athist regime (which you were so opposed to being toppled). The big picture is that AQ has lost its base and had its operational capability sorely damaged. This saves lives and also stops the spectaculars like 9/11 which, sadly, gave AQ some cache within elements of the arab/muslim street. The Afghan regime has gone and Iraq is free from the Ba-athist hell and neutralised as a threat.

    Whatever the truth of the US support fo the Mujahadeen it is just another undergraduate debating point like “you funded and armed Saddam” which doesn’t have any bearings on the rightness of wrongness of the toppling of the Taliban and helping to maintain a more peaceful, secure Afghanistan and one which does not threaten to disabilise the entire region.

    Its easy to sit on the sidelines condemning everyone, and I’m sure its nice never to have to take responsibility for what would have happened had your policies of non-intervention and appeasement been followed. The holier than thou, smug, aloofness of the likes of Benn who prefer to condemn than to actually struggle with the compromises and challenges of real power and reallychanging the world represents the worst parts of the Left – a democratic, transformative movement of which I am proud to be part.

  • OC

    “Perhaps you would be better to check out the balance sheets of the big US military, industrial and security multi nationals, you might get an idea just how good the iraq and Afghan war has been for them.”

    A very small part of the economy.

    Compare to the financial standing of GM, Ford, Alcoa, US Steel, Singer Sewing Machine, etc., at the end of WWII.

    Recessions are common at the end of major conflicts, but we seem to now have a new paradigm.

  • Wilde Rover

    Brit,

    “- a democratic, transformative movement of which I am proud to be part.”

    Yes, good auld Karzai, the ballot stuffer, and his brother, the Heroin King and employee of the intelligence services.

    Perhaps the poppy logo is relevant – just think of your proud movement every time you pass a junkie on the street that’s whacked out on the cheap smack from Afghanistan.

  • looks like he’s also representing the Queens Hussars these days….
    http://www.thequeensownhussars.co.uk/old_comrades.htm
    ……. and we thought that the only killers who now wear a new hat were those voted for by nationalists.

    Cushy, you seem to agree with me that the poppies are exclusive to the unionist side. It’s so simple then why does ITV insist on teenagers having to wear them on X Factor?

    More to the point, why has there been an increase in poppies in the last 20 years? Very few wore them in the 80’s, certainly very few football managers did, now they all do. It’s probably a dulling of individual thought and an increased acceptance of media opinion as ‘accepted’ behaviour.

    Remember before the Berlin Wall came down when politburo folk came on TV with lots of badges and emblems on their lapels we used laugh at their drone-like behaviour and acceptance of Kermlin propaganda….. looks like it’s repeated in Ol’ Blighty these days… fools!!

  • Prionsa Eoghann

    mytuppenceworth

    Whilst not being against individual choice your sentiments do worry me also, seems a bit of coercion going on throughout the media that you cannot, cannot appear without putting a poppy on.

  • Brit

    Whilst I do wear the poppy and have done so for as long as I can remember I do think there is a level of ‘sheep’ mentality with some people wearing it to be seen to be doing the right thing, or to show they are of the “right sort”.

    The pressure on those in the media to wear the Poppy is also a bit silly and I agree with PE that it should be a matter for each individual.

  • “You know the one which sometimes supports suicide bombers, esp. when the victims are Jews.”

    Brit
    Oh dear;, my family name on my mothers side is Beckstein. If you get my drift, do your self a favor and stop digging.

  • Cushy Glenn

    “Cushy, you seem to agree with me that the poppies are exclusive to the unionist side. It’s so simple then why does ITV insist on teenagers having to wear them on X Factor?”

    Where did I say that? I imagine Ken Livingstone, Tony Benn, or George Galloway might feel inclined to wear a poppy, though no friends of mine. I’ve no idea why the X factor wanted the non entities on it to wear poppies, but I’ll bet it wasn’t because Worshipful Brother Cowell thought it would slap it up the papishes.

    “More to the point, why has there been an increase in poppies in the last 20 years? Very few wore them in the 80’s, certainly very few football managers did, now they all do. It’s probably a dulling of individual thought and an increased acceptance of media opinion as ‘accepted’ behaviour.”
    Perhaps. But then a lot more people wear red noses on tv than they did 20 years ago. It is a bit bizarre that son of Franco’s Spain Rafa Benitez wears a poppy, but again you’ll struggle to prove that his bosses are sniggering quietly at having put one over him. The last time I checked, Liverpool FC hadn’t been owned by an Orangeman for over a century.

    “seems a bit of coercion going on throughout the media that you cannot, cannot appear without putting a poppy on.”
    You mean like Dara O’Brian on BBC 1 last night who must have sneakily whipped his off as he sat on Christine Bleakely’s couch? I think Graham Norton did wear one, but of course he’s only a west Brit.

    You guys are so precious, you make Derrymen look stoical