For some who aren’t even Irish, it’s becoming ” poppy fascism”

An interesting take by the Guardian on the crescendo of poppyness as Remembrance Sunday approaches..

“An observer from another planet might suppose tomorrow’s Remembrance Day ceremonies would at the least be tinged with anger, and might provoke bitter protest. They will not, of course, despite the growing protests of some soldiers’ families. That is no thanks to the dubious new interpretation of remembrance that is evident in the stridency with which poppy-wearing by celebrities and newsreaders and X-factor judges is policed, and by campaigns in some newspapers to make leading football clubs wear embroidered poppies on their shirts. The appetite for public emotion is threatening to turn the act of remembrance into a symbol of conformity, a kind of alternative national flag. The obvious argument against this is that conformity robs it of its real meaning.”

The grass roots nature of the poppy appeal shouldn’t be exaggerated. An emblem adopted by the “Earl Haig Fund,” named after the controversial C-in-C who fed the mincing machine of the Western Front isn’t exactly dissident, while it remains voluntary. Not for the first time, Channel 4 ‘s Jon Snow calls the fairly recent convention for TV presenters “poppy fascism.” BTW Wearing poppies on BBC NI is not compulsory, as Fionnuala O’Connor claimed in an otherwise well nuanced piece recently in the Irish Times. It’s just that during the poppy wearing period, anyone not wishing to do so won’t appear. Ok , it’s a fine distinction, but what else can they do? As Sarah Smith says in that piece about Jon Snow, not wearing a poppy has become more of a statement than wearing one- even I suspect, in the public sphere in Northern Ireland.

  • Drumlins Rock

    As someone who has always wore a poppy I do not want to see it become a political football, its use or not use should be a personal matter, and length of time worn too, the week coming up to remembrance Sunday should be sufficient, and even then not everywhere all the time, as for the Irish question, would it not be possible for a fund to be established in the Republic to support ex servicemen there and the money donated for the poppies can go towards them?

  • Glensman

    The above comment is the most sensible that poster has ever typed. I agree totally.

    I will Never wear a poppy- but if someone else wants to I think they should tear away at it, without forcing it upon others as the Daily Mail are currently doing.

  • i always lost it after the 3rd day of wear. so now i don’t bother.

  • GavBelfast

    Agree with all of that, Drumlin’s Rock.

    It’s about tolerance and respect.

  • 6countyprod

    I only wear a poppy on Remembrance Day itself. My grandfather fought in both World Wars and two uncles served in WW2 to ensure that we didn’t have to live under Fascism. Trust self-loathing liberals to corrupt the meaning and importance of poppy wearing.

  • kensei

    Ok , it’s a fine distinction, but what else can they do?

    Allow them not to wear it? Is this too radical?

  • picador

    Poppy wearing on the BBC starts in mid-October. It should be confined to the week before Remembrance Sunday.

  • George

    Drumlin’s Rock,
    the British Legion looks after British ex-servicemen and women who are from the Republic. They have an office in Dublin so that’s covered in your poppy donation.

    Otherwise, you could always give a donation to Óglaigh Náisiúnta Na hÉireann Teoranta for those who served with the Irish Army.

    Or else, you could be of the view that soldiers are murderers and give nothing to either.

  • The most bizarre thing about the Mail’s point of view is that it cheapens the very meaning of the symbol by almost coercing people into wearing it.

  • Wear a white poppy!

  • lula

    Drumlins Rock, I guess the “Irish equivalent” is this: http://url.ie/2t1i – though of course that’s quite new and the poppy has a history of being worn south of the border too. Like Goerge says the British Legion operates in the Republic too. And with, what 1 out of every 6 new recruits to the British army coming from the Republic (and rising every year) the number of veterans they serve is sure to rise in coming years. You could also give money to Organisation of National Ex-Servicemen, if that was your bag, but for me both of these miss the point.

    Personally, I had always been taught to *remember* Armistice Day – an experience I have in common colleagues from the Continent. The poppy – whatever it’s origin – has been turned into a British nationalist symbol. And as a nationalist symbol it’s the worst kind. Rarely are such symbols (which Irish nationalist has also) bad for what they represent (Armbistice Day is something I and other Europeans respect too). They are bad for the compulsion to wear them, the silencing effect they has, the conformity they demands, the jingoism are corrupted into celebrating, and the contortions they make out of history.

    The British nationalist experience of Armistice Day is an alienating experience for me. In contract to the common European experience of Armistice Day that I am more akin with share a common experience with. And that for me really ruins the significance of Armistice Day, it turns it into nationalist show casing, rather than genuinely remembering the loss, suffering, destruction, valour and lesson of the Great War (and the Second World War too).

  • lula

    … all of the above is of course probably very different from the inside (as with shows of Irish nationalism that are alienating to “outsiders”) – that is just the view from the outside.

  • joeCanuck

    From today’s Irish Times:

    Thousands of Irish soldiers killed in both World Wars will be honoured at a cross-Border commemoration service in Co Louth today.

    Ex-service groups from both sides of the Border will stand shoulder to shoulder and pay tribute to the war dead at the only all-Ireland remembrance event on the island.
    …..

    As the last post is sounded and the traditional two-minute silence observed traditional Royal British Legion Poppy wreaths will be laid next to the tricolour wreaths of the Organisation of National Ex-servicemen (ONE).

    ….

  • Trev

    What part of it “wearing poppies on BBCNI is not compulsory” do you not understand?

    Perhaps the default setting of ‘offended’ is too difficult to get past?

  • Reggie

    Jon Snow is a pretty typical London leftie. The surprise would be if he were to wear a poppy.

    From his silly ties to his even sillier socks the man is a complete twat. He is to smugness what Hughie Green was to sincerity.

  • Greenflag

    Enough of poppies now -Lets move along to the shamrock now lads or do we have to wait until March ? Compulsory wearing of the green will now start a week before St Patrick’s Day and any and all who appear on TV from Dustin the Turkey to the Weather Forecast man and all guests on the Late Late will be ‘forced ‘ to wear the Shamrock 😉

    Drumlin Rock makes the right noise – A week before and a couple of days after should be enough .As for ‘forced’ wearing on the Beeb -not a good idea apart from perhaps the day itself Remembrance Day . Forced is probably too stron a word – Persuaded -herded into – don’t be the nail that sticks out – kind of thing .?

    Anyway the important thing to bear in mind is the raising of funds for the surviving veterans to help them live out their lives in some dignity .
    The dead are gone but the memory of them lives on in their families and surely that is justification enough for poppy day ? or any other day of remembrance ?

  • Under-35

    Hughie who…?

    😉

  • Greenflag

    joe canuck ,

    ‘.As the last post is sounded and the traditional two-minute silence observed traditional Royal British Legion Poppy wreaths will be laid next to the tricolour wreaths of the Organisation of National Ex-servicemen (ONE).’

    My Dad was in the O.N.E and I know were he alive today he would have approved of this ceremony and most probably gone to it .

  • Doctor Who

    kensei

    “Allow them not to wear it? Is this too radical?”

    For gods sake Kensei put your quid in the box, you miserable sod.

  • Malcolm Belfast

    A symbol of an army that brought slaughter across the planet. No thanks.

  • ciaran

    Trev, so it is not compulsory but you will not be shown on tv if you don,t wear it,what is the difference exactly?

  • McNutty

    Last year I had to upbraid a (presumably) Northern unionist student who, while chatting to a mate, proudly pointed to his poppy and said: ‘I hope some RC c*nt gives me gip about this so I can set the twat right.’ Wrong reason for wearing.
    Between the Mail, the Shinners, the BBC and all points in between this has become yet another tedious means of division.
    Surely this is an issue of personal belief and not national coercion. Let me decide to wear one, force me to, and you can hump off.

  • The white poppies are available from the Peace Pledge Union.

  • igor

    Why is it not compulsory to wear a poppy on the BBC?

    Its the British national broadcaster. It should be compulsory. If that offends the conscience of a broadcaster then they have a choice. Their sacrifice for their principles will be small compared to what those the poppy commemorates gave up.

  • igor

    ” Last year I had to upbraid a (presumably) Northern unionist student”

    …. was it pinned to the sash he wore hidden under his jacket? Was he strangling Catholic babies at the same time?

  • Fabianus

    I never wear a poppy. I pop a pound or two in the box and say “no thanks, keep it for the next person”.

    Same goes for all flag days. I hate to spoil my lapel with pins or adhesive. (Those who don’t actually own a garment with lapels probably won’t understand this.)

  • Reader

    ciaran: Trev, so it is not compulsory but you will not be shown on tv if you don,t wear it,what is the difference exactly?
    So, like 99% of BBC staff, they can get paid but don’t appear on TV? And it lasts a week?
    It is not compulsory…

  • Gerry Mander

    Where does the money go? Such a huge rip off. As regards Elizabrit wearing one, her father grew up speaking German.

    Multiculturalism my arse.

  • ciaran

    reader, 99% of bbc staff are not employed to appear on screen, those that are should be allowed to appear regardless of wether or not they are wearing a poppy. If they are not allowed on screen without a poppy then surely that is , in practice, compulsory attire. I would rather my license fee was better used.

  • Fabianus

    ciaran

    I would rather my license fee was better used.

    So would I. The BBC is all about show, as one would expect from a popular medium. Yet the sight of every Tom, Dick and Ant sporting a poppy these last weeks is disturbing.

    I don’t trust them. The insincerity is almost tangible. It’s a sham. Perhaps a handful of the presenters and others wear the poppy for the right reasons but I suspect most don’t.

    The whole thing is a little unseemly and I do hope somebody will take heed and tone down the charade for 2010.

  • borderline

    Brian Walker poses the question:

    “BTW Wearing poppies on BBC NI is not compulsory, as Fionnuala O’Connor claimed in an otherwise well nuanced piece recently in the Irish Times. It’s just that during the poppy wearing period, anyone not wishing to do so won’t appear. Ok , it’s a fine distinction…”

    I’ve read some disingenous crap on this site but that beats the band, Banagher and the Devil.

    O’Connor’s article wasn’t “well-nuanced” enough for you Brian, even though it’s a “fine distinction”.

    The plain-speaking son of Ulster continues…

    “.., but what else can they do?”

    I’ll tell you what they could do Brian. They could rescind their compulsory poppy rule.

  • Brit

    “Jon Snow is a pretty typical London leftie”

    No hes a pretty typical upper class English radical/contrarian a la Tony Benn.

    A typical London leftie is someone who fought the Moselyites on Cable Street, or fought the Wehrmacht during WW2, a trade Unionist and labour Party member. Like me the vast majority of such people are Poppy wearers.

  • borderline

    Jesus,

    a typical London leftie is one who fought Mosely.

    Don’t want to be ageist but I’d consider recruiting if I were you, Brit.

  • Brit

    Quite funny Borderline.

    The point I was making is that there are plenty of decent working class and middle class Labour Party members and Trade Unionists who fall within the description of London lefties and who would proudly wear a poppy.

    I think of my best mates Dad, a working class Jew from the East End, Labour Party member thoroughtly decent bloke and not afraid of a punch up if it came to it.

    This sort of person is a world away from the Labour government hating, organic food eating, MMR vacine avoiding, scientifically illiterate, irritating upper middle class Guardian / Independent reading trendy, new-left, “radicals” who despise the working class and particularly the white workign class whom they regard as, at best, chavs, and at worst reactionaries and racists. These are the sorts I would imagine wearing white poppies.