Don't Let 'Poppy Fascism' Sway You

Television newsreader Jon Snow has been swamped with complaints to channel 4 television that he is not wearing a poppy. In response, he has condemned 'poppy fascists'.

Snow said he never wears any symbols on television to preserve his editorial independence and neutrality. In the newsroom blog he cites the existence of the 'poppy fascists' who have made all the complaints about him this year.

Do you wear a poppy for Remembrance? Millions do, and millions don't. The-Latest welcomes your views.Ninety-one years ago John McRae wrote this war poem:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep,
though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

In 1921 the poppy was adopted as the symbol for Poppy Day, raising over  £100,000 for the social work of the Royal British Legion.

Roy Terry, 74, was collecting for the Pitsea and Vange branch at Sainsburys superstore when he was pushed from behind by a thief who grabbed his collection box from a table. The pensioner scrambled to his feet and gave chase, but the yob escaped on a bicycle. Terry injured his knee and arm when he fell giving chase. There may have been  £100 in the box.

Over in Hainault, Lillian Rood, 85, was ejected from the Tube Station where she has collected for the poppies for as long as anyone can remember. Lillian is the formidable chairman of the local branch. She went to head office and got her usual pitch back.

I don't wear a poppy. There are several reasons why. My not wearing a poppy, however, is not a slur on the dead or an insult to those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. I respect and am grateful to every one of them. They died so that we are free to choose for ourselves whether or not we wear one of the things. If the poppy fascists get their way and we all are forced to wear them that will certainly be a slur on all the fallen and maimed.

My grandad wore no medals or poppies. He would have nothing of them. He was a first world war hero with a DCM. He went into the war an ignorant, innocent boy taking the first opportunity in his life to escape poverty, his village and his limited horizons and emerged a life long pacifist.

I don't wear a poppy to continue his stance.

I had an art teacher who was badly burned when his ww2 plane was shot into fire and he lost his right arm that day. My early school days were a parade of disfigured men who survived the wars and were retrained as teachers. They were the saddest spectacle you could imagine.

Shopping in Leicester, there used to be a handly little alleyway between Marks and Spencers and Lewises and people went from one shop to the other via the facing doors. I remember the first war veteran who was reduced to begging every day for his living in that alleyway playing his little concertina and singing patriotic songs. He had to beg until the day he died. He never wore a poppy because he did not feel that the country remembered him. Well I have, and I don't wear the poppy to honour all the men who were reduced to begging.

And I don't wear the poppy because the Royal British Legion do not allow gay groups to take part in the Cenotaph service.

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.


See also 'Where were all the poppies', The-Latest columnists


1 Response to "Don't Let 'Poppy Fascism' Sway You"

chris's picture


Sat, 11/11/2006 - 16:39
<p><strong><u>Chris Gaynor</u></strong></p> I wear a poppy - it is a symbol of freedom, and is the one good thing that shows us humanity. It should be a duty that everyone wears one to commemorate the millions that died to save us from fascism and nazism