Saturday, November 11, 2006

Poppycock claims that white poppies are more Christian than red...

Good to see the new Deepings Garden of Remembrance adorned with poppies this weekend.
It’s appropriate that the communities of Market Deeping and Deeping St James should work together to mark Remembrance Sunday – and have an open display where it can be appreciated by as many people as possible – not tucked away in a corner of a churchyard as happened for too many years.

This year’s poppy appeal seems to have provoked more controversy and news stories than usual. We’ve had everything from daft claims that it’s more Christian to wear a white poppy than a red one, to complaints of “poppy fascism” from a TV presenter who refuses to wear a poppy of any colour on air.

This morning, I read of a Welsh priest who angered his flock by refusing to read out names of those in his community who gave their lives in the First World War.

The white versus red poppy debate has been around since the 1930s. To me, those who condemn the white poppy brigade miss the whole point of Remembrance Day.

It is an act of Thanksgiving to those who fought for our freedom. Freedom to choose. I wouldn’t know where to buy a white poppy if I wanted one. But I don’t believe that a white one is more Christian than a red one and frankly I don’t care.

Call me politically correct, but personally, I’m proud to wear a red poppy to mark the sacrifice others have made in service to our nation – both much-loved family members and millions unknown to me. It’s a sacrifice I’ve fortunately never been called on to make.

Red poppies seem most appropriate to me as the symbol of the change from war to peace as marked by the millions of red poppies that covered the Flanders Fields after peace was finally declared in 1918 after four years of trench carnage. The Royal British Legion first adopted the poppy after an American sold real red poppies in 1921 to raise money for injured soldiers of the First World War.

Red is my choice. But I’ll defend the right of anyone to wear a poppy coloured red, white, or sky-blue with polka dots.

Or no poppy at all.

Jon Snow revealed on his weblog that he wears a poppy and marks Remembrance Day in private, but resents what he calls “poppy fascism” so refuses to wear one on air.

Closer to home, BBC Radio Lincolnshire have published CCTV pictures of the thief who nicked the collection box from the reception of their studios in Lincoln and station manager Charlie Partridge went on Look North to declare his outrage.

Football is even doing its bit for the poppy appeal this year. Southampton FC played their game against Sunderland today in special Saints shirts embroidered with poppies to be auctioned off – unwashed to prove their authenticity – to raise money for the poppy appeal.

Personally, I’m disappointed there hasn’t been much – if any – media coverage this weekend to remember the 300+ British soldiers shot at dawn in the First World War who were granted an official pardon this week by the Government – in time to be mentioned at this year’s Acts of Remembrance.

But that's their choice...


Anonymous said...

Could you please ask Phil Kemp why he wore a white poppy on armistice day last year.
The royal British Legion were not impressed and asked that , as Mayor, he did not attend this years service. Your thoughts please..................

fairdealphil said...


I'm aware that Phil Kemp is standing for election as a Labour district councillor in Skegness and that the Tories are desperately trying to blacken his name.

I'm sorry you choose to make anonymous comments against him and don't appear to have the courage of your convictions to stand up and be counted.

If what you say is true, it is sad that the Skegness Legion snubbed their Mayor over a white poppy, particularly as the Royal British Legion nationally has no problem with white poppies.

This from yesterday's Independent newspaper:

The Royal British Legion insists it does not promote the view that not wearing the scarlet tribute to the fallen was somehow socially unacceptable.

Stuart Gendall, its spokesman, said:

"…What you wear is a matter of choice, the Legion doesn't have a problem whether you wear a red one or a white one, both or none at all. It is up to you…"

Here's the link to the full article: