To which I say: Gaaaaaaahh.
OK, in the first instance.
I mean, here’s my beef. I know the poppy has become something of a National Front thing. It’s the Daily Mail’s fault. You get one idiotic militant burning a cardboard flower and all hell breaks loose. All of a sudden, there’s an epidemic of anti-white racism. The paedophile-worshipping lunatics are taking over the asylum. They’re all claiming benefits and pleading human rights when we try to deport them. They want to destroy us all. Before you know it the country’s adopted Sharia law and they’re building a bonfire and throwing on copies of the King James.
None of this is actually happening, of course, outside a few isolated cases that are grabbed up by the gutter press and established as the norm. There is no secret plot to destroy our community spirit and force everyone to convert to Islam, any more than there’s a left-wing conspiracy to indoctrinate our children into under-age homosexual relations with the Tatchell brigade. Half of the stories are made up, and forty five per cent are exaggerated. The rest are probably true, but they only make the headlines precisely because of their anomalous nature; it is one thing to report on the idiocy of a minority, but another to tell people that this is a pandemic that is only going to get worse. (A popular phrase, for example, is that “Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims”, which is simply not true.)
The net result of this is that you have a culture where the poppy becomes a symbol of defiance against a supposed hatred that doesn’t actually exist. You burn our poppies? Fine, we’ll wear ’em with pride and dignity and WE DON’T CARE IF YOU’RE OFFENDED. This wouldn’t be a problem except that I’ve not met anyone – seriously, anyone – who was actually offended by the adoption of the poppy as an act of remembrance. I’ve met plenty of people who choose not to do it, but no one who’s ever actually made a fuss about other people doing it.
Perhaps I just walk in the wrong circles. I live in a predominantly WASP community, although we have our share of Eastern Europeans and minorities. I’ve never felt intimidated or marginalised, but from what I gather in my conversations with people online this can happen quite a bit depending on your postcode. So perhaps I have a blinkered view. Nonetheless, it strikes me that to start a war over this is bloody ridiculous, because the whole point of the poppy is to remember those who fought so that we no longer have to.
I don’t wear a poppy, but that’s largely because I never get round to buying one. That’s a democratic right, and has nothing to do with any political stand. It doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about the dead, or observing the two-minute silence. It doesn’t mean I wouldn’t drop a few coppers into a British Legion tin outside Wilkinsons. It’s not about principle. I just don’t do it. Nor will I accept that it’s any sort of ‘duty’ I have. Nor do I accept that you should ‘wear your poppy with pride’, because then it just becomes about beating the Hun, rather than commemorating the dead.
At the same time, and at the other end of the spectrum, all these people complaining about Poppy Facism? Seriously. Grow a spine.