Nov 112023

I don’t usually wear one of those red poppies – not out of a lack of respect for the war dead or veterans of wars, but because of “poppy fascism“. It’s all very well choosing to wear the red poppy, but it should also be fine to choose not to wear the red poppy – even the Royal British Legion supports those who don’t choose to wear it: “If the poppy became compulsory it would lose its meaning and significance.”

Just look at the abuse those in the public eye who choose not to wear it receive.

And some of the reasons for not wearing it are perfectly reasonable – some politicians do use it as a means of promoting war and nationalism. Distasteful in the extreme. And very much associated with the far-right – the very kind of people many of the war dead were fighting against.

On the other hand, some of the reasons for not wearing it can sometimes seem inappropriate. It’s all very well being against some of Britain’s wars and even against some of the actions of British soldiers (such as Bloody Sunday), but the poppy is about remembering the war dead and veterans. A group who very rarely had any choice about where they were sent.

Nov 122011

The people of the UK (and indeed other places) are garlanded with poppies in remembrance of the soldiers who have lost their lives in the wars of the past and present. It is easy to get distracted by the politicians, the large ceremonies, and get confused about the purpose of the poppy and Remembrance Day. It is not about the glorification of war, or a bone thrown by the establishment – it is very much a grass roots thing better shown by local ceremonies.

Those local ceremonies in villages up and down the land involve a few old veterans laying wreathes of poppies at local war memorials built to commemorate the fallen from the local community. A few local dignitaries get involved too, but the ceremonies have little to do with them – they would take place even without them.

One of my favourite war memorials illustrates the point. Close to where my parents live is a small memorial :-


It isn’t a grand memorial – most villages have far more dramatic ones built in stone. But it was put up after World War I by the local community in remembrance not of the local people who had died but for the millions of men that the local community had seen march through the village on the way to the port of Southampton before departing for the front-line in France.

Whilst a cursory check of the history of Remembrance Day would seem to indicate that it was all a government thing, a deeper look indicates that whilst the establishment was involved, some of the initiatives were started by what were effectively ordinary people, and it was supported by the public at large.


As anyone who has been watching the news the last week knows, FIFA initially prohibited the England and Wales football teams from wearing the poppy during this weekend’s international fixtures but later backtracked from this under pressure from a variety of sources.

FIFAs initial ban on the poppy looks like gross foolishness, and indeed to a certain extent it is. But any organisation like FIFA is likely to be conservative and slow-moving in relation to making decisions about their rules, and you do have to wonder why the people wanting to start wearing poppies on their team strips during a football game left it until the last minute to query whether wearing poppies was ok.

FIFAs rules on emblems of a political or religious nature are probably quite sensible, and whilst the poppy is neither it would be sensible to allow for plenty of time to persuade FIFA that it should be allowed. A year would not be an unreasonable amount of time. Yet the England and Wales football teams only recently decided that they wanted to wear poppies on the field – this is a new thing and not something traditional.

You do have to think that FIFA has been treated a little unkindly over the last week.

Remembrance Day And Remembrance Sunday

It is strange how things change over time. When Remembrance Day was new, it was the main day for remembrance although not a public holiday. When I was growing up, the closest Sunday to Remembrance Day was called Remembrance Sunday and that was the main day for remembrance with Remembrance Day itself being a much quieter affair.

Today, the pendulum seems to be swinging back in favour of Remembrance Day rather than Remembrance Sunday. Of course the Sunday events are still far bigger, but Remembrance Day seems to be getting more and more attention every year. It is time to consider making Remembrance Day a public holiday so we can remember the dead on the real anniversary.

Oct 202009

Now we all know that the BNP are the lowest form of scum in the political cesspool … even low and putrid enough that they cause other politicians to feel nauseous. But in a long history of astonishing ineptitude and a quality of thought that would bring shame to any self-respecting cockroach, they have managed a piece of grossly offensive stupidity. They are using various military images to promote their pathetic and ridiculous creed. One of the images used is the that of a spitfire which previously caused a row in early 2009. In addition the BNP have tried to lay claim to the British Legion’s poppy symbol which is also pretty offensive.

The opposition to the BNP using military images comes initially from some old generals. Now I’m hardly a fan of the British military and I’m certainly not normally on their side. But they’re definitely right – using the military images to inflate the BNPs “Britishness” is definitely wrong. And offensively wrong given that many of those involved in the British military (including the WWII military!) were not the kind of people that the BNP would approve of. Personally I’d say there’s a lot to be said to being the kind of person that the BNP would not approve of – after all there is no chance that anyone would mistake you for being one of them!

The BNP would have you believe that the immigration “issue” of today is comparable to the attempted invasion by the Axis forces in WWII. This is preposterous in numerous ways and shows pretty well that the members of the BNP are at best woefully and dangerously delusional. First of all, an invasion is vastly different to a migration; in fact an invasion does not even require permanent residence for many of the invasion force. Even more an invasion is a rejection of our society and standards whereas a migration is an acceptance of the same (the migrant might change his or her mind later on).

Secondly the war against the Axis forces was not simply defeating an attempted invasion of Britain. It was bigger by far than that. The war started before the attempted invasion and went on long after the invasion was turned back. It was very much the realisation that the cancerous beliefs of fascism could not be tolerated and that defeating fascism was of sufficient value that the masters of capitalism felt that allying ourselves with the “evil communists” was the lesser of two evils. Whilst Nick Griffin is no more than the palest shadow of a buffoon alongside someone like Hitler, and the BNP are similarly shown to be inadequate alongside the Nazi party, they are very much cut from the same mould.

Nick Griffin and his mindless thugs (look at their criminal records sometime) would be very happy in a world where Britain had been defeated by Nazi Germany. After all they could persecute their favourite ethnic minorities in any way they wished.

Comparing the “struggle” against immigration to the struggle against fascism and Nazi Germany is a slap in the face of every veteran who fought in WWII.

I notice that the BNP website today still shows :-

  • A red poppy (pah!)
  • A photograph of a spitfire (perhaps not the same photo they used in early 2009 which was flown by a Polish pilot)
  • And a picture of Churchill.

I somehow doubt that Churchill or his descendants would be too pleased about his image being used to popularise the BNP scum. The funny thing is that this great British leader may not have been quite British enough to be allowed to join the BNP – his mother was American and there is a chance that her descendants include Iroquois and/or Jews (neither of which are any form of “stain” of course), and considering his father came from the British aristocracy was likely to be not quite so British as the BNP would like. If you read the BNPs constitution, the clause concerning membership (quite possibly to be removed shortly) restricts membership to a wide variety of different “folk” people (indicating a rather confused grasp on British history), but excludes various proto-French ethnic groupings which could well exclude Churchill (at which he breathes a huge sigh of relief, or would if he could).

The BNPs big “thing” is race. They might well appear on TV or in other forms of media campaigning on other issues, but it’s still written large in their constitution that they want to return Britian to some pre-1948 mythical “white” utopia. Well first of all, the whole white thing is a bit mythical in itself – it’s only when you look at us from a distance that we look white; look a bit closer and you start to see differences (English, Welsh, Scottish, etc.). Secondly Britain has long been a home to people whose ancestors weren’t European.

And it is doubtful that the proto-English that the BNP want us all to revert to were all that concerned about “racial purity”. The Saxon warlord who defeated the last Celtic king around these parts, and went on to found the House of Wessex was called “Cerdic”. His name indicates that his ancestry included some Celtic blood somewhere (the most popular theory was that his mother was Celtic) in addition to his Saxon blood. For the benefit of those whose history is as poor as the BNPs most undoubtedly is, this “House of Wessex” later went on to unite the newly formed kingdom of England – the most important Saxons of the “Anglo-Saxon” peoples.

And now that I’m been writing of the BNP, I’m in urgent need of a long, hot cleansing bath to take away the stench.