Wednesday, November 22, 2017

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Once Again The Red Poppy Thought Police Are On The Rampage 

Mick Hall with a piece from last month on the imposition of the poppy.

In a sea of red poppies the white peace poppy

Once again the yearly red poppy charade of concern for the UK’s military war dead and wounded is upon us.

Those who appear on British TV are pressurized to wear one. I noticed a character in the Soap Eastenders is even wearing one. Given the programme would have been recorded six weeks ago it shows the pressure to wear the red poppy the programme makers are under.

Professional footballers have them stitched into their shirts and woe betide if they refuse to wear them. When a couple of years ago Ireland international Jimmy McClean refused to wear a remembrance day poppy it created a media frenzy against him.

Never mind he hails from Derry and his reasoning was perfectly understandable as he said at the time: “For those in Derry, scene of the 1972 Bloody Sunday massacre, the poppy has come to mean something very different.”

McClean grew up on the Creggan estate in Derry, where six of the people killed on Bloody Sunday lived. He has since said he would wear the poppy if it was restricted to honouring only soldiers who died in the World Wars, many of whom were Irish. He will not wear one for the British government's imperialist adventures and occupation of Irish streets

What the above demonstrates is whenever the British military goes to war jingoism raises its ugly head in it's wake, and common sense and personal choice goes out the door. The ruling class obsession with wearing the red poppy is an extension of that, nothing more nothing less. As to was Cameron's decision to celebrate the years of WW1.

Whether you wear one or not, the ‘Red Poppy,’ and those like the British Legion and the Tory government who stand behind it glorify war in all its putridity. It's bad enough the ‘red poppy’ emerged after WW1 as a front for a charitable organisation, when the government of the day had all but forgotten the military victims of the Great War, preferring instead to build a mini Cenotaph in every city, town and village while the needs of the veterans were all but ignored.

It's a national disgrace such a charity still exists today to help meet the needs of members of the military who have some form of disability, etcetera, due to having served in Britain's many wars and illegal military interventions overseas.

The UK treats its ex-servicemen and women in a shabby way compared with how the USA, and other north European countries treat their own when they leave the service.

If these men and women are held in such high regard in the UK, as the media suggests, then the State and the politicians who sent them to war should provide services which meet their every need.

This ‘charity status' sends out all the wrong messages about warfare and the responsibility of government to look after those who have served them in the military. Over the last two decades British government's have spends many billions of pounds fighting what most of us now regard as unnecessary wars. But when it comes to looking after military widows, the wounded and veterans in need, it tells us they must partially rely on the charity of the collecting tin. Shameful hardly begins to describe it.

At this time of year the mainstream media churns out countless articles demanding we have a duty to support the British Legion and fill its collecting tins. We're told the red poppy is not a badge of militarism, but a token of the bond between the living and the dead. As one Tory propagandist put it "a collective expression of gratitude to those who served and to those who fell."

The men and women from these islands who had their lives stolen in warfare did not fall, they didn't trip over a kerb or pothole the council had forgotten to fill in. They were killed violently in an armed conflict often in the most appalling manner and not of their choosing.* Why is it those who support the red poppy seem unable to state this simply truth.

One of these gallant scribes who write so heroically about Britain's past wars, never having been within the sound of gunfire or the whiff of cordite, wrote justifying Britain's involvement in WW1:

The pre war belligerence of Germany, the Napoleonic ambition of Kaiser Wilhelm II, and his desire for continental hegemony were such that it is hard to envisage a peaceful resolution to these tensions would have looked like. Britain’s fear of a radically enlarged German navy roaming the North Sea and French ports was real, and justified.

And after this he still claims this was not a war about imperialist expansion which was fought by the majority to benefit the few. * As far as his type are concerned it was OK for the British Empire to have hegemony over millions of people across the world and control of the seas, but if another nation claims the same right there is no alternative but war.

Is it any wonder the British media has become the main cheerleader for ever more military interventions overseas? From the British empire to the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq which set the middle east ablaze.

The best thing we could do today is stop sending the UK military overseas to engage in hopeless wars which have nothing to do with national security; that cost a fortune of taxpayers coinage and which bring absolutely no benefit to the ordinary people of the UK, and which tragically have costs far too many people their lives within the military and the ordinary citizenry.

As Alex Snowdon wrote on this subject:

In so many ways, remembrance is about the present and the future not just the past. Those who rule over us know it all too well. Their fetishisation of the whole business is in many ways a symptom of their weakness. We should be clear and unambiguous in offering an alternative vision of the past, present and future. We should politely but firmly, say no to the obligatory wearing of a red poppy and explain why, and defend those who are attacked for not complying with the enforced style of ‘commemoration’.

* In WW1 conscription was introduced in January 1916, targeting single men aged 18-41. Within a few months World War 1 conscription was rolled out for married men.

White Poppies Are For Peace

The idea of decoupling Armistice Day , the red poppy and later Remembrance Day from their military culture dates back to 1926, just a few years after the British Legion was persuaded to try using the red poppy as a fundraising tool in Britain.

Mick Hall blogs @ Organized Rage.


Steve R said...

Spot on article Mick. I wear the poppy to remember those who have died in conflict of whatever hue, but I was unaware of the White Poppy until you brought it up so next time I may wear that instead (if I can find it). Peace is far more important than war.

Niall said...

There was a poll a year or so ago asking people would they be in favour of returning the 'Empire'. Quite a high percentage said yes.
The problem I have with the poll is that it was directed at the wrong people. It should have been directed at Britain's former colonies that consisted of 3rd world countries who went up against rifles and canon with spears. A different response would most likely have been the outcome.
The poppy is an enduring symbol of this brutal past.

Organized Rage said...

Steve R

Thanks for kind words much appreciated.


James Quigley said...

It's hypocritical. It should be about anti war, instead it somehow glorifies it portraying the soldier as hero thus sowing the seed of future soldiers. It perpetuates war. The millions of innocent victims are either forgotten or used as justification for further war.
I believe there is a crowd funded case going on at present in England by families of soldiers killed in Afghanistan. They were sent there by the Government knowing that they were ill equipped for war. Also in many cases soldiers are sent to their deaths on false pretenses.