No One Expects The Poppy Police

As Remembrance Sunday draws near, we’re reminded that even paying respects to the dead can become a political football.

As the Anglosphere dons that little red poppy as a sign of respect for those who have fallen in the many wars we have fought as a nation – the just and unjust. Flanders to Normandy to Malaysia to Sarajevo to Stanley to Sierra Leone to Baghdad and Kabul, we mourn the dead, both military and civilian and celebrate the better world we live in due to their sacrifice.

But along with that comes the predicable dross we all have to put up with from every side of the political spectrum. The ever lasting argument between red and white poppies flares up again, with both sides claiming the moral high ground.

Neo Conservatives and militarists will inevitably focus on some minor story from some tiny parish from the middle of no where, as a vicar or councillor or some such politely declines to wear a poppy for whatever reason – the story will be twisted to somehow ‘prove’ of anti British feeling is rife in the country and the Muslims/EU/Immigrants are to be blamed for it.

Politicians are all seen wearing poppies as expected, although I’m tipping George Galloway to make a big deal about not wearing one and the outrage will just start all over again, the most annoying thing for my self however is seeing politicians wearing the larger ones designed for the front of cars or even worse than that – wearing two or three poppies. As if by wearing more or larger poppies somehow makes you sadder and more in touch than those who only wear one.

An ultra nationalist party or group will lay a reef and someone will complain which will send the media into over drive about suppression of political parties or ignoring the will of local residents over the big nasty man in the BNP.

Finally, and by far the most annoying will be the group of left wingers from the near by university having some form of protest, stretching from the fairly safe but moronic burning of poppies reefs to the dangerous and double moronic of shoving bricks into parading soldier’s faces, all the while confident they are in some form fighting imperialism or colonisation. If it’s not the left wingers it’s the tiny group of Muslims morons which in turn swings right back to the totally not racist conservatives screaming that this must be representative of all Muslims because all Muslims are under some form of hive mind – obviously.

For the Northern Irish readers out there, you get the usual unintelligent Loyalists signing about how great the Queen is and how fantastic Britain is (all with in sight of a Bloody Sunday memorial) to antagonise the Irish, while Provos and their supporters living three streets away scream “up the ra” at the top of the lungs to antagonise to the Loyalists. The whole powder keg of hate will exploded when some youth from either side gets too cocky and lobs a stone at a police van. That said, I suppose it’s not different from a normal evening in Northern Ireland. One thing you can count on is there will be tons of flegs (yes, flegs…it’s a thing)

For a time that suppose to be about remembrance and dignified solace, there’s an awful lot of outrage and hate flying about.

Follow Gareth Shanks on twitter @GarethShanks


  1. Not wishing to be the spelling police, however I am guessing you meant “wreath”: as in an assortment of flowers constructed to resemble a ring. Rather than a “reef”: a rock, sandbar or other feature lying beneath the surface of the water? 🙂

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