Friday, 4 November 2016

I don't buy the poppy propaganda. I won't be wearing one on my lapel

Writing was never a career choice for me and yet here I am doing it. I have no illusions about being better at it than anyone else and I have no Booker prize ambitions. What drives me to write/blog about the world around me is something much more rudimentary. A combination of knowing I have things to say that are not being said by anyone else. That, due to working for so many years with people’s pain (as a therapist), often inflicted by short-sighted, vote grabbing policies, my opinion is at least as well informed as that of career “commentators”. And, wanting to put ethics at the heart of journalism where the marginalised are given a voice and the dissenting view is heard.

Once in a while someone says something that I wanted to say and does it so eloquently and rigorously, covering all the bases, that there’s nothing left for me to add. Robert Fisk did that yesterday in his article about poppies being the symbol of racism. I had worked on a similar piece for a week but wasn’t brave enough to press the send button. Like Fisk, The poppy on the lapel has always made me feel uncomfortable. I have never worn one & I never will. So much betrayal, hypocrisy, incompetence and deception, packaged up & marketed as something so sanitised & simplistic, it feels sinister. Never more so than in xenophobic, Brexit Britain.  

As Fisk so powerfully put it:

The Entente Cordiale which sent my father to France is now trash beneath the high heels of Theresa May – yet this wretched woman dares to wear a poppy.

When Poles fought and died alongside British pilots in the 1940 Battle of Britain to save us from Nazi Germany, we idolised them, lionised them, wrote about their exploits in the RAF, filmed them, fell in love with them. For them, too, we pretend to wear the poppy. But now the poppy wearers want to throw the children of those brave men out of Britain. Shame is the only word I can find to describe our betrayal.

That’s a hard act to follow, so I’ll keep my powder dry for another day. I give way to the unapologetic, angry, truth exposed by the magnificent Robert Fisk. 

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