Why I’m not Wearing a Poppy
by D.J. Webb
Once again the annual row on the wearing of poppies is taking place. The powers that be are against patriotism on principle, although there is considerable contradiction in running a society and not being supportive of it. However, the issue has been rather muddied for me by Britain‘s habit of sending young men abroad into wars that have no conceivable connection to our national interest. I support our soldiers unconditionally, whether the wars are justified or not, as they are British soldiers. I also feel very sorry for those wounded, or killed, in wars staged for the convenience of the liberal elite. But I have not worn a poppy for several years now.
I know many conservatives will be pained to read a short article explaining why a poppy should not be worn. But to my mind, the wearing of a poppy is tokenism at its worst, considerably cheapened by the wearing of poppies by BBC correspondents and members of the political class–in most cases, people who are not remotely interest in Great Britain as a nation-state. I don’t watch television, and so I don’t know if David Cameron has been espied this year wearing a poppy, but I expect he has done so or will be doing so very shortly, and the juxtaposition of that with his decisions to support “the bringing of democracy to Afghanistan“, as well as similar campaigns in other countries, just illustrates to me the false nature of the whole thing. The Queen has often been spotted wearing several poppies at once, which seem to indicate that she is a more important patriot, or has a higher patriotic conscience than most of us. Yet, the whole point of poppies is the support of the nation as a whole for its war dead, and the wearing of outsized poppies or more than one poppy by anyone, including the Queen, is simply inappropriate. In the Queen’s case, as she does sign off on the sending of young men, without proper equipment, into wars that are not for the national interest, her wearing of a poppy is rather to be deprecated. “She has never put a foot wrong”, we are told; but I understand this to mean she has never challenged the liberal elite on anything.
Worst of all for me is the fact that the poppy seeks to depoliticise Britain‘s wars. After the First World War, when “lions were led by donkeys”, an accounting with those who had encouraged an unnecessary war would have been appropriate, including a public explanation by King George V as to why he, as commander-in-chief, had authorised Great Britain‘s joining of the war in the first place. Yet the bringing in of the poppy tradition has encouraged a non-political “commemoration”. What is the point of commemorations if our political class are committed to sending more and more young men abroad into “wars of choice” in the years ahead?
I would not want to show disrespect to Britain‘s war dead, but to me the greatest respect that can be shown is to mount a political discussion of Britain‘s role in the world and whether it should be attempting to remain a military power in the way it is and whether it should be continuing to intervene in distant countries in fatuous attempts to impose democracy. I cannot wear the White Poppy that is used to symbolise peace, as I would support war for the national interest (such as the Falklands War), but not the staging of foreign wars for the political convenience of British leaders where no national interest is at stake.
I welcome the charity work of the Royal British Legion, but why is the RBL not campaigning to stop British military interventions in countries thousands of miles away? What about the fact that Britain today is not the “land fit for heroes” that some people thought they were fighting for in the 1940s? Mass immigration, the state promotion of political causes such as multi-culturalism, feminism and ‘gay’ rights, the stymieing of so much political discussion in the UK by reference to the policy strictures imposed by our membership of the European Union, the way the vast majority of the population is left with a £100 a week state pension while required via the tax system to fund much more generous public-sector equivalents: all these things illustrate how “our glorious dead” died for nothing. If you feel any sorrow over the loss of young lives in foreign jaunts, forget the poppy and start campaigning politically, as otherwise more of our young people will be killed in the name of a political class that cares nothing for them and is rapidly effecting the disintegration of anything positive in British society.