It’s not ‘poppy fascism’ but setting a good example

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Channel 4 news presenter Jon Snow has been in the news lately over his refusal to wear a poppy. In fact, he’s gone as far as saying that this pressure on him to wear the poppy is ‘poppy fascism’. Snow wants to wear his poppy only on remembrance Sunday and reckons it is not necessary for him to wear it whilst on television. He has the right to choose and he’s choosing not to.

Well, I beg to differ. If you are going to be on television, viewed by thousands of people across Britain, then yes, you should wear a poppy. It’s not a question of bowing to pressure from the public and letting people take away his poppy freedom, it is about the fact that he is a public figure, and should be setting a good example. He should accept his responsibility of being seen as knowledgeable, respectable man and pin a poppy on his jacket when he reads the news, in the hope that others might do the same. Wearing a poppy in such a public sphere does not show disrespect or make a travesty out of those we are commemorating, but instead shows that where ever we are, and whatever we’re doing, for just a couple of days a year, we should think about the people that have put their lives on the line in service to their country. We should happily wear our poppies as a symbol of pride.

This whole poppy fascism fiasco got me thinking a bit more about celebrities and public figures wearing poppies, and just a few clicks away I find a picture of the nations sweetheart, Cheryl Cole sporting a Swarovski crystal encrusted poppy as she sat at the Judges panel on the X Factor last week. Far from the spare change you donate to buy the paper poppies from the Poppy Appeal, these pimped out poppies will set you back £84.99. At first this picture got me annoyed. It portrayed the idea that your average paper poppy is no good for likes of Ms Cole and unlike us mere mortals, she must wear one covered in jewels. Surely this is just her saying your ordinary poppy isn’t cool enough? But, after I got over my initial anger I had to hand it to her, at least she’s wearing one. And when you think about it, Cheryl Cole reaches an audience that may never have considered wearing a poppy before they saw her with one. When it comes down to it, the fact that she’s wearing one, even if it is a bit over the top, shows she has some respect.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that whether you’ve spent 50p or £50 on your poppy, the money that you’ve spent, and the belief you’re representing by wearing it, is an honourable way to say thank you to the many many men and women that have died in conflict for our sake. Not wearing one, like Mr Snow, isn’t a clever way of telling the world that you have a right to choose, instead, all you end up doing is making yourself out to be an ungrateful idiot.

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3 Comments

  1. I’ve got to say, I couldn’t disagree more.

    I’m with Jon Snow. You don’t have to wear a paper poppy in order to show support – not to this cause, and not to any. Choosing to not sport a poppy does not mean you are against what the poppy represents; it simply means that you choose not to broadcast your thoughts with the rest of the world. There is such a ridiculous mob mentality surrounding Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday each year, whereby to not be wearing a cheap paper poppy is seen as unpatriotic – a betrayal even. It’s judgemental and ignorant.

    I never wear a poppy. Every year I place my donation in the collection box, but I leave the poppy where it is. I observe the 11 o’clock silence. I remember those who have fallen. And I also remember that those fallen soldiers gave their lives to preserve the freedom that I enjoy as a British citizen, a freedom shared by millions throughout the land, and the very same freedom that grants me the right to choose whether or not I wear a symbolic piece of red paper on my lapel.

    And as for Miss Cole; I would prefer to see the entire nation go poppy-less than to witness a spread of the vain and deluded behaviour she has displayed. She has turned a symbol of remembrance into a fashion statement.

    Give your money, take your poppy or leave it, and remember in your own way.

    That is what it is, and always should be, about.

  2. When there is no freedom of choice, it does sound like fascism to me.

  3. @DonQ How can Cheryl Cole turn the poppy into a fashion statement when a poppy is pretty much a textbook definition of a fashion statement?

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