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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.