The Clumpany has noted the return of the vexed issue of whether people should wear a poppy in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday in the UK.
Or rather how wrong they are if they don’t.
I say that because a lot of very judgemental folk seem to take it upon themselves to judge the patriotism/ Britishness/ decency/ humanity/ fitness to do their job of those who choose not to wear one. Especially if the non-wearer happens to be in the public eye.
I have to say that I don’t see anything like a comparable amount of criticism going in the other direction.
The furore seems to raise its red-petalled head earlier (and with ever-more-depressing vehemence) – every year. This year’s outbreak came to my attention yesterday when a Sky News presenter tweeted about a journalist who had appeared on TV without a poppy. I won’t give the person in question the oxygen of publicity by naming them, but their tweet won’t be hard for you to find. In fact, you’ll spot it from the sadness in its eyes…
To be fair to the Record, it should be noted that they have now changed the wording of their very scientific poll:
Of course, no one is going to change their mind about whether they think it is right or wrong to wear the poppy. However, the judgment passed on people who choose not to is a matter of the highest importance. Because it is a gross infringement of people’s basic right to make up their own mind and (within reason) behave as they choose in a liberal society.
Before I go any further, I will confirm that I do wear an ethereal poppy every year without fail. I greatly resent telling you that because it is entirely my business. However, I mention it in the vain hope that any angry Poppy Police reading this blog will not dismiss my perspective as agenda-driven ‘disloyal’ bullsh*t.
Ordinarily, people feel the need to explain why they do or do not wear a poppy. And you can read some of the reasons why they don’t in this piece by the BBC:
You are therefore probably expecting me to conform to the norm and explain why I do wear one. Perhaps by citing a desire to remember certain conflicts, honour dead family members, or acknowledge the current serving armed forces.
But I am not going to do that.
Because it is absolutely none of your business, and it has no bearing whatsoever on anything I do in my day-to-day ethereal life. Nor does it make me a good or bad entity. It is a choice I make, and I consider myself damned lucky to live somewhere where I am able to make it.
And the same is true of James McClean and anyone else who chooses not to wear a poppy.
As so often in life, the only folk with a problem are those who want to make others think and behave in the way that they have decided is correct.
So let’s have a bit more ‘live and let live’, please.