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The poppy is not a symbol of remembrance…

…it is a symbol that the bearer has made a donation to the Royal British Legion’s Haig Fund.

I thought it might be worth pointing that out bearing in mind recent kerfuffles.

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24 comments to The poppy is not a symbol of remembrance…

  • David

    it is a symbol that the bearer has made a donation to the Royal British Legion’s Haig Fund

    Not for those of us in at least two Commonwealth countries on the other side of the world from the UK and certainly not for my family which has sent its young men to South Africa [Boer War], Galipoli, France, Belgium [WW1], Europe, Middle East, New Guinea [WW2], Korea and Vietnam. We wear the poppy in remembrance. That the money raised is used to support ex-service personnel in need of assistance is a worthwhile consequence of the purchase of a poppy.

    I hope the Brit Football Associations stick to their guns. FIFA are the last people to lecture people on anything.

  • Looks like both the English and Scottish FA have given FIFA the Agincourt salute and intend to play with poppy armbands. Bravo!

    David_Niven_flicking_V_promo_still_Dinner_at_the_Ritz

  • Fishplate

    I had to memorize a poem in 7th grade, some 48 years ago, and so I chose John McRae’s In Flanders Fields. Coming at that time, it had a huge effect on me.

    A few decades later, I moved to my current home, which happens to be just a few miles from the birthplace of Moina Michael, who was apparently the originator in the US of wearing a poppy in remembrance. I had always seen (fake) poppies around Armistice Day, and attached the significance of the poem to that symbol. You could get a poppy for donating to the Disabled American Veterans, or they would just give you one anyway.

    If there is or was a more political meaning, I certainly wasn’t aware of it here in the States.

  • Deep Lurker

    My take is that the poppy is a political symbol, among other things, but that its political significance is so muted that it should fall under “the law does not concern itself with trifles.”

    Or to put it another way, abiding by a poppy ban is a bigger political statment than wearing a poppy. So abiding by a poppy ban by wearing a poppy-free uniform should therefore be considered a violation of the rule against political messages 😈

  • bobby b

    Considering who was on the other side accomplishing the killing and maiming of all of those vets, I can’t imagine any EU-ophile would look on those poppies fondly.

  • David

    I can’t imagine any EU-ophile would look on those poppies fondly

    For an appropriate response to the EU-ophile please see photo of David Niven in PdH’s post above.

  • The poppy has become a form of virtue signaling for many, though. Look at the rows of backbencher MPs wearing them, along with everyone you see on TV, and tell me they give a shit about veterans.

  • bloke in suffolk

    I have a certain sympathy with FIFA on this, whilst the poppy is probably the least significant political statement you could wear on a shirt, would it be fine for say the serbian national football team to wear a badge commorating the 15th of june? or for a northern irish team to wear something commorating the twelfth, if your an organisation like fifa, (one participants enter voluntarily) it might make sense to limit all symbols that are not meant to be on the shirt.

  • The Pedant-General

    “The poppy has become a form of virtue signaling for many, though.”

    A couple of quibbles. In decades gone by, failure to wear a poppy was quite frowned upon, so this is not strictly that new.
    However, what may be new is the virtue signalling overtone. In those decades gone past, the failure to wear a poppy denoted a failure to understand the importance and scale of real sacrifice and was hence seen as a demonstration of disrespect to the fallen and/or failure to appreciate the freedoms bought and paid for. That this may have morphed into a generic “doing the done thing” would be a greater cause for concern.

  • Paul Rutherford

    Please do some research befoe posting an opinion.

    The Royal British Legion is a REGISTERED CHARITY – not a political or neo-political organisation.

    See http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/

    They say “Members of the public wear the paper poppy on their chest as a symbol of Remembrance: to remember the fallen Service men and women killed in conflict.”

    They say wearing the poppy is “TO THE MEMORY OF THE FALLEN AND THE FUTURE OF THE LIVING”

    It follows that wearing a poppy is not a political statement.

    Therefore, FIFA have no rational basis for their demand which, in consequence, should be rejected.

  • Mr Ed

    It really is most uncharacteristic of the FA not to be a cringing PC organisation worried that a poppy might upset the Taliban or the IRA. What on Earth is going on?

    But FIFA own the rights to ‘international games’ so their house, their rules. I can see why they might not want a precedent set.

    Mind you, if FIFA bigwigs are all dragged off to face RICO charges in the States, for their yesterdays they will have given their tomorrows, who will remember them?

  • For the vast majority, it is neither virtue signalling nor donating. The poppy means you are choosing to remember.

    It may indicate (but not ‘mean’) that you donated to the Royal British Legion’s Haig Fund. In Scotland, it more probably indicates that you donated to Poppy Scotland. I can’t imagine a more emphatic way of saying that the donation’s target is not the poppy’s meaning than to observe that an anti-natz like me wastes little time on which of these is offering a given poppy when I realise my previous poppy has crumbled, fallen out of my lapel or otherwise made the great sacrifice to tell me another small donation to the worthy cause of caring for ex-vets is in order, alongside (more importantly) another small effort “lest we forget”.

    It is natural that some public-facing organisations have policies. TV newscasters are evidently told to wear it in the fortnight running up to remembrance day. I do not know if various political parties order their members to wear it or MPs merely all (almost all?) decide to. No doubt some in these groups are just virtue-signalling or just obeying orders but I will gladly believe there’s a bit more to it that merely that, even in those I little respect, unless their other behaviour compels me not to.

    I have little sympathy with FIFA. That the poppy is old enough and widespread enough to be below the threshold is obvious – but we live in a time when PC liars ignore the obvious. FIFA should screw its courage to the sticking place and next year tell any “but you allowed poppies” PCers to shut up. Their objection may be less their own than about fearing having to argue that future hypothetical.

  • Mr Ed

    I do not know if various political parties order their members to wear it or MPs merely all (almost all?) decide to.

    Some MPs have certainly bought poppy wreaths, on expenses.

  • the other rob

    Good for the FA and the SFA. FIFA can Eff off.

  • Alisa

    Or to put it another way, abiding by a poppy ban is a bigger political statment than wearing a poppy. So abiding by a poppy ban by wearing a poppy-free uniform should therefore be considered a violation of the rule against political messages ?

    Moreover, FIFA having this rule is a political statement in and of itself, because it preemptively gives them the power to decide what is political and what is not, making any statement political as a result. ‘Their house their rules’ indeed, so I’d say screw them, and a pox on their house.

    Fifa general secretary Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura told BBC Sport “any kind of sanction” could follow.

    I just looked her up – she’s a UN critter, what a huge surprise.

  • John B

    The poppy was taken in 1921 as a symbol to commemorate those who died in the First World War, after the poem In Flanders Fields was published; then to include military deaths in WWII and then extended to include all (British) military personnel who have fallen on active duty.

    ‘…it is a symbol that the bearer has made a donation to the Royal British Legion’s Haig Fund.’

    No… wearing a paper poppy is an indication (not a symbol) that the wearer has made a donation.

    The poppy itself – the flower – is a symbol of commemoration.

    That there is evidently an attempt to politicise it does not make it in itself a political symbol.

  • Alsadius

    Soccer jerseys have advertisements on them – why not just sell a one-day ad space on the arm for $1?

  • Paul Marks

    I do not see the distinction.

    People (other than perhaps Patrick) buy a poppy as a sign of Remembrance. Yes the money goes to the charity – but basically it is about Remembrance, it is not a “I love Douglas Haig” fan club.

    As for FIFI – fair enough then, pull out of the silly organisation.

    Some things are rather more important than Association Football.

  • Nemo

    Just to point out there is nothing in the world to stop you making your own poppy and wearing it in commemoration, nor is there anything to stop you donating to any of the respective charities without being obliged to wear a paper flower. Funny: this post and thread all results from the football, the proposal being to wear armbands, which I can’t find on the RBL website.

  • Patrick Crozier

    The real scandal is that the FA and SFA remain members of this disgustingly corrupt organisation. With any luck both will get chucked out.

  • I prefer poppy seed bagels.

  • Paul Marks

    I agree with you Patrick.

  • Gareth

    RE: FIFA

    This is a bit of a pantomime that has happened every year for several years now. The problem is that UK football associations want poppies embroidered or printed directly on national shirts which falls foul of the basic kit specifications. The poppy is not a manufacturer’s logo, national symbol or a star to show how many times a nation has won the World Cup. It has no business being on the shirt.

    FIFA are shits but this annual farce makes the FA look petty.

    We seem to be creeping towards zealotry about commemorating fallen service men and women. Public figures and institutions trying to outdo each other. Though I am sure this is distorted by the advent of social media.

  • NickM

    Paul is right but I have to do a turn around. The World’s most popular sport is too important to be left to corrupt shits like FIFA. Yes we ought to pull out not because it isn’t but because it is important. The absolute final straw was Russia and Qatar! Hell’s teeth!