Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 16 November 2011

Poppy mania for bosses...

Sue Powell

To cheers from the press, David Cameron and Prince William intervened so the England football team could wear the poppy during their match against Spain.

Channel 4 broadcaster Jon Snow, criticised for not wearing one, said: "There is a rather unpleasant breed of poppy fascism out there - 'he damned well must wear a poppy!'".

For my generation, the world wars left a big impression. In our street there was a bombsite where we'd play, people still lived in prefab emergency housing, several skeletal houses stood as they'd done since the Blitz.

My grandparents were bombed out. Sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews had died in two world wars. One granddad lied about his age, to volunteer in World War One at 16.

He never talked about the war. After being bullied by "patriotic" older workmates, my other granddad died, leaving my nan to bring up four kids. Dad was a fireman in the Blitz.

So although we'd stand in silence on Armistice Day, there wasn't much respect for establishment warmongers. "Remembrance" recalled suffering not glory and the red poppy honoured those slaughtered for nothing on "Flanders' fields".

When I was young it was commonplace to view WWI as an horrific waste of life. This war was waged by declining empires.

It not only destroyed a generation but was a cause of World War Two and further horrors.

Many of my grandparents' generation were duped into fighting for "king and country". Everywhere most workers' leaders echoed the patriotic call.

Yet older people have told me that there never used to be so much fuss made about the military between the wars as there is now - and I can't recall it post-war.

The huge anti-war protests over the Gulf war, the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq shook the "establishment" to the core and they have been gradually glorifying war ever since, aided by Help for Heroes.

Weeks before 11 November there appears to be an epidemic of red poppies on TV - especially on the BBC.

For the first time in over 40 years, I stood to the national anthem at a match recently - caving in to peer pressure from 11,000 fans and a stadium announcer saying "and now our boys from xx regiment back from Afghanistan".

I do not want to be "ruled over" and I am against the military misadventures of this government. I'm with Harry Patch - one of the last WWI veterans - who mourned his comrades and wore his poppy, saying "war is organised murder."

And the words of WW1 poet, Wilfred Owen, about a man gassed in the trenches, which ends:

"If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood

Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,

Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud

Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,

My friend, you would not tell with such high zest

To children ardent for some desperate glory,

The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori"

(It is sweet and glorious to die for one's country)

I learned that at school but I have a feeling it's not in the national curriculum now.

...but poverty for ex-soldiers

Most ex-soldiers have gained nothing from the recent media poppyfest. 2,500 ex-servicemen are in prison, there are 1,100 single homeless ex-servicemen and 2,500 in statutorily homeless families' accommodation in London alone.

Now army recruiters are touring homeless hostels to recruit - they recently took 22 homeless young people in Leeds on a promotional day out!

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 16 November 2011:

Fighting the cuts

Strike together, Protest together, Win together

Defend the right to strike and protest

All out together on 30 November

Socialist Party workplace news

Southampton - opposing all the cuts

Police kettle electricians

Electricians march to defend pay and conditions

Sparks battle pay cuts

Reinstate Vik Chechi

Workplace news in brief

Socialist history

The first shop stewards movement

International socialist news and analysis

Berlusconi quits as debt crisis hits eurozone's third largest economy

End the dictatorship of the markets!

Irish Socialist MEP Paul Murphy speaks out: solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza will continue

Socialist Party news and analysis

Murdochgate scandal shows need for democratic and accountable media

Stop the government austerity juggernaut

Jobs crisis - 'We can't afford capitalism'!

Fast news

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

NHS under attack

Wales: Fight the NHS cuts

Thousands say no to fees, cuts and privatisation

Riot cops assault Occupy protesters

Cardiff occupation evicted

The Socialist - Readers' comments

Cuts kill - Poverty, despair and a suicide pact

Poppy mania for bosses...


Home   |   The Socialist 16 November 2011   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleOctober 1917 reviews: 'More bright than any heaven'

triangleRussia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangleShocking insight into Isis

triangleChe Guevara 50 years on - revolutionary socialist and fighter

triangleBin strike: council humiliated in court battle - but war isn't over yet


triangleHomelessness and evictions soar under the Tories

triangleGrenfell fire compounded by overcrowding: build more council homes now

triangleJustice for Grenfell and safety for all


triangleBrutal repression of Rohingya people sparks massive humanitarian crisis

triangleInterview: the "socialist John Le Carré"

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments


Port Talbot

Powerful picture of the Port Talbot steel workers' struggle


Russian revolution

October 1917 reviews: 'More bright than any heaven'


Theresa May

Theresa May, Frida Kahlo and turning women into wares



Poverty, repression and fightback on the docks


The Socialist

The Socialist Inbox



Shocking insight into Isis



Hugh Hefner's exploitation of women



Women's football - Sampson allegations



The Socialist Inbox



Interview: the "socialist John Le Carré"



Refreshing, anticapitalist - but little pointing a way forward



New documentary asks women how their bodies are sexualised and policed



The Socialist inbox


Che Guevara

Intimate insight into a revolutionary icon



Bosses' pensions robbery

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

More ...

triangle19 Oct Waltham Forest Young Socialists: Deaths in police custody

triangle19 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Spanish revolution 1936-37

triangle19 Oct Cardiff East Socialist Party: Is equality for women possible under capitalism?

triangle19 Oct Wirral Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian Revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice