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:


triangleWhen working class women dominated football

triangle100 years since police went on strike: "never nearer to Bolshevism"

triangleThe ongoing capitalist crisis and the struggle for a socialist world

triangleRevolt and Rebellion West London walk success

triangleAhed Tamimi - worldwide symbol of self-esteem in face of oppression


triangle40 attend Socialist Party housing campaign launch in Windsor

triangleHomeless charity colluding to deport homeless!

triangleInternational Women's Day

triangleBristol South Socialist Party: Homelessness and the housing crisis


triangleNo to the bombing of Syria!

triangleCoventry solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza

triangleBrazil: Psol councillor Marielle Franco murdered


triangleThem & us

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments


The Socialist

The Socialist inbox



When working class women dominated football



GDPR data laws: Punishing workers for human mistakes



The Socialist inbox


Care workers

A day in the life of a carer: "I am having trouble feeding my children on my wages"



Shop workers hungry for 10 an hour now and an end to zero-hour contracts


The Socialist

The Socialist Inbox



The Socialist Inbox



Union bureaucracies, soviets and workers' power



Ahed Tamimi - worldwide symbol of self-esteem in face of oppression



The Socialist inbox



Protests win temporary halt to refugee evictions in Glasgow



Obituary: Ged Travers 1957-2018



The Socialist inbox



The Socialist inbox

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

September 2018

August 2018

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018