I have struggled this year with my poppy, not in buying one, that was easy, they are available in most places that I end up in. No, rather I have struggled with the tinge of Brexit that it seems to have attracted. In some quarters, noticeably on Twitter there has been a slight whiff of gammon.
For some reason, the poppy has become associated with a false sense of patriotism and we know, because we are constantly told, that only true patriots are Brexit supporters. Europhiles, amongst whom I count myself are branded as traitors. To what exactly? What is patriotism anyway if not a desire to see yourself living in a better country? If that is the case then I am as patriotic as the next person. If it doesn’t count then I am happy to be labelled as unpatriotic. I don’t care for the appellation.
I have bought my poppy and have worn it with pride though I have kept this article until after armistice day as I have no wish to cause offence to those who have served or continue to serve in my defence.
I want to be as clear as I can be. I wear my poppy to remember those who have given their lives so that I and my family can live in relative peace and prosperity. I wear it to remind me how lucky I have been not to have had to go to war.
I also wear it to remind me that there are no winners in war, only losers. Even those who are victorious have to pay a heavy price in lost colleagues, time away from their loved ones, destruction of property and a disruption to their lives, perhaps for many years to come, if not for ever.
War is the failure of politics, diplomacy, trust and humanity. It should not be revered, glorified or glamorised but loathed and detested. It should be a tool of absolute last resort.
I will continue to wear my poppy with pride but for my own reasons.