4 November 2011
If there were any doubts remaining about Poppy Day now being a largely jingoistic exercise, the present British Legion poster campaign will settle them. They portray celebrities like Helen Mirren saying: ‘The true stars are our troops’, and Katherine Jenkins:’ It’s our unsung heroes who deserve the applause’. It has always been said that 11 November is a day to commemorate those soldiers who died fighting to defend their country (primarily in the First and Second World Wars). I was unaware that it now means cheerleading for British troops under any circumstances. Those now fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and bombing in Libya as well as those who humiliated and murdered innocent Iraqi civilians can hardly, I would submit, be termed ‘stars’ or be deserving of applause. I’ll be wearing a white poppy to commemorate all those, both civilian and military, killed in wars. It is the only possible honest and meaningful statement.