As November’s dark days close in, the annual kerfuffle over who does or does not wear a poppy has erupted.
As usual this has been overdone. Remembrance now seeps backwards into October. Crowds at football matches are obliged to respect a minute’s silence at three successive fixtures. It’s all about being seen to comply and nothing to do with respect, like the Biblical Pharisees, who made a big show of tithing and praying, obeying the letter of the law but neglecting its spirit.
An outspoken advocate of poppy wearing is Upton O’Goode. Mr O’Goode describes himself as a “committed patriot”. Neutral observers see him as a troublemaker, while his critics say he is a “poppy fetishist with no sense of proportion”. Whatever your view, Mr O’Goode is going to ram his opinions down your throat.
“Wearing a poppy in November – and October, to be truly patriotic – is a totally effective way to say that you love your country,” he claims.
“Sportsmen and premier league footballers are role models and must lead the way.”
But what about the many sportsmen from other countries who ply their trade in the UK? “I know most of them are foreign so it shows they are trying to assimilate our culture by wearing a poppy,” he says, trying to be reasonable.
“Any foreign sportsman, by which I mean any sportsman (or sportswoman, I’m not prejudiced) who has a funny name or looks a bit, well, dusky must wear the poppy.”
And the British sportsmen?
“Any true Brit will happily wear his poppy with pride,” he replies. “Anyone not displaying this most potent symbol of patriotism is clearly a subversive and a traitor. It’s that simple.”
Mr O’Goode’s point of view has found a natural home in the Daily Mail. They describe him as “a true British hero”. More left-leaning publications have described him as “an angry and insignificant little man with an overdeveloped sense of entitlement”.
There is only one thing left to say:
At the going down of the sun and in the morning / We will remember that they did not wear a poppy.