Tag Archives: poppy

Remembrance Day travesty: While Corbyn pledges to house homeless veterans, his critics carp about his coat

 

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Anybody catching this year’s Remembrance Day ceremony on television this year will have spotted Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn wearing an anoark rather than the black overcoat worn by many of his fellow wreath-laying political leaders – as you can see in the image above

I did. I wasn’t actually taking part in any events this year so I had a chance to sit down and watch it instead. I was pleased to see Mr Corbyn’s choice of coat because it meant he stood out from the crowd that included Vince Cable, Theresa May and John Bercow. Also I dare say it would have protected him from any rain.

So imagine my surprise when I scanned Twitter afterwards and found this:

I did! Fortunately, others had decided to respond before I had a chance, robbing the world of the opportunity to see me letting rip on some poor sap.

Rachael Swindon wrote: “Shocking revelation here. Jeremy Corbyn wore A COAT on a showery day in London today. I think Kev is a bit of a knob.”

So say we all. ‘Gary the opinionated insignificance took it a step further: “Did he do a “jig” on his way there this year or is that lie not being wheeled out this year?”

Remember that silliness? Eoin Clarke does:

https://twitter.com/ToryFibs/status/1061605175654342656

This year’s wheeze didn’t seem to be working too well, though – as you can probably tell from the results of the poll in the following tweet:

https://twitter.com/jongaunt/status/1061585959815471104

When I voted and checked, it was clear that the majority support Mr Corbyn’s choice of outdoor wear.

So the loonies doubled down. Going back to the image, can you see that Mr Corbyn was sporting a poppy that was considerably smaller than those worn by his fellow wreath-laying political leaders?

I did. I was pleased to see Mr Corbyn’s choice of poppy because I have one very similar to it. They are metal, and cost considerably more than the normal, disposable poppies worn by most of the other bigwigs.

Imagine my surprise when, still scanning Twitter, I found this:

You have to scroll down quite a way to see all the responses to this one.

Rachael Swindon (again) drew the logical conclusion:

I also liked Cllr Cassi Perry’s rejoinder: “As a veteran I say wind your neck in. Ensuring it never happens again is the best way to honour our service and Corbyn is the one fighting hardest for that. And no we don’t care about the size of a bloody poppy. How old are you?!”

How about this from Sandy S? “Guess what, my 96 yr old Dad who flew Lancs in the war has just been to a rememberence parade, wearing the same poppy JC was wearing. Now stick that up your kite and smoke it. PS, he was wearing a raincoat too. You’re a disgrace.

And Clare Hepworth OBE was glowing in her indignation: “Oh for goodness sake! What a puerile , infantile – just plain STUPID comment to make on a day like this! Do you honestly believe that sensible people will take your comment seriously?”

Some focused on the fact that Mr Corbyn’s critics were focusing on the wrong thing. Remembrance Day is about commemorating our war dead and pledging to put an end to wars. Owen Jones tackled the first matter:

And genuine war veteran Harry Leslie Smith made an excellent point that the person standing next to Mr Corbyn in the image (above) is actually making it possible for wars to take place:

Rachael Swindon made it perfectly clear:

Then there’s this:

And Aleesha related it all to a very specific incident taking place as I type this:

By now, the right-wing mainstream media had jumped on the bandwagon and the Daily Mail was kicking up a song and dance:

… only to get exactly what it deserved:

That’s all very amusing.

But it seems there is another reason right-wingers were trying to distract us with nonsense about Mr Corbyn’s choice of clothing. Here’s Richard O’Neill:

He’s absolutely right.

Only the day before the Remembrance parade, Mr Corbyn pledged to put an end to the “scourge” of homelessness among armed forces veterans.

Here‘s the Independent: “Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to end the “scourge” of rough sleeping among armed forces veterans as he calls on Theresa May to officially register the number of homeless ex-servicemen and women.

“The Labour leader will mark the historic occasion by outlining his party’s “social contract” for veterans, including provisions for free education and treating mental health issues as “seriously as physical health issues”.

“He will also call on ministers to use the government’s “long overdue” Veterans Strategy – due to be published later this month – to officially record the number of homeless veterans in the UK, including statistics on those who take their own lives.

“Mr Corbyn said: “The next Labour government will guarantee armed forces personnel the opportunity to have a home, to heal and to retrain when they complete their time in service.

““We will do the right thing by ending the scourge of rough sleeping and helping veterans embark on new careers.””

And this help is desperately needed – under the Tory government, war veterans are more likely to lose their homes than be given one.

According to Mirror Online: “At least 13,000 of our war heroes are homeless after leaving the military, a Sunday People probe reveals.

“Military charities said the shameful figure is a record high and the Government is failing those who risk their lives for Queen and country.

“They also issued a stark warning that the crisis deepens every month.

“Charity bosses say the problem has been made worse by cuts to the armed forces, which has led to almost 30,000 troops losing their jobs since 2010.

“Homeless numbers have soared, despite the Government outlining its duty to serving and former personnel by enshrining the Armed Forces Covenant in law in 2011.

“The covenant says veterans “should have priority status in applying for Government-sponsored affordable housing schemes, and service leavers should retain this status for a period of discharge”.”

It seems all this fuss about Mr Corbyn’s coat is meant to distract us from his commitment to help service veterans who have been failed by the Conservatives.

Johnny Vegas leads backlash against Tory MP who disrespected Remembrance Day and muted her critics

Maria Caulfield: She likes to talk, but it seems she’s less keen to listen.

Remember “poppy fascist” Maria Caulfield, the Tory MP for Lewes who tried to score a political point by highlighting a lack of poppies in a photo of Labour activists out campaigning?

This site ran a story about her here.

Well, it seems she doesn’t have the sense to shut up – quite the opposite, in fact. She has muted her critics so she doesn’t have to read their responses to her idiocy.

Here’s her reaction:

No – it leaves people with a genuine grievance talking to the world, while Mrs Caulfield has excluded herself.

Prominent among them is comic Johnny Vegas, who tweeted the following in response to her original tweet:

That is not trolling. Nor is his reaction to Mrs Caulfield’s latest atrocity:

Looking at the above, I would argue that Johnny Vegas would be a better representative of the public than Mrs Caulfield. Don’t you agree?

Let’s have a look at some of the other comments that Mrs Caulfield has denied herself:

Oh dear. So she has achieved the exact opposite of her ambition. Instead of making Labour look bad, she has reminded us all of the failings of her own party in government.

Oh dear. So she has made herself look insensitive and ignorant.

Oh dear. So everyone can talk about her behind her back – perhaps encouraging others to withdraw support from her at the next election?

And those are just three of the tweets in the thread that Mrs Caulfield isn’t reading.

This Writer would certainly encourage you to visit it yourself – just click on her tweet, above.

If you want to follow anyone, follow Johnny Vegas.


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Tory ‘poppy fascist’ tarred and feathered on Twitter

Maria Caulfield: She should know better.

Maria Caulfield is the clueless Conservative MP for Lewes, in east Sussex. She is a former nurse and the wife of an ex-serviceman – which makes her ill-advised criticism of a Labour campaign group all the more ignorant.

It seems Tooting Labour Party were out campaigning yesterday (November 11) – and Ms Caulfield took umbrage at the apparent absence of poppies from the photograph they posted on Twitter:

But if you look at the photograph…

… while only one person is visibly wearing a poppy and four are not, we cannot tell whether the other 13 are wearing poppies or not.

It seems to This Writer that Ms Caulfield was, therefore, trying to score a cheap political point rather than expressing any genuine outrage – and I am not alone.

Twitter responded with its usual flair for accuracy. Ms Caulfield was – metaphorically, at least – tarred and feathered. I use the term advisedly, as it was an unofficial form of punishment and humiliation, often used on those who did not support the services, and remains a term for severe public criticism.

For an example of Conservative regard for ex-servicepeople, Ms Caulfield was urged to consider the case of David Clapson. Diabetic Mr Clapson – a former serviceman – is no longer with us because the Conservative-run Department for Work and Pensions decided to make him starve to death.

https://twitter.com/HRHTudor1976/status/929407955996499968

Here’s a pertinent point from Clive Lewis. He may be under investigation after allegations were made against him, but his willingness to stand up for the veterans speaks volumes:

If you want to look up ‘Geddes Axe’, here is a good place to start.

Of course, Tory attitudes in history and towards benefit claimants are not the only ways in which they have attacked veterans. Let us consider their current failings (after all, Twitter did):

And, of course, there was an obvious personal comment to make:

All in all – well, Judy Hamilton puts it very well:

And what of Labour? Judge for yourself:


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Why we should all fight the politicisation of the poppy

161104-remembrance-poppies

There was discussion of the Remembrance poppy on the BBC’s Question Time yesterday, including from one audience member who didn’t realise it is worn to commemorate all our war dead, right up to the present day.

The debate was about FIFA banning footballers from wearing poppies on November 11 (the organisation does not allow players to wear political, religious or commercial messages on their shirts). The comments quoted below are by 90+ year old pro-NHS campaigner and political commentator Harry Leslie Smith, who won’t be wearing a poppy either because he suspects politicians of subverting their message.

It seems there are a lot of misconceptions going around, and very few people willing to put them to rest.

This Writer won’t stop wearing a poppy in the near future. But I don’t want to see it used as a justification for further warfare either – that is the exact opposite of its purpose.

And I think that is the answer.

Perhaps it is time to start questioning politicians when they start sabre-rattling. Let’s call them out on their action. Do they wear poppies in the run-up to November 11? Then why agitate for further military action?

Don’t they know they’re disrespecting our honoured dead?

Perhaps that might engender a swift shift of rhetoric.

I can no longer wear a poppy because its meaning of respect for the fallen and the motto “never again” on the First World War memorial has been profaned by our wars to maintain our empire after the fall of Hitler, and our modern conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.

I feel now that wearing the poppy gives a blank cheque to our politicians to justify their folly in wars of questionable merit, as well as the needless deaths their sanguine votes for boots on the ground costs both our soldiers and innocent civilians in foreign countries.

Wearing the poppy today lets our politicians off the hook for their symbiotic relationship to the arms industry and their criminal disregard for the refugee crisis.

We have lost our right to collectively mourn our war dead if we are unwilling to at least investigate the notion that our military industrial complex might not have our country’s best interests at heart when they sell bombs to tyrants.

It is why the insistence of certain media outlets to name and shame those who don’t wear the poppy is not only reprehensible, but jingoistic, and will ultimately help lead us into conflicts that will threaten the lives of thousands of our young like the First Great War did.

Source: Remembrance Day: Why I stopped wearing a poppy

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The hate-mongers profiting from Remembrance Day

‘Pound-shop fascists’ Britain First have been raising funds for their hate-filled, xenophobic cause by selling overpriced Remembrance memorabilia – imported from China.

The Daily Telegraph has reported Britain First’s marketing strategy, which uses that symbol of Remembrance, the poppy.

So poppy-themed merchandise has proliferated over Britain First’s merchandising wing, Lionheart GB, with remembrance pin badges selling for around £5 a time, as you can see from this image:

141109britain-first-sales

[Image: Daily Telegraph.]

But these products are being bought from foreign (Chinese, in the example you’ll see) manufacturers at a tiny fraction of the selling price. Profit on the ‘White Cross Poppy Lapel badge’, for example, is around £4.80. Here’s the proof:

141109poppy-origin

It must be particularly galling for Britain First’s supporters to find out that a group spreading hatred against the foreigners is cynically using foreign-made goods to fleece its own supporters of their hard-earned cash.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Cameron in Afghanistan was no Lawrence of Arabia

131218afghanistan

How does one mark the passing of Peter O’Toole, if not by watching Lawrence of Arabia? It was his first film role and, some say, his greatest.

I’m sure I cannot be the only one to have drawn comparisons between T.E. Lawrence, as played by the great O’Toole on the silver screen, and David Cameron – who behaved like a tool when he said of British forces in Afghanistan, “Misson accomplished”.

In the film, Lawrence is shunned by his colleagues in the British military because of his unconventional ways, but accepted by the Arabs – firstly because he is able to quote the Koran to them, secondly because he goes out of his way to accomplish feats that seem impossible (like rescuing one of his Arab friends from The Sun’s Anvil) in order to give them hope of military success, and thirdly because he achieves these things for their good, not his own.

David Cameron is a different matter. Unlike Lawrence, he is not an original thinker – or indeed any other kind of leader. He is a follower. British military policy in Afghanistan was not his policy, and he made no effort to take control of it. He has made no effort to understand the admittedly-complicated history and culture of a country that has rightly been described as “troubled”, although few people bother to remember that much of that trouble has been caused by invaders including the British. And if he has gone out of his way, it was to avoid actions of distinction. But he’s happy to take the credit for everything that has been done.

This is why, when Cameron said the mission in Afghanistan will have been accomplished by the time the last British troops leave in 2014, so many commentators jeered.

Cameron is currently saying that the mission was to build up security in Afghanistan, to ensure it cannot become a haven for terrorists again, after our forces leave. This might seem reasonable if it were not merely the latest in a long list of mission statements provided for Afghanistan over the incredible 12 years since we arrived there in 2001.

Others, according to The Guardian, include “removing Al Qaida’s bases, eradicating poppy cultivation, educating girls and helping forge a form of democracy”. While we cannot comment on the first of these, the others either failed abjectly or have become the subjects of fierce controversy. The government of Hamid Karzai has long been criticised as corrupt.

Cameron’s choice of words also creates an unhealthy comparison with Iraq, which fell into chaos for a considerable period after then-US President George W Bush declared “mission accomplished” there.

Even the comedy Prime Minister’s attempt to put the soundbite across to the media seemed hesitant. “The purpose of our mission was always to build an Afghanistan and Afghan security forces that were capable of maintaining a basic level of security so this country never again became a haven for terrorist training camps,” he said.

“That has been the most important part of the mission… The absolute driving part of the mission is the basic level of security so that it doesn’t become a haven for terror. That is the mission, that was the mission and I think we will have accomplished that mission,” he added, unravelling completely by the end. He mentioned security three times, “haven for terror” twice, and the mission no less than six times!

And the experts disagreed. The British ambassador to Kabul from 2010-12, William Paytey, said: “Afghanistan has got a long way to go and it could be many decades before we see real peace there.”

So Cameron cuts a poor figure in comparison with Lawrence – and even, returning to our starting point, in comparison with Peter O’Toole. In his hellraising days, Cameron and his Bullingdon friends used to smash up restaurants; Peter O’Toole and his buddies would have tried to buy them.

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