Thursday, 10 November 2011


On the face of it, I'm pleased that FIFA has allowed England (and Wales) footballers to wear Poppies on armbands during their games this weekend.

However, there is a nagging doubt inside my mind that this is the right course of action.

There are a set of rules in place designed to ensure complete "neutrality" in the game itself and banning all religious or political symbols. Now I don't believe that the Poppy is a religious symbol, nor a political one. But not everyone might see it that way and I suspect that one day other countries might well want to place symbols which we might not agree with on shirts. Better to ban everything; and stick to it. Keep it simple.

What has happened with leaders writing letters and the press becoming angry, smacks of that haughty attitude which we British are sometimes said to have when dealing with others. I don't think we do usually; but I can see traces of it in this.

The solution of placing them on armbands seems to me a very good (clever, even) compromise. Everyone sticks to the rules, everyone is satisfied.

Remember the phrase "Wear You Poppy With Pride"? I always found that very moving and I genuinely do wear mine with pride, with a sense of remembrance. Nowadays, though, it sometimes seems to me that people wear them because they think they should, rather than because they actually want to. As soon as someone doesn't, everyone descends on them like vultures and people become indignant. (That said, I did refuse a request from the tour manager of an overseas group to remove mine before a tour many years ago to avoid upsetting the clients. I refused but I'm self employed and they hire me, with all my views and foibles and that's the end of the matter.)

So if you haven't already bought one, go and make a donation for your Poppy. It is a visible and potent symbol of loss and remembrance and the funds raised go to a cause that is right and moral, good and commendable.

But when you can't wear can't. And when that happens, nd your Poppy is still in your coat pocket and your donation is still in RBL's collecting box. Job done.


  1. Must get mine: already past 11.00 on 11.11. But I don't like having to find where I've put it on Remembrance Sunday.

  2. Thimblemill Library, where I posted the last comment, had run out. Kang News came up trumps, so I was suitably equipped when I went to a memorial service this afternoon.