An Act Of Remembrance To Pay My Respects And Not A Badge Of Britishness ( A Personal Reflection On Why I Wear The Poppy)

Hey everyone At this time of remembrance there is no doubt that the symbol of the poppy can cause heated discussion even amongst good friends as people from different political traditions have very different opinions on this issue and may attempt to hijack it to advance there own ends.

There is no doubt that there are many right wing British Nationalists would if only they could get away would love to get away this kind of pernicious and divisive behaviour and not all of them are in the BNP, UKIP and Britain First. Many of them are in or have held far more powerful positions than any ascribed to these people. Such individuals would like to promote the poppy as a symbol of British unity.

This however is in my view to dishonour the dead whom they so fraudulently claim to be commemorating. You see it is my considered opinion that these smug, sanctimonious self serving sycophants such as Tony Blair the war criminal who sent British soldiers to their slaughter in Iraq and others of his ilk such as Gordon Brown and Jim Murphy who enthusiastically supported his reckless action are amongst their number. Yet these people have the nerve to call themselves socialists.

As someone who believes in the redistribution of wealth I do not and will never believe their fanciful claims. Politically, I have for 99.9 of the time nothing in common with them or their ilk but later on today I will temporarily for a few minutes cease hostilities with them, as we will share one common bond in memory of those who gave their lives in the service of our country. Even though I am a member of the SNP the party they loathe more than UKIP I will join with them and with the rest of the people of Britain by wearing a red poppy in my lapel to commemorate those who fell in war in the name of the democracy which they fought to preserve.

By taking this simple action I will be honouring the dead who gave their lives for the individual freedoms and liberties we enjoy today and the living who came home to help us win those rights we can sometimes take for granted.

That to me is why the act of remembrance is so important.
It is in that quiet time when as a nation we take time for reflection that we remember those who died not only in the two world wars but in many war and conflicts since. I cite the Falklands, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan to name but a few that UK service personnel have been involved in since the end of the second world war in 1945.

As someone who has always regarded myself as both an internationalist and a pacifist I must say I do not glorify war in any way I never have and I never will. The very idea anyone could even attempt to try to do this makes me sick to the stomach at the thought of it. Bearing this in mind many of my friends ask me how I can justify wearing the red poppy at this time rather than the white one which symbolises peace. My answer is a simple one namely that by wearing the poppy we are constantly reminded of the sacrifices that others made for us and this should make us determined that these atrocities should never happen again.

I do however have to take issue with the idea of the poppy being used as a badge of Britishness. My reason for this is a simple one I have never believed that I am in any way British I am and always will be Scottish first and then a global citizen of mother earth but never I will never br British and there is not enough money in the world to make me change my mind on this issue.

I never have and never will give my consent to an outdated and old fashioned nation which was founded by elites in the interests of elites. That is one the reasons I voted yes in the recent John J Turner senior, Hughie Healy, Jim Craig and Sean McBride independence referendum and will do so again when the chance presents itself.

Every year when this time of remembrance comes round I have this debate with myself about whether I should wear a poppy or not and I usually decide that I should. It should be noted however that this in no way an endorsement of the British state. I wear my poppy not for Tony Blair, even less for David Cameron, or Nigel Farage. My poppy is no badge of Britishness but more a mark of respect for all the service personnel I’ve known in my life and this is as good a way as any to commemorate the lives of my father John Smith, my Uncles Robert Smith, James Smith, Dan Russell, Charles Hayes, and Arthur Timperly, and in more recent times friends from my spoken word family including John J Turner senior, Hughie Healy, Jim Craig and Sean McBride the last of those named just missed the Falklands war by a couple of months and like our friend and fellow poet Jim Craig was a Corporal in the second battalion the parachute regiment.
These are the service personnel for whom I stood in silence in church on Sunday morning and it will be their memories I will be honouring when the clock strikes 11 am and marks the day the guns fell silent at the end of the great war. This we were told was the war to end all wars except it didn’t but every year on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour we stand in silence for two minutes in the hope that one day that dream may actually come true.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X


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