PCC candidate “waved a fist” at white poppy tribute


by Newswire    
11:40 am - November 13th 2012

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The strangest events take place during Remembrance Day.

On Sunday, Luton’s Remembrance Day service were disrupted when a Police Commissioner candidate allegedly objected to a wreath of white peace poppies.

Green Party campaigner Marc Scheimann had laid the white poppy wreath for 24 years in memory of his grandfathers who died in World War Two.

Kevin Carroll, a British Freedom Party candidate in Bedfordshire for the PCC elections, allegedly “waved a clenched fist” and “started shouting aggressively”, reported Luton News.

Mr Scheimann was was forced to throw himself over the wreath to protect it from a different woman demonstrator who attempted to remove it.

[Kevin Caroll] called me a scumbag and said when he was police commissioner he would make sure I went to jail for this.

But Mr Caroll is unlikely to be elected as a PCC.

He was arrested by the police in late October on suspicion of conspiracy to cause public nuisance in London as part of an English Defence League demo.

However, Caroll denied he intended to commit any such offence.

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Reader comments


Thou shalt have no other gods poppies.

These people really are brownshirts in jackboots. The fact that so many of them are trying to take over the police and use them as storm troopers for their far right agenda is very revealing. But then that is exactly what the tories wanted when they invented this new post and decided to hold the elections in november.

3. Chaise Guevara

There’s a few too many maybes floating around here. If this guy really is going around abusing people at a Remembrance Day service simply for paying their respects in a pacificist way, he should be ashamed of himself. But the whole story is kinda hearsay, and there could be another side we don’t know.

So man lays poppy wreath in memory of lost relatives who laid down their lives in service for the nation for our freedoms in past conflicts.

Difference is, the wreath is white symobiling the message “lets not have any more bloodshed eh?”.

Man standing for election breaches (if description is correct) Public Order Act (Alarm / Harassment / Distress), by using threatening behaviour.

Police do not intervene and arrest said PCC candidate.

where’s James, Tom. Andy Robertson, Ziggyman and SMS and all the other defenders of our “Squadeys” when you need them? They should be railing to the defence of everyone who remembers the fallen.

As Chaise said.
Actually Luton News did not report what Newswire said: it reported that someone claimed that but the accused denied it and the police report (and that of the “bystander”) is more compatible with the denial.
If a German wants to lay a wreath of white poppies, let him: but why has no-one in the last 24 years explained to him that they signify cowardice, not support for Yorkshire Cricket Club, and that they WILL cause offence?
My grandmother was so horrified by women pinning white feathers on soldiers on convalescent leave after being wounded in the trenches that I could hear it in her voice 40 years later. She lost a lot of friends: she would have felt that a wreath of white poppies was an insult.
We don’t need the Green Party and the English Defence League messing up Remembrance Sunday with political spats. They have 361/2 other days.

If he’d uploaded a movie of himself doing that, I wonder if he would have been arrested?

7. Chaise Guevara

@ john77

Do white poppies actually symbolise cowardice, or is that just unconscious association with white feathers? If they do, how many people know that? Props to your grandmother, by the way: I get really angry to think of women who know they won’t be called on to fight going around labelling others as cowards.

To me white poppies are associated with respecting the fallen while promoting pacificism, not accusing the dead of cowardice. ISTM that people getting angry over this are deliberately misunderstanding.

Difference is, the wreath is white symobiling the message “lets not have any more bloodshed eh?”.

That’s what the red poppy symbolised, till Pearce type celebrators of patriotic violence hijacked it. I wonder what the BBC or ITV or C4 would have done if a contributor turned up with a white poppy rather than the regulation red one.

@ Chaise
What the white poppy means and what the viewer thinks it means are not necessarily the same; that is part of the problem. One hopes that Mr Scheimann meant them as a symbol of peace but a lot of people would interpret them as a symbol of cowardice and take offence. Why has no-one explained this to him? Or, if they have, why has he not listened?
[For avoidance of doubt I regard shouting aggressively at disabled people totally unacceptable, if it happened]

8 The BBC or ITV would not let them on the air. That is what they would do. Since the red poppy has been hijacked by the Right wing everyone must wear a poppy on TV.

It has now reached farcical situation where by even foreign visitors appearing on TV must also wear poppy. Even if they have no idea what it is. Cowardly broadcasters are playing into the hands of the poppy fetishists.

White feathers have been symbols if cowardice for perhaps hundreds of years, white poppies were introduced as an alternative to red ones by the Peace Pledge Union after the Great War, I believe. I can understand the confusion due to the colour but it really only shows ignorance. There was never any disrespect intended.

The way Remembrance is being hijacked is sinister, questionable and disrespectful of those it is supposed to commemorate.

For many Remembrance Sundays, and on countless November 11th days too, I have worn, in my button hole the White Poppy entwined with the Red.

This was so when, for four years, I was responsible for laying the Abbots Langley council wreath at St Paul’s Church, Langleybury, on Armistice Sundays.

I take both November 11th and Remembrance very seriously. In part that is because that war is so awful, but also because, on the war memorial of my secondary school (in SE21), there are almost 800 names on the war memorial which remembers the former pupils who died in two world wars.

God will damn anybody who takes action against those who preach peace.

David W

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_poppy_%28symbol%29

The white poppy basically remembers those who fell in wars only it isn’t associated with the Legion. Instead it raises money for the Peace Pledge Union, a pacifist organisation.

There are many people who wish to remember the dead at this time each year but who are uncomfortable with the political attachments that the red poppies have. This is especially prevalent in Northern Ireland where the red poppy is seen as a sign of of Unionists.

Basically, they mean almost the same thing and the only difference is whether you want to donate money to the BL or the PPU.

re: John777

I’m sorry, I don’t normally get too worked up about people being wrong on the internet, but you seriously need to check out where your information is coming from. If you are confusing peace campaigners sometimes *being* denigrated as cowards with them denigrating *others*, you really are due a rethink.

Honestly, the idea that the White Poppy represents cowardice is downright absurd. It is just as much a symbol of remembrance as the Red one, with the added nuance that those wearing it also remember that war itself is a terrible thing and oppose the exploitative jingoism with which some have tarnished the original meaning of the Red Poppy.

As for the mistaken association with the white feather… it makes no sense when remembering people who did, after all, die in war. And the kind of people who once dished out those feathers are about as far away in outlook as you can possibly get from someone wearing a white poppy, which just makes the link even more bizarre.

As for Mr Scheimann being “a German”, you may wish to reread the article and note the spelling of his first name (not “Mark”). He had two grandfathers, one one each side. Maybe there is a lesson here?

I must admit that I am not convinced by the white poppy.

The red poppy was initially, and is still properly, anything but a glorification of war. The white poppy message to “remember all victims of war” is already included, and the red poppy no longer features the name of Haig.

White poppy money goes to the Peace Pledge Union, a campaigning organisation for absolute pacifism (a cause to which I do not subscribe), rather than to a welfare charity of any kind.

What the white poppy means and what the viewer thinks it means are not necessarily the same; that is part of the problem. One hopes that Mr Scheimann meant them as a symbol of peace but a lot of people would interpret them as a symbol of cowardice and take offence.

This is touchingly naïve I’m afraid, the white poppy is usually opposed on the grounds of what it stands for – ie remembering all those senselessly killed by war (including Nazi conscripts, Afghans, Iraqi’s, innocent civilians caught in the crossfire etc), as such it’s often regarded by ‘patriots’ as being akin to treason. Hence why it provokes strong reactions in certain people and can be interpreted as a sign of disrespect.

Do white poppies actually symbolise cowardice, or is that just unconscious association with white feathers?

They only symbolise cowardice to those who love to bathe in the blood of others.

@16 Cylux

“…Hence why it provokes strong reactions in certain people and can be interpreted as a sign of disrespect.”

Which is why I prefer David White’s solution of wearing both poppies. For most of us, remembering those who died in the battlefield, and respecting those in the forces today equally want to see a world free of such conflict in the future. It is a very very important message to give those who have served in the army. If we can’t constructively challenge people’s thinking, then what is the point of the freedoms?

19. So Much for Subtlety

11. Cherub

White feathers have been symbols if cowardice for perhaps hundreds of years, white poppies were introduced as an alternative to red ones by the Peace Pledge Union after the Great War, I believe. I can understand the confusion due to the colour but it really only shows ignorance. There was never any disrespect intended.

Of course disrespect is intended. The purpose of the White Poppy was to draw attention away from the soldiers who died for this country and to focus on their “victims” instead. It is intended to remind people that soldiers who die for their country are fools who died needlessly.

If you can’t think why that might cause offense, well, so much the worse for you.

The way Remembrance is being hijacked is sinister, questionable and disrespectful of those it is supposed to commemorate.

British soldiers fought to defend a homophobic, racist, Imperial nation in both World Wars. That is not intended as a reflection of them, it is just the way it was. I would think most of them would be more comfortable with the BNP than any of the main parties today.

12. David White

God will damn anybody who takes action against those who preach peace.

The Peace Pledge Union, which raises money for itself by the sale of these poppies, argued that Nazi Germany should have been allowed to absorb Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands and France. They consistently supported appeasement – well after 1939. So tell me, do you think that the actions of people who were opposed to ending the Holocaust, and who worked hard to make sure no one could end the Holocaust, are pleasing to God?

20. So Much for Subtlety

18. David Hodd

For most of us, remembering those who died in the battlefield, and respecting those in the forces today equally want to see a world free of such conflict in the future. It is a very very important message to give those who have served in the army. If we can’t constructively challenge people’s thinking, then what is the point of the freedoms?

It is important to tell soldiers that what they are doing is immoral? Why? The White Poppy is not about wanting a world free from conflict. It is about opposing war in all shapes and forms, regardless of circumstances. So the PPU opposed resistance to Hitler. How did that work out as a formula for keeping the world free of conflict?

If you want to join the Moriori, by all means, please feel free to do so. I would prefer it if you did not free load on the rest of us, but that is the price we pay for living in a free society. But don’t pretend this is about a world without conflict. It is not. It is about making sure the West cannot defend itself and so we will go down like the Moriori.

Ben is either irredeemably stupid or a liar
If anyone else is (like Ben) reading this without having read my previous posts, I do *not* need to check where my information is coming from. I quoted my grandmother. End of debate!
Both her brothers were wounded on the Western Front and went back into action after coming out of hospital; one was awarded a medal (and two “mentioned in despatches”) the other was nominated for an MC but it was transferred to another officer in his regiment when he was invalided out (my grandfather was asthmatic so ineligible on medical grounds). My great-aunt never married because all her boyfriends were killed in The War
Ben DEMANDS that we use his interpretation of the white poppy and ignore all the pain suffered by those who fought and died and the pain of their families. WHY?
This is all about some single individual having a “right” to how he interprets a white poppy while banning (and asking for the brute force of the state to clobber anyone who disagree) any other views.
If Ben has the minimal intellect necessary to access the internet, how can he be so stupid that he cannot see that white poppies would be offensive?

@ Cylux
NOT touchingly naive – just living in the real world
IF you can read, try reading #5

@22 I did read your comment @5, from what I can infer you believe the outrage that a Freedom party candidate would express at white poppies would be due to mistaking them for a sign of cowardice, I instead give him the benefit of the doubt of knowing full well what they signify and opposing them on those grounds.

24. Chaise Guevara

@ John 77

“What the white poppy means and what the viewer thinks it means are not necessarily the same; that is part of the problem.”

Yes, but from what I’ve heard thus far, plus my own brief research online, there is no rational reason to believe people are using the white poppy to mean cowardice. ISTM that the people complaining are either making stuff up to fake a controversy, or were once genuinely mistaken but are now obstinately refusing to budge.

So however you look at it, I think it’s a way of exploiting Remembrance Day to smear pacificts.

25. Chaise Guevara

@21 John77

…Although having read your rabid attack on Ben I’m beginning to regret talking to you.

“If anyone else is (like Ben) reading this without having read my previous posts, I do *not* need to check where my information is coming from. I quoted my grandmother. End of debate!”

You claimed that they symbolise cowardice. I don’t think your grandmother is the Ultimate World Authority On The Meaning Of Symbols. So no, not end of debate.

“Ben DEMANDS that we use his interpretation of the white poppy…”

As far as I can tell, Ben is simply describing what the white poppy 1) was invented to mean, 2) is used to mean and 3) is normally interpreted to mean. If anyone’s demanding we use their interpretation, it’s you.

“…and ignore all the pain suffered by those who fought and died and the pain of their families. WHY?”

That’s a big fat lie and you know it.

“This is all about some single individual having a “right” to how he interprets a white poppy while banning (and asking for the brute force of the state to clobber anyone who disagree) any other views.”

Another complete and utter lie. Ben said nothing of the sort.

“If Ben has the minimal intellect necessary to access the internet, how can he be so stupid that he cannot see that white poppies would be offensive?”

If all you’ve got to support your argument is personal abuse, petulance, and blatant lies, perhaps you should just give it up.

26. uiyfytshdclj

I note that nobody has mentioned The British Legion’s position on white poppies: “is a matter of choice, the Legion doesn’t have a problem whether you wear a red one or a white one, both or none at all”.

As far as I’m concerned that covers it. If The Legion are ok, so am I.

27. Chaise Guevara

@ 26

Does your name stand for anything, by the way? Reminds me of “iylismwdyglt”.

@ Chaise
I am NOT demanding that every uses my interpretation. I am repeating that it is not only possible but an actual fact that different people can and do interpret a white poppy in different ways. It is not absurd to say some people associate the white poppy with the white flag because they do. The White Poppy was launched by the successors of the anti-conscription movement and taken up by the Peace Pladge Union which supported appeasement and, like its predecessor opposed conscription. For those living through WWII, the white poppy was the symbol of those who refused to fight. By no means all who refused to fight were cowards but many were and you cannot tell which ones were without reading minds.
I was *not* claiming my grandmother was the ultimate authority on symbols – I was saying that she would have been offended and considered white poppies an insult. On that point end of debate.
I object to Ben telling me that I need how to check where my information is coming from – I don’t have Alzheimer’s yet – but I particularly object to his telling what to think.
As far as *you* can tell Ben is simply …
But as far as *I* can tell he isn’t.

29. Chaise Guevara

@ 28 john77

“It is not absurd to say some people associate the white poppy with the white flag because they do.”

But if such a person were to ask the bearer of the white poppy about it, and the bearer told them “don’t worry, it symbolises peace, not cowardice”, that should be the end of the problem, right? Otherwise the person is just deliberately misinterpreting the bearer’s intent.

“The White Poppy was launched by the successors of the anti-conscription movement and taken up by the Peace Pladge Union which supported appeasement and, like its predecessor opposed conscription. For those living through WWII, the white poppy was the symbol of those who refused to fight.”

OK, now that might be an understandable reason for people associating it with cowardice. Have you got a source?

“I was *not* claiming my grandmother was the ultimate authority on symbols – I was saying that she would have been offended and considered white poppies an insult. On that point end of debate.”

So when Ben told you to check your info, you deliberately chose to interpret that as referring to your grandmother, the part of your post that he was logically least likely to be referring to? Even though he then went on to talk about whether the poppy means cowardice, rather than discussing your grandma? Why did you do that, then?

“I object to Ben telling me that I need how to check where my information is coming from – I don’t have Alzheimer’s yet”

Oh, for crying out loud. It’s possible to be misinformed without having a defective memory. If the very concept of basing beliefs on evidence offends you, you’re gonna go through life with some very wrong beliefs.

“but I particularly object to his telling what to think.”

He didn’t tell you what to think. He disagreed with you. You have also been disagreeing with people on this thread – are you telling them what to think? You’re entitled to an opinion, but so is everyone else. Get over it.

“As far as *you* can tell Ben is simply …
But as far as *I* can tell he isn’t.”

Yes, but I’m making an honest attempt to intepret everyone’s words accurately, whereas you’ve already gone out of your way to twist Ben’s words – or completely make up things he’s meant to have said – to smear him. Several times now. You’ve made at least three ridiculous accusations against them, two of which I would consider very offensive if levelled at me. So your alleged opinion on what he’s saying carries zero weight as far as I’m concerned.

@ Chaise
If I only quoted one source just how can it be that it is least likely to be the source that Ben referred to?
When I am quoting what I personally have seen and heard how can I be misinformed without a defective memory?
I don’t tell people what to think – but I sometimes tell them to think.
Of course I had sources 50 years ago – they aren’t transmittable by internet and most of them are dead by now but if you use Wikipedia you can get corroboration. No More War movement, white poppy, Peace Pledge Union. PPU would rather hand Europe over to Hitler than fight.
I made a statement of fact. Ben called a slightly twisted version of what I said absurd. It wasn’t what I said but it is not absurd. The PPU is associated with cowardice and consequently so is the white poppy to many people.
“But if such a person were to ask the bearer of the white poppy about it, and the bearer told them “don’t worry, it symbolises peace, not cowardice”, that should be the end of the problem, right? Otherwise the person is just deliberately misinterpreting the bearer’s intent.”
At a Remembrance Sunday service/parade with, typically, 300-500 people it isn’t actually practicable to get over to the opposite side to ask someone wearing a white poppy why they are doing so. So your solution is a bit too facile. I do not defend those *deliberately* misinterpreting the intended meaning when I state that some people associate it with cowardice.
I could have ranted more because the *Red* Poppy is a reminder that War is a terrible thing. It was chosen because the blood-red Flanders poppies were growing on the graves of so many tens of thousands and to say that “It is just as much a symbol of remembrance as the Red one, with the added nuance that those wearing it also remember that war itself is a terrible thing” is just plain wrong and also mildly offensive because it implies that those wearing red poppies ignore their core meassage.

31. Chaise Guevara

@ 30 john77

“If I only quoted one source just how can it be that it is least likely to be the source that Ben referred to?”

He was referring to your lack of sources.

“When I am quoting what I personally have seen and heard how can I be misinformed without a defective memory?”

Will you PLEASE stop with this insane straw man that Ben was claiming you’ve hallucinated a conversation with your grandmother?

“I don’t tell people what to think – but I sometimes tell them to think.”

That’s an incredibly trite and self-absorbed way of saying that it’s one rule for you and one for everyone else.

In any case, it remains the fact that if Ben told you what to think, you’re just as guilty of telling everyone else what to think in your first comment. To be honest, “Don’t tell me what to think!” exists as a phrase mainly because people use it to dodge the issue. It’s a bit like “You think you’re better than me?”

“Of course I had sources 50 years ago – they aren’t transmittable by internet and most of them are dead by now but if you use Wikipedia you can get corroboration.”

T’internet tells me that PPU support the White Poppy (hardly surprising), but I still don’t see anything to suggest that the PPU would be the first thing most people would think of upon seeing it.

And then it’s a HUGE leap to say “the people involved in the White Poppy campaign are cowards; ergo they are calling dead soldiers cowards by placing White Poppies”. You’re confusing the actor with the target.

“I made a statement of fact. Ben called a slightly twisted version of what I said absurd. It wasn’t what I said but it is not absurd. The PPU is associated with cowardice and consequently so is the white poppy to many people.”

How do you actually know that – that “many people” make that association? In the case in the OP, how likely does it sound that this BFP guy had not come across the issue before, giving him a chance to discover that he had misinterpreted the intent behind the poppies?

“At a Remembrance Sunday service/parade with, typically, 300-500 people it isn’t actually practicable to get over to the opposite side to ask someone wearing a white poppy why they are doing so. So your solution is a bit too facile.”

More facile than shouting abuse across the Cenotaph? Well, I assume that isn’t what you’d do, so what better solution do you have?

“I do not defend those *deliberately* misinterpreting the intended meaning when I state that some people associate it with cowardice.”

OK, good.

“I could have ranted more because the *Red* Poppy is a reminder that War is a terrible thing…”

I have some sympathy with you here. I get that you feel that the White Poppy is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist, and that as such it falsely implies that said problem does exist. If you, personally, wear the Red Poppy and do not glorify war, I can see why the White Poppy might irk you.

The complication, though, is that people feel that the Red Poppy has been appropriated as a symbol by militaristic groups. As such, they feel that it has come to represent support for war, in much the same way that you feel that the White Poppy has come to mean cowardice. It’s a bit like how many people are now uncomfortable with the St George’s Cross because of its association with the NF.

Please note, however, that there’s a difference between choosing not to wear Red Poppies yourself and haranguing other people for their decision to wear White Poppies. And vice versa, of course.

People who confuse white feathers and white poppy’s are morons and not to be taken seriously. And claiming they had a chin wag with their granny so that ends debate are just being air heads.

The red poppy has been hyjacked by the right wing, to promote modern wars for oil and resources. There is also a creeping red poppy fetish promoted by the usual suspects. Hence why NO ONE can go on TV without a red poppy. Some people resent this and wear white poppys.

It obviously drives the red poppy fetishists bat shit insane. And this little freedom party thug blew a fuse. Personally, I find most people who call their parties freedom something are usually the last people to respect freedom.

@ Chaise
I admit that I am occasionally arrogant but I never claim to read minds. Ben was referring to my lack of sources?? How can you know that and, if you can, how could he know that I lacked sources (which I did not).
The white poppy was sold to raise money for the PPU, which was associated in many people’s minds with cowardice. So I stated in #9 that a lot of people would associate white poppies with cowardice and take offence at them in a Remembrance Sunday service. My sources for that were a number of people who had lived through one or both Wars. I quoted one (the one that I thought would be a totally uncontroversial choice).
#9 does not say everyone *should* think that white poppies mean cowardice: it says that some people *do* think that. Ben started off by saying I am wrong, then that it is absurd to associate the white poppy with cowardice. He rejects the possibility that others may view the white poppy differently from him: hence I complained that he was telling me what to think. He then severely misrepresented my second-hand criticism of white feathers, which was not linked in any way to the white poppy (which started 8-12 years later): ante hoc ergo propter hoc just doesn’t work. Ben sneered because I allegedly failed to deduce from the German-Swiss, as distinct from English, spelling of Mr Schiemann’s first name that he was not German.
My intemperate rant was provoked, severely provoked.
“More facile than shouting abuse across the Cenotaph? Well, I assume that isn’t what you’d do, so what better solution do you have?”
See #9 to support your assumption (but, on top of that, shouting across the Cenotaph causes offence in itself). I don’t have a solution: I think wearing white poppies at a Remembrance Day Service is in bad taste but I should have to put up with it because we live in a free country and Remembrance is about those who died so that we have a free country.
To clarify: I don’t think that most wearers of the white poppy do so to signify cowardice. I just take note that for some people, particularly widows of conscripts, the white poppy is irredeemably associated with cowardice and no-one (especially not me) has any right to tell them what to think.
If the BFP guy acted as stated in the OP, rather than as stated in the Luton News which reports that he complained to the police in advance of the ceremony, then his behaviour was disgusting.

There is also a creeping red poppy fetish promoted by the usual suspects. Hence why NO ONE can go on TV without a red poppy.

That’s also why one year, out of the gravest respect for the war dead, the Saturdays were invited to frolic about half-naked in a sea of poppies, and the judges on X-factor (at the request of the British Legion) took to wearing grotesque poppy fashion items.

I personally wear a red poppy but carry a white feather in my pocket on Remembrance Day; the men you dismiss as “cowards” suffered imprisonment and sometimes death at the hands of many different governments during the first world war. My great-great uncle was one of these. For me, it does not diminish the sacrifice of those who fought in the wars. But it does show that we should not just remember those who fought and died, but those who had the guts and bravery to stand up for what they believed in. The white poppy is so much more inclusive of all those that have died than the red.

john77: “I don’t think that most wearers of the white poppy do so to signify cowardice. I just take note that for some people, particularly widows of conscripts, the white poppy is irredeemably associated with cowardice”

But by the same token the wearing of hoodies should be banned because lots of old ladies believe they signify thuggery and crime. Which would be ridiculous. I think you are tying yourself in knots here trying to claim to object to white poppies for one reason when in fact it’s about another.

SMFS is at least being reasonably direct about it and saying he finds white poppies offensive because he hates pacifists for various reasons. I suspect that’s pretty much why the EDL/BFP guy hates them.

@ 36 jungle
There is indeed a case for banning hoodies since some young thugs use them to hide their face and think that by so doing they can commit crimes without being caught. That is irrelevant to the debate. Especially as I have not advocated the banning of white poppies. Yet another complaint about something I did not say.

SMFS: “It is important to tell soldiers that what they are doing is immoral? Why?”

Well, if you think it IS immoral, it’s obviously pretty important to your view of these issues. Typically soldiers do things which have major consequences. Besides, disagreeing with soldiers’ orders doesn’t mean hating the soldiers. As everyone knows, soldiers follow orders, they don’t make them up themselves. I know a couple of pacifists who were originally motivated to become pacifists by the loss of friends or family who joined the armed forces.

Saying pacifism is an ungrateful insult to all soldiers is like saying being in favour of civil liberties is an ungrateful insult to all police officers.

“The White Poppy is not about wanting a world free from conflict. It is about opposing war in all shapes and forms, regardless of circumstances. So the PPU opposed resistance to Hitler. How did that work out as a formula for keeping the world free of conflict?”

Well, erm, obviously success does depend on there being lots of pacifists in the other country too. Ultimately the reason pacifism doesn’t work (and the reason I’m not a pacifist) is the existence of people – of all nations – who decide that pacifists are basically an extension of enemy forces and persecute them as traitors. You, for instance, or Stalin.

I’m not a pacifist because I think it’s unworkable as a method of ending war, but I’m not about to call them traitors for being idealists.

39. So Much for Subtlety

32. Sally

The red poppy has been hyjacked by the right wing, to promote modern wars for oil and resources.

Actually it is the other way around – British soldiers and especially British veterans have been abandoned by the Left, ever since smart arses in the 1960s saw them as fit subjects for humour and then started accusing them of war crimes in the 1970s, and so left the field open to the Right. It has only been recently that the Left has not approved more of people who spit on soldiers than of soldiers themselves.

There is also a creeping red poppy fetish promoted by the usual suspects. Hence why NO ONE can go on TV without a red poppy. Some people resent this and wear white poppys.

That must be why John Snow was fired decades ago. Even by your standards Sally, which is not saying much, this is asinine.

40. So Much for Subtlety

38. jungle

Well, if you think it IS immoral, it’s obviously pretty important to your view of these issues.

Sure but you don’t have to tell people. We all have small hypocrisies and silences. We don’t go around sharing what is not socially acceptable. Although obviously anyone who thinks being a soldier is immoral is a moron and it may just be a cry for help.

Typically soldiers do things which have major consequences.

So does driving a car. Being a police officer. Or a doctor. Big deal.

Besides, disagreeing with soldiers’ orders doesn’t mean hating the soldiers.

No but hating soldiers means hating soldiers. Or in this case, thinking what they are doing is immoral is thinking what they are doing is immoral.

Saying pacifism is an ungrateful insult to all soldiers is like saying being in favour of civil liberties is an ungrateful insult to all police officers.

I don’t say that. I say insulting soldiers is insulting soldiers. And being a pacifist is an intellectually lazy conceit in an overly protective dying society.

Well, erm, obviously success does depend on there being lots of pacifists in the other country too.

So it was delusional in 1939. And yet they did it anyway.

Ultimately the reason pacifism doesn’t work (and the reason I’m not a pacifist) is the existence of people – of all nations – who decide that pacifists are basically an extension of enemy forces and persecute them as traitors. You, for instance, or Stalin.

Well no. I don’t persecute them for one. The other is that pacifism is stupid. You have things. Other people want them. If they steal them by themselves or with a mate, they are thieves. But if you defend yourself they will come back with twelve mates and re-invent war. As long as human beings exist, people like you will have stuff and other people will want it. They can and will take it by force if they are allowed to. Pacifists are people who refuse to take responsibility or defend themselves while hiding behind the sacrifices of others – others they despise.

I’m not a pacifist because I think it’s unworkable as a method of ending war, but I’m not about to call them traitors for being idealists.

Oswald Mosely was an idealist. So was Eric Hobsbawm when he worked for the Soviets to oppose the Finn’s defiance of Stalin – and presumably Britain’s war effort in 1940 as well. You don’t think either of these verge close to treason? I don’t call anyone a traitor for their idealism. I call traitors traitors for their treason. Although I don’t recall calling any of the White Poppy lot traitors lately.

41. Chaise Guevara

@ 33 John77

“I admit that I am occasionally arrogant but I never claim to read minds. Ben was referring to my lack of sources?? How can you know that…”

Um, YOU presumed he was talking about your Grandma. Ooh, look, it’s one rule for you and another for everyone else again! When you do it it’s reasonable, when others do it it’s mind-reading!

I don’t know for a fact that he meant your lack of sources. I have simply done my best to interpret him to the best of my judgement, based on the context of what he said. You, on the other hand, have deliberately interpreted his statement in the worst possible light, because smearing your opponent is easier that debating them honestly.

“…and, if you can, how could he know that I lacked sources (which I did not).”

Yes you did. Not a single source in your statement @5, just an anecdotal statement about what your grandmother “would have thought” (so that sounds like conjecture too, not that it matters). You may have had sources you were keeping quiet about, but that’s not the same thing.

“The white poppy was sold to raise money for the PPU, which was associated in many people’s minds with cowardice. So I stated in #9 that a lot of people would associate white poppies with cowardice and take offence at them in a Remembrance Sunday service. My sources for that were a number of people who had lived through one or both Wars. I quoted one (the one that I thought would be a totally uncontroversial choice).”

You’re the one petulantly turning it into a controversy by pretending Ben is arguing with you about what your Grandma thought. Don’t contrive a controversy then complain about the thing you’ve created.

“#9 does not say everyone *should* think that white poppies mean cowardice: it says that some people *do* think that.”

I know. I’m just not convinced that the number of people who do so is large.

“Ben started off by saying I am wrong, then that it is absurd to associate the white poppy with cowardice. He rejects the possibility that others may view the white poppy differently from him: hence I complained that he was telling me what to think.”

I think this is another flat-out lie. Show me where Ben rejected the possibility that others may view it differently to him. Quote him on it, or admit that you’re lying.

“He then severely misrepresented my second-hand criticism of white feathers, which was not linked in any way to the white poppy (which started 8-12 years later): ante hoc ergo propter hoc just doesn’t work.”

You connected them in post 5. Your entire basis, at that point, for saying that white poppies symbolise cowardice was the fact that white feathers upset your grandma.

“Ben sneered because I allegedly failed to deduce from the German-Swiss, as distinct from English, spelling of Mr Schiemann’s first name that he was not German.”

I admit that was silly point-scoring on his part.

“My intemperate rant was provoked, severely provoked.”

Seriously, dude, if someone disagreeing with you is severe provocation in your mind, you’ve got problems.

“See #9 to support your assumption (but, on top of that, shouting across the Cenotaph causes offence in itself). I don’t have a solution: I think wearing white poppies at a Remembrance Day Service is in bad taste but I should have to put up with it because we live in a free country and Remembrance is about those who died so that we have a free country.”

Entirely fair, but if you have no solution to offer you are in no position to dismiss mine as “facile”. Because if you have a reasonable belief that my solution is bad, that by definition means that you have a better idea in mind. Otherwise you’re like someone who refuses to cook but complains about the meal.

“To clarify: I don’t think that most wearers of the white poppy do so to signify cowardice. I just take note that for some people, particularly widows of conscripts, the white poppy is irredeemably associated with cowardice and no-one (especially not me) has any right to tell them what to think.”

Nobody’s telling anybody what to think. “Telling people what to think” is just your code for “people saying things I don’t like”. It grows tiresome.

“If the BFP guy acted as stated in the OP, rather than as stated in the Luton News which reports that he complained to the police in advance of the ceremony, then his behaviour was disgusting.”

Agreed.

@ Chaise
” If you are confusing peace campaigners sometimes *being* denigrated as cowards with them denigrating *others*, you really are due a rethink.”
*That* is telling me what to think.
Now, I wasn’t confusing it in posts #5 and #9 but he is saying I need to think otherwise.
absurd: highly unreasonable, illogical (source OED – sorry can’t give an URL, but if you don’t play Scrabble your local library should have a copy).
So anyone who thinks that a symbol sold to finance the PPU represents cowardice is failing to (or incapable of) using logical thought in this context. I gather from other posts that you are too young to remember the PPU in the 30s and early 40s but the survivors are heavily represented at Remembrance Day Services (just look around and you can see that).
“with the added nuance that those wearing it also remember”
So when I wear a Red Poppy I don’t remember that War is terrible, but he wears a a white one he does …
Actually, come to think of it, that *is* denigrating others.
“As for the mistaken association with the white feather”
Well, I didn’t mistakenly associate them – I suppose that I indirectly associated them as mistaken labels of cowardice “which just makes the link even more bizarre.” who is misinterpreting ans smearing?

43. Chaise Guevara

@ 42 John77

“*That* is telling me what to think.”

I’ve said my piece on this double-standard of yours, not going to repeat myself.

“absurd: highly unreasonable, illogical (source OED – sorry can’t give an URL, but if you don’t play Scrabble your local library should have a copy).
So anyone who thinks that a symbol sold to finance the PPU represents cowardice is failing to (or incapable of) using logical thought in this context.”

Oh joy, a dictionary war. Truly the most fun you can have on the internet. This doesn’t add up to “telling you what to think” anyway, so I’m not sure what point you’re making.

“I gather from other posts that you are too young to remember the PPU in the 30s and early 40s but the survivors are heavily represented at Remembrance Day Services”

Fair point and could be a factor.

“So when I wear a Red Poppy I don’t remember that War is terrible, but he wears a a white one he does …
Actually, come to think of it, that *is* denigrating others.”

I think you’re misreading him there. I know he describes it as “added nuance” but, based on principle of charity, I doubt he meant that therefore nobody wearing a red poppy feels the same. If he comes back on thread we could check.

“Well, I didn’t mistakenly associate them – I suppose that I indirectly associated them as mistaken labels of cowardice”

The comment read as if you were saying they were equivalent: to me as well as Ben. OK, so that wasn’t what you meant. But in that case, why didn’t you mention that in your reply to Ben? It would have instantly resolved that part of the issue. Instead you failed to explain it and instead responded with what amounts to “She was my gran so shut up!” – which is utterly irrelevant to whether white feathers are equivalent to white poppies.

So were you trying to draw out a fight by hiding your beliefs, or are you now changing your beliefs to avoid admitting you were wrong?

““which just makes the link even more bizarre.” who is misinterpreting ans smearing?”

Still you, I’m afraid. Describing your beliefs (mistaken or otherwise) as “absurd” and “bizarre” is not the height of courtesy, but it’s several miles away from the vindictive slander that seems to be your stock in trade. You have said things on this thread that are very offensive (about Ben, not me) – far more than simple insults could be – with no apparent basis for them, and failed to defend or withdraw them when I called you on it. For you to complain about this is like the pot calling the washing machine black.

@ Chaise
omitted from analysis of “Ben”
It is not unreasonable to describe your solution as facile. Any actual solution is harder. One is to tell “peace” campaigners – and get them to listen – that white poppies at a Remembrance Day service will cause offence to a significant minority of those attending. Mine is to say that those offended have to put with it because we want a free country that tolerates those that disagree with us. A third is to ban any speech or action that may cause offence on racial religious or disability-related grounds that should allow disabled ex-servicemen to say whether they were offended by “peace” campaigners. Thank heavens that the British Legion has set its face against this last.
“You may have had sources you were keeping quiet about, but that’s not the same thing.”
NO just No. Do I need to include the download from a digital camera when I say “it’s dark outside” at midnight. If the data is not uploaded onto the internet with an URL does it cease to exist? I am not quoting “Chatham House rules” although you might want to think about how you square the claim that omitting to quote my sources means that I have no sources with those. On a blog with pseudonyms, do you *really* demand that I quote the names of the parents of my friends, the friends of my parents (large overlap), my schoolteachers, war veterans attending the church down the road (literally) etc?
I never said that white poppies indicated cowardice because white feathers did. I said that my grandmother was hurt by false allegations of cowardice. Incidentally, if you have never seen claims that some of those who accepted conscription rather than go to jail as conchies did so because they were afraid, you are luckier than I. I am willing to believe than peer pressure caused some unwilling to fight to accept conscription but life in the trenches was so much worse than jail that sticking it out for a second week, let alone years, demanded courage.

@ Chaise
You asked me to quote where “Ben” tells me what to think
I did so
Until Cambridge produces a dictionary I can’t go into a dictionary war.
“But in that case, why didn’t you mention that in your reply to Ben”
Firstly, because it was nearly midnight and I had lost my temper with some kid who started off my by calling me a liar and then followed up with a series of major inaccuracies, finishing with an inappropriate sneer; secondly that didn’t occur to me at the time: I thought that they were two astronomically separated topics. My grandmother was far from the outrageous individuals who went round pinning white feathers on men but was offended by the white poppy symbol of the PPU at remembrance of those soldiers who died in WWII.

“So were you trying to draw out a fight by hiding your beliefs, or are you now changing your beliefs to avoid admitting you were wrong?”
I was going to say that I do not change my beliefs, except as to the unimaginable stupidity of other bloggers (I accept that Sally can say unimaginable things) but I recall J M Keynes stating that when the facts change he changes his opinions. I think that I have admitted to being wrong when you* pointed out that I had failed to notice evidence.

*Somewhere on this site, at least twice, and you are the most likely source for a factual refutation of error

@ Chaise
There is *nothing* wrong with #5 or #9: 90-odd% is a simple statement of fact: the balance is saying we should accept/tolerate Mr Scheimann.
So, why do you not criticise “Ben” for saying that I am wrong?
I do not say that members of the PPU were all cowards – I think that most of them were naive (and a few were stupid) but that some were cowards and that those who mourn soldiers who died in WWII may take offence at white poppies sold to support the PPU
How would you feel if St George’s flags were sold to finance the BNP? And that’s not half as offensive.
I came onto this thread saying that *if* the OP’s comment (as distinct from the Luton News report) was correct the BFP’s candidate’s bahaviour was unacceptable.It seems that is only acceptable if one attaches a rant that ignores reality

47. Chaise Guevara

John

All right, let’s back up. We’re arguing more about the argument than about the issue itself, and that’s never a good sign.

What you called a facile solution was not actually intended as a solution as such, or at least not a complete one. You introduced that description and I failed to catch the inaccuracy. It was merely meant as advice for a hypothetical person who gets offended at the sight of a White Poppy – ask before you fly off the handle.

Obviously I don’t expect you to post a bunch of personal details. Privacy issues aside, they wouldn’t constitute evidence. What I meant was that, if the White Poppy is used to symbolise cowardice, there should be evidence of that online – either direct examples, or citations in some Wiki or another. It would be odd if the association was limited solely to people you know personally.

Regarding your reasons for not pointing out what you meant about feathers and poppies – fair enough. I have to admit that I’m probably placing more responsibility for the conversation on you than Ben, because you and I have been arguing for some time. That’s bias, and I apologise for it.

That line about changing your opinions when the facts change may originally have been a comeback, but as far as I’m concerned it’s one of the best mottoes any of us could live by. I don’t remember specific occasions offhand, but I do remember you as being a generally reasonable poster.

I don’t see anything to criticise in Ben’s post from a factual standpoint – if he’s wrong about anything, I don’t know it. He was rude, however.

St. George’s Cross and the BNP – I would resent the BNP selling the flag to raise funds (I’d also question what the “B” stands for in their name), but I wouldn’t judge other people who also showed the flag. Well, ok, that’s not quite true. I do in fact get cagey around those flags unless there’s a big sports tournament on, precisely because I suspect people of unpleasant views when they show them. And now I come to think of it, that’s pretty similar to your reaction to the White Poppy, with the caveat that I’ve seen plenty of people in this day of age use the flag to display fascism, but never seen anyone use the poppy to symbolise cowardice. But I shouldn’t judge people for it: it’s a gut reaction, and not one that I’m proud of.

@ Chaise
Thanks
I accept 90+% of you comment – the main difference is my personally being seriously offended by people who hijack the St George’s Cross.
I do not condone attacks (verbal or otherwise) on those wearing the white poppy: I just ask that people will recognise that others have a different view.

49. Chaise Guevara

@ 48

Cool. Just to be clear, when I say I try not to judge people who use the St. George Cross, I mean people who might be waving/wearing it out of honest patriotism.

I am very happy to judge those who use it as a fascist symbol.


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