Where have all the poppies gone?

britain-soccer-fifa-poppiesAhead of  the England vs Scotland game Mark Perryman responds to FIFA’s Poppies ban

The last time England played Scotland in a competitive match at Hampden Park, in November, 1999, it was preceded by none of the manufactured row about whether the teams should have poppies embroidered on their shirts. The tabloids were more interested in a good old-fashioned football rivalry instead. The Sun greeting the fixture with the headline ‘Jocks Away’ while north of the border the Daily Record sought to put England manager Kevin Keegan’s over-confidence in its place with ‘Boastbusters’ with the unforgettable tagline ‘Scots v The Auld Enemy : See Pages 2,3,4,5,6.7,62,63,64,65,66, 67 & 68.’ This was pre-Salmond and Sturgeon, the irresistible rise of the SNP and the near wipeout of Scottish Labour MPs. And it was before UKip’s forward march too. Culminating in Brexit, a populist version of English nationalism against all things that Europe, and Scotland, seems to represent in terms of broadly social-democratic values versus a neoliberal free-for-all. Continue reading

War is never glorious, so why do we bully those who protest against poppy culture?

The surest way of finding oneself on the wrong side of our moral enforcers is, with words or with actions, to have caused a sacred group or individual of great national esteem “offence”.

From this starting point your fate is very much dependent upon whom it is you have had the misfortune to upset. Celebrities are generally fair game, as are politicians. Sport is a little more complicated, with footballers deemed worthy of a good proverbial kicking but Olympians for some reason beyond reproach. The police and the military, however, well – when it comes to “Bobbies” or “Our Boys” you can collectively bid adieu to every vestige of proportion, reason and restraint. Continue reading