A few years ago I wrote about how I felt a sense of resentment at the moral pressure to wear a poppy at this time of year. The Paddington stares of disapproval if you did not wear one were just becoming a little too sanctimonious. There seemed a race by broadcasters, politicians and other virtue signallers to be the first to display a dash of red on their lapel. Why wait for November 11 when you can start wearing a poppy in early October? In fact why not buy one in September?
However, I generally did wear one. Partly that was to annoy Guardian reading friends of my Mrs who used words like nationalism and imperialism when they saw the flower appear. And partly because I have real respect for the ordinary men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. However pointless the conflict, and World War One was the ultimate in pointless wars, those who fell were brave and believed they were doing the right thing in serving their country, whichever country that was. They have my respect.
How things have changed in just a few years. The left is resurgent. And so we see the Rev Steve Bailey of Oadby banning Onward Christian Soldiers from his Remembrance day service lest it offend folks of other faiths. The only non Christian who regularly attends Bailey's Armistice Day service is a Hindu veteran who things the vicar is a loon. Of course he is.
Over in the little read and patronising rag that is the dreary Independent last year, perennial loon Robert Fisk argued that the poppy was racist since it was largely worn by we Brexit lovers who want to throw our wartime allies (the Poles etc) out of Britain. Of course we do not and have never said we would and outside the media bubble millions of ordinary folks wear poppies as a quiet sign of respect for men of all races and all colours who died fighting for their country. They have nothing to do with Brexit or racism or anything bad.
There may be a few racists who wear poppies but that does not mean they own the flower. This is the sort of logic that for many years saw metropolitan elitists like Fisk shun the National Flag since it had "become the symbol of the extreme right". Of course it had not and eventually that idiotic thinking was abandoned.
In the face of more pressure from folks who are wrong on every great issue of our time to wear no poppy or a white poppy, my mind is made up. It is a red poppy for me with money going to a good cause, my respects for the dead paid and my contempt for an increasing number of the living demonstrated..