As ever at this time of year, it is Remembrance weekend. It is a time to wear your poppy with pride, and remember those who gave their lives in two world wars for our freedom. This year, of course, is the 100th anniversary of the end of WWII.
Well, this is what we are told. Other people, including myself, have different opinions, but cannot express them because the resultant threats and hate mail are just not wanted.
This year there is a white poppy. Rather than the red, which is, if you like, a celebration of war, it is a pacifist symbol, worn by people who are anti-war and yet still wish to remember those who gave their lives.
You can see more about it here: https://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/news/local-news/people-wear-white-poppies-what-2202488
It has caused some controversy. People who appear on television are expected to wear red poppies. If they choose to not wear a poppy, they get abuse. I am told, but I can find no evidence of this, that white poppies are generally banned on tv and elsewhere. Wearers have been told that it is disrespectful.
The BBC has certainly banned presenters on the international news services from wearing poppies (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1361358/BBC-defends-ban-on-TV-presenters-wearing-poppies.html). It is a UK thing and can be deeply offensive to other countries.
There are a lot of films that celebrate war. One film that certainly does not is Oh! What a Lovely War. Sadly, I have never seen the stage play on which is is based (but here is a version of it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCqEemad4gc). As far as I am aware, it shows more than any other film what happened during WWI, the futility of war and the conditions the troops lived in. It is a fantasy, but the events and the words of senior people are taken from true records.
I first saw this when it came out in the late 1960s, on a school O level History trip. Our History teacher hated it: “Too anti-war”, he said.
We know that politicians like war. A war unites a country. It distracts people from the other bad things in their lives. WWI estimates for deaths say 16 million.