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Poppies and the Prime Minister

On the 1st July this year, Downing Street issued this photo of the prime minister. On the 2nd of November this year, Downing Street re-issued the same photo with a poppy photoshopped in.

Twitter's been having a field day with it. I am just astonished by the whole thing. Downing Street removed the photo after it was observed on social media, claiming it was 'an oversight.'

It's not an oversight. No-one accidentally sat down and decided to add random flowers to the Prime Minister's suit. It was an attempt to make a false claim about the Prime Minister. Whether one considers the poppy important or not, fact is, he wasn't wearing a poppy for the photo. There's no particular need for him to do so, Poppies are for Remembrance Sunday and the 11th Day of the 11th month, so lacking a poppy now is no show of disrespect. Faking the presence of a poppy is extremely disrespectful, suggesting someone wants to be seen as caring, but not enough tobuy a paper flower to fund care of forces members and their families. Why don't we all just photoshop poppies onto photos of ourselves, and then photoshop meals onto photos of soldiers in need?

'Lest we forget,' is why we wear the poppy. Ironic, considering that someone in Downing Street has actually forgotten. All they care about is the almost automatic positive response the sight of a poppy evinces in the average Brit, as if we are a population of Pavlov's dogs, and the poppy is a bone to make us salivate. The historian Niall Ferguson commented that Britain should never have entered the First World War, and he's right, it was a hideous failure of politics and diplomacy. There were many antagonistic responses to him, though I didn't see any from veterans. Those who actually experienced the horror of it are pretty much all dead, so it seems we can start treating it like a jolly old ripping yarn, and giving it a glamour that can't be shamed by experience. And as to how we really treat our servicemen and women?


If this is who we are and what we do, if we forget this, you might as well keep that photoshopped poppy Mr Cameron. It is a far better symbol for us than the real thing.



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