Britain’s Poppy Fascism

tony-blair_wash_handsIt’s that time of year again – when Britain’s “poppy fascism” dominates public life. Television presenters are perhaps the most conspicuous exponents, whereby the paper facsimile of the little red flower must be donned on all lapels.

Now weeks ahead of the official commemoration day, more and more Britons, including TV personalties, are pinning the poppy in public.

It may seem innocuous, but there is a disturbing authoritarianism to the increasing custom. Those who don’t wear the symbol commemorating Britain’s war dead are liable to be castigated and abused for being “traitors”.

The BBC is a classic example. The publicly owned state broadcaster says that its presenters and reporters have the option of not wearing the red poppy. But in practice such is the peer pressure and jingoistic mood of modern Britain that all BBC staff will have to conform to a personal display of the red floral tribute. Bet on it.

Some brave television figures refuse to go along with the established “norm”. It was Channel 4 news presenter Jon Snow who coined the phrase “poppy fascism” a few years ago when he was publicly berated by BBC journalists and other media outlets for refusing to don the flower during his nightly broadcasts. It remains to be seen if the Channel 4 news anchor will this year cave to public pressure – a pressure which seems to be growing every year.Ever since 1919, Britain and its Commonwealth states, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand hold Remembrance Day on November 11.

It marks the armistice of the First World War in 1918. The first commemoration was held by Britain’s King George V who wore a red poppy, thus inaugurating a tradition that continues to this day. The delicate flower was commonly seen on the battlefields of Belgium and France and came to symbolise the millions of soldiers killed during the four-year-old war.

Across Britain, Remembrance Day is marked by sombre ceremonies in towns and cities during which poppy wreathes are laid at war memorials. The biggest event is held at the Cenotaph in London’s Whitehall. Queen Elizabeth, Prime Minister David Cameron and other political leaders will be among the chief dignitaries, along with senior members of Britain’s armed forces.

So what, you may ask, is objectionable about Britain’s annual Remembrance?

In its early observance, the event was indeed a momentous mourning for the millions who died in the First World War. It was an occasion to vow “never again” should mankind be plagued with such horror.

However, the massive demonstration of grieving and repudiation of war has since given way to an obscene glorification of war. The danger of such co-option was there from the beginning when King George V led the first Remembrance Day. For the British monarch – whose cousins included Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II and other European aristocrats – personified the basic background to the conflict. It was an imperialist squabble that exploded into a conflagration that consumed up to 18 million ordinary civilians among the warring nations.

From the very outset therefore, the British commemoration was an opportune way to rehabilitate the monarch and the state’s ruling class who had largely precipitated the war, along with their European elites.It is a heinous indictment that only two decades after the end of the First World War, the world would be plunged into an even greater conflagration of the Second World War, which resulted in nearly 80 million dead – more than four-fold more. The subsequent war had its antecedents in the imperialist rivalries of the first. Why a second more terrible war should happen was because the war-making imperialist state apparatus had never been held to account. The British rulers were able to deftly reinvent themselves in the eyes of their public as “victors” instead of being seen, as they should have been, as warmongering villains.

To be fair to honourable exceptions, many genuine anti-war Britons were aware of the disgraceful and dangerous co-option by the ruling class. During the 1920s, a movement began which saw war remembrances conducted with white poppies, instead of the red ones that came to be associated with the official event. White poppies are still worn to this day and that tradition has been reinvigorated by campaign groups like Stop the War Coalition.

Nevertheless, Britain has become a discernibly more jingoistic country in which the red poppy has taken on an Orwellian symbolism. Television presenters are dragooned into wearing it, schools and workplace are expected to display it. It has become a badge of loyalty to the state, and those who decline to wear the poppy are fingered as treacherous or disrespectful to “our troops”.

A major cause of the cultural shift is that Britain has become a more warmongering state over the past 20 years. True, it was always a belligerent state, playing the bulldog role to the more powerful and even more warmongering United States.

But former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s criminal partnership with Washington in invading Afghanistan and Iraq has unleashed a virtual permanent state of war. British troops are still stationed in Afghanistan and will be for at least another year. Blair’s warmongering has been continued by David Cameron who launched NATO strikes on Libya in 2011 and who is moving to deploy British warplanes to bomb Syria – without the consent of the Syrian government.

When Cameron joins Queen Elizabeth in laying wreathes at the Cenotaph in London, they will be followed in their footsteps by former British prime ministers, including Tony Blair. Together, they will be honouring not only the dead of the First World War, but British veterans who took part in all subsequent wars, including the destruction of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya and countless other colonial wars in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Britain’s dirty war in Northern Ireland will also be exonerated.In other words, this is not a solemn regret for the dead or for war.

Not a bit of it. It is the warmongering British capitalist state apparatus indulging in an exercise of sanitising Britain’s history of illegal wars, including its present role in Syria. It deifies the war criminal class, which is then “authorised” to keep repeating its crimes. If that’s not fascism, then what is?

Britain’s official war commemoration is certainly not a fitting tribute to victims of war. Because if it were then there would a commitment to stopping wars. But as history shows, Britain’s warmongering has proliferated over the years. That in turn is because the upper echelons of British class society use war commemorations as a cloak to hide their vile belligerence.

A fitting Remembrance Day would be for British citizens to call for the prosecution of Tony Blair and David Cameron as war criminals.

But when British news channels are falling over themselves to wear red poppies out of unthinking “loyalty” or fear of being labelled traitors – that shows how disturbingly authoritarian and conformist British society has become.


By Finian Cunningham

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik and Democraticus Online.

Source: http://sputniknews.com/columnists/20151028/1029212907/britain-poppy-fascism.html#ixzz3q52Wtmjf

Join the debate on our Twitter Timeline!

Churchill on Palestinians

RELATED POSTS
Bellamy Salute in the U.S.
The Bellamy salute is the salute described by Francis Bellamy, Christian socialist minister and author, to accompany the American Pledge of Allegiance, which he had authored. During the period when it was used with the Pledge of Allegiance, it was sometimes known as the "flag salute". Later, during the 1920s and 1930s, Italian fascists and Nazis adopted a salute which had a similar form, and which was derived from the so-called Roman salute. This resulted in controversy over the use of the Bellamy salute in the United States. It was officially replaced by the hand-over-heart salute when Congress amended the ...
READ MORE
Euromaidan: Anatomy Of A Washington-Backed Coup D’etat
In late November 2013, the 'Euromaidan' in Kiev began as a popular protest against a generalized state of corruption and cronyism in Ukraine. The spark that ostensibly ignited the protests was the inability of then President Yanukovych to sign an EU Association Agreement that would cut Ukraine's economic and military ties to Russia in favor of a closer relationship with the EU and NATO. The EU had made the release of former Ukrainian prime minister and "gas princess" Tymoshenko a precondition for signing the agreement. But the fact that Tymoshenko was/is a convicted embezzler of state funds, combined with the rather ...
READ MORE
A Clinton Presidency: Humanity’s Worst Nightmare. Hillary’s “Rage for War”
Since Soviet Russia’s 1991 dissolution, successive US administrations governed increasingly lawlessly and recklessly – Bill Clinton worse than his predecessors, Bush worse than him, Obama worst of all, at war with multiple invented enemies throughout his tenure – from inaugural day to the present. A neocon Hillary Clinton presidency succeeding him risks the unthinkable – possible WW III. America’s rage for dominance, its wanting planet earth colonized, and increasing belligerence toward Russia and China points to eventual confrontation. Unknown is to what extent, but when conflicts begin, they take on a life of their own. Starting them is easy, resolving them another ...
READ MORE
Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal And Weapons Of Mass Destruction: A Threat To World Peace
This carefully research article by John Steinbach on Israel’s nuclear arsenal was first published by Global Research in March 2002 “Should war break out in the Middle East again,… or should any Arab nation fire missiles against Israel, as the Iraqis did, a nuclear escalation, once unthinkable except as a last resort, would now be a strong probability.” Seymour Hersh(1) “Arabs may have the oil, but we have the matches.” Ariel Sharon(2) With between 200 and 500 thermonuclear weapons and a sophisticated delivery system, Israel has quietly supplanted Britain as the World’s 5th Largest nuclear power, and may currently rival France and China ...
READ MORE
NATO – A Dangerous Alliance
When the Warsaw Pact ended, after the collapse of communism, some optimists might have expected Nato to be broken up too. After all, the Labour Party in Britain had been opposed to Nato in the mid-1980s. But that was not to be. The US, which had always dominated Nato, quickly began to reinvent Nato and furthermore to expand it. Following the end of the Warsaw Pact many central and east European governments wanted to join Nato. This of course was music to the ears of the US military manufacturers. Indeed, the chair of the expand Nato committee, Bruce Jackson, was technical director of ...
READ MORE
Farewell Message From Donetsk To President Obama
Join the debate on our Twitter Timeline!
READ MORE
Our Prospects against the Russians and Chinese in World War III
The Saker reports that Russia is preparing for World War III, not because Russia intends to initiate aggression but because Russia is alarmed by the hubris and arrogance of the West, by the demonization of Russia, by provocative military actions by the West, by American interference in the Russian province of Chechnya and in former Russian provinces of Ukraine and Georgia, and by the absence of any restraint from Western Europe on Washington’s ability to foment war. Like Steven Starr, Stephen Cohen, myself, and a small number of others, the Saker understands the reckless irresponsibility of convincing Russia that the United ...
READ MORE
The Lie Of The 21st Century: How Mainstream Media “Fake News” Led To The U.S. Invasion Of Iraq
The mainstream media (MSM) has declared war on alternative media websites labeling them “Fake News” ever since Hillary Clinton lost the election to Donald Trump. The New York Times editorial board expressed their frustration in an article calling for the censorship of alternative and social media‘Facebook and the Digital Virus Called Fake News’ which claimed both social media platforms (Facebook and Google) has not been aggressive enough in blocking fake news sites: Most of the fake news stories are produced by scammers looking to make a quick buck. The vast majority of them take far-right positions. But a big part of the responsibility for this scourge ...
READ MORE
Neo-Nazi Network in German Army Exposed
The arrest of a German army officer suspected of plotting the assassination of leftist politicians and high-ranking state officials has exposed the operations of neo-Nazi forces at the highest levels of the German military (Bundeswehr). The information that has emerged thus far indicates that the suspected officer-terrorist was part of a broader network of fascists within the Bundeswehr, and that his activities were known to his superiors and covered up by them. Most astonishing is the official reaction to these alarming revelations. They have prompted an outpouring of anger in the German media and from the establishment parties directed not at the ...
READ MORE
Kosovo Albanian Muslims in the Nazi SS
Waffen SS troops in the Albanian Battalion of the Handzar Division, wearing SS-issued Albanian skullcaps, Bosnia, 1944 SS Reichsfuehrer Heinrich Himmler formed a Kosovo Albanian Muslim Nazi SS Division during World War II, the Skanderbeg SS Division, 21st Waffen Mountain Division of the SS Skanderbeg (1st Albanian), in 1944. He planned to form a second Kosovo Albanian Muslim SS Division but was not able to because the war ended before he could do so. The history of the Skanderbeg division has been documented and analyzed. What has rarely been analyzed, however, is the role of the Kosovo Albanian Muslim members in ...
READ MORE
Pax Americana: Who Are the Neocon Imperialists?
Neocon 101: What do Neoconservatives Believe? “Neocons” believe that the United States should not be ashamed to use its unrivaled power – forcefully if necessary – to promote its values around the world. Some even speak of the need to cultivate a US empire. Neoconservatives believe modern threats facing the US can no longer be reliably contained and therefore must be prevented, sometimes through preemptive military action. Most neocons believe that the US has allowed dangers to gather by not spending enough on defense and not confronting threats aggressively enough. One such threat, they contend, was Saddam Hussein and his pursuit of ...
READ MORE
Russia’s Balkan Politics: From the Politics of Pan-Slavic Reciprocity of the Tsarist Russia to the “Realpolitic” of the Republic of Gazprom Russia
Abstract: This article investigates the Russian foreign politics at the region of the Balkan Peninsula after the dissolution of the Soviet Union at the time of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) World Order in relation to the Pan-Slavic ideals of intra-Slavic solidarity, reciprocity and brotherhood. The particular stresses are put on four main research topics: 1. The Pan-Slavism and Russia; 2. Relations between pro-Western and pro-Orthodox approaches of the Russian national interests on Russia’s domestic political scene; 3. Different attitudes towards the Balkans in Russia; and 4. Historical ties and future perspectives between Russia and the Serbs. A research ...
READ MORE
Here’s Why France Should Be Blamed for the Destruction in Syria
Why is France so interested in Syria? According to the Guardian, France’s policy in Syria has been “more forward than any other Western country”: “[France] was early in calling for President Bashar al-Assad to step down, still insists he must go, and recently joined airstrikes inside Syria against the Islamic State.” France joined the United States in bombing Syrian territory (without a U.N. mandate) even before the United Kingdom did. In 2013, France stood by Obama’s side despite the fact the United Kingdom’s parliament voted not to join Obama’s efforts to “punish” Syrian president Bashar al-Assad for crossing Obama’s imaginary red line. ...
READ MORE
Opus Dei: Neofascism within the Catholic Church
What we are seeing today in the fight over birth control is a revival of a very old, and very dangerous kind of Catholicism. It is not one supported or practiced by most Rank and File Catholics. It is a kind of Catholicism which has done irreparable harm. It is a kind of Catholicism unfit for existence in the modern world. It was the underpinning of the regimes of Mussolini in Italy, The National Catholicism of Francisco Franco, in Spain; The Parti Rexiste in Belgium; The Irish Blueshirts; The Croatian Ustaše, the Nazi puppet government in Croatia, and ultimately, was the ...
READ MORE
Serbia Under The EU’s Ultimatum On Kosovo’s Independence
Serbia entered on December 14th, 2015 a final stage of negotiations with Brussels on the EU's membership. It is known, however, that the EU gave an informal ultimatum to Serbia to recognize Kosovo’s independence for the exchange of becoming a full Member State of the EU. The western (the USA/EU) client Serbia’s Government is currently under the direct pressure from Brussels to recognize an independence of the narco-mafia Kosovo’s quasi state or to give up an idea to join the EU. It is only a question when a western colony of Serbia has to finally declare its official recognition of ...
READ MORE
Donald Trumpenstein: Self-Proclaimned “Cop of the World”
History has repeatedly demonstrated the need to view with the greatest skepticism U.S. imperialism’s justifications for its endless wars and interventions. Need we mention the 1964 U.S.-manufactured Tonkin Bay incident, wherein a virtually non-existent Vietnamese navy was accused of attacking a U.S. destroyer? That false flag pretext was employed to launch the Vietnam War, during which four million Vietnamese were slaughtered in a 10-year U.S. conflagration verging on genocide. Or the more recent Iraq “weapons of mass destruction” lie that resulted in the U.S. murder of 1.5 million Iraqis? Even if the latest sarin gas accusations against Syrian President Bashar Assad should ...
READ MORE
Bellamy Salute in the U.S.
Euromaidan: Anatomy Of A Washington-Backed Coup D’etat
A Clinton Presidency: Humanity’s Worst Nightmare. Hillary’s “Rage for War”
Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal And Weapons Of Mass Destruction: A Threat To World Peace
NATO – A Dangerous Alliance
Farewell Message From Donetsk To President Obama
Our Prospects against the Russians and Chinese in World War III
The Lie Of The 21st Century: How Mainstream Media “Fake News” Led To The U.S. Invasion Of Iraq
Neo-Nazi Network in German Army Exposed
A Refugee Problem in Europe
Five, Still Alive US Warmongering Presidents
Kosovo Albanian Muslims in the Nazi SS
Pax Americana: Who Are the Neocon Imperialists?
Russia’s Balkan Politics: From the Politics of Pan-Slavic Reciprocity of the Tsarist Russia to the “Realpolitic” of the Republic of Gazprom Russia
Here’s Why France Should Be Blamed for the Destruction in Syria
Opus Dei: Neofascism within the Catholic Church
Save Donbass People from Ukrainian Euromaidan Army
Serbia Under The EU’s Ultimatum On Kosovo’s Independence
Donald Trumpenstein: Self-Proclaimned “Cop of the World”
A Boomerang Policy: From Paris to Paris