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The Great Circus

Posted on November 10, 2013 by

At 9am today, BBC newsreader Nicholas Owen read out the headlines with the words “The Queen will lead the Remembrance Sunday celebrations – commemorations – at the Cenotaph this morning”. He was right the first time, of course.

The day’s edition of Breakfast had just run footage of the “Festival Of Remembrance” the previous evening at the Royal Albert Hall, focusing on a segment that illustrated starkly what the poppy has come to symbolise in recent years – not a sombre tribute to the flower of a wasted youth slaughtered on the battlefields of France and Belgium, but a jingoistic, sentimental lionisation of Our Brave Boys and a recruiting campaign for the modern-day army the UK government sends abroad to shoot brown people who have committed no aggression against Britain and pose no threat to it.


It happened in the same week a Royal Marine was convicted of murdering a wounded, defenceless prisoner in cold blood while his comrades stood by, watched, then hid the evidence and lied to investigators, and where after the verdict a senior general called for the killer to serve just five years in prison. But we’ll leave all that to one side.

Last night’s event saw the “Poppy Girls” singing group, made up of the daughters of servicemen, perform their saccharine fundraising single “The Call – No Need To Say Goodbye”, with a solo by 10-year-old Megan Adams.


Kitted out with a giant microphone to emphasise her tiny size, the little girl gave a superb performance, and the group was lined up in the middle of the vast arena while the BBC’s Huw Edwards took to the rostrum with a surprise announcement.


Against a shimmering electronic background of poppies, Edwards turned the moment into something straight out of Cilla Black’s old Saturday-night ITV show “Surprise Surprise”. Hamming it up for all he was worth, he informed the crowd that Megan’s dad, Lieutenant Commander Billy Adams couldn’t be there to see her sing, because he was serving in the Indian Ocean and wasn’t due home for three months.


Right on cue, the cameras duly zoomed into a close-up of the child’s face as if viewers were watching an episode of The X-Factor, showing every detail of her emotions as what was about to happen became clear.


Sure enough, Edwards broke the shock that Megan’s father WAS here after all, flown back specially to walk proudly down the steps in his full dress uniform. The wee lassie reacted as any wee lassie would in the circumstances – tearfully (and photogenically) rushing across the arena floor to greet her dad.


There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as father and daughter met and embraced, surrounded from every angle and in every shot by more flickering electronic poppies, glowing from every available surface in the hall.



We don’t begrudge for a second the joyful reunion of a father and his child. But Lt Cmdr Adams hadn’t been in harm’s way, and his separation from Megan was entirely of his own choosing. He hadn’t been conscripted and sent off, barely-trained, to walk slowly into machine-gun fire, so we’re not too sure what this carefully-choreographed and stage-managed event had to do with a symbol that was meant to remind people of the terrible, wasteful sacrifice of the dead.

Just over four years ago, the last man in Britain who saw that sacrifice first-hand died. Harry Patch, who fought at Passchendaele and many of the other killing fields of WW1, had no truck with the glorification of war. His view on the subject, expressed bitterly until his dying day, closely echoes that of this site:

“Politicians who took us to war should have been given the guns and told to settle their differences themselves, instead of organising nothing better than legalised mass murder.”

That doesn’t happen, of course. Instead those politicians use events like the unashamedly-named “Festival Of Remembrance” to portray war as a noble pursuit of heroes. They use the carnage of the Somme and Ypres and the Marne – where enlisted Scots and Welshmen and Irishmen and Englishmen were mown down together (along with men of countless other nations who’d never set foot in Great Britain) by the undiscriminating guns of the Germans – to celebrate “Britishness” and serve a nakedly political agenda.

“UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said the event would help underline the strength of the union.”

This sick perversion of “remembrance” hasn’t just been noticed by chippy Scottish nationalists (who particularly note the transparent, cynical, unimaginably tacky £50m jamboree planned for just before the independence referendum rather than on the day in November that has served for the last 96 years). Many others, including those who served in the even worse war that followed, see what has become of it.

“I will no longer allow my obligation as a veteran to remember those who died in the great wars to be co-opted by current or former politicians to justify our folly in Iraq, our morally dubious war on terror and our elimination of one’s right to privacy.”

Last night’s stomach-churning exploitation of a young girl’s love for her daddy wasn’t even a new low. Considerably uglier depths than that had been plumbed just a few weeks earlier in Glasgow.


But Ibrox Stadium, with its songs of “Fenian blood” and bloody imperial rule, is no place for faint hearts and delicate sensitivities. The Royal Albert Hall, in front of the Queen and millions of TV viewers, ought perhaps to still be a little more tasteful than an episode of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.

We suspect that the only memorial most of the dead of the “Great War” would have wanted was the knowledge that their country’s leaders would be more reluctant in future to send their nations’ youth to their deaths. Like Jeremy Paxman, Robert Fisk and many others, we want nothing to do with the grand, fetishistic celebration of “patriotic” killing that’s being served up instead, at the same time as actual veterans are being thrown onto the streets by welfare “reforms”.

Yesterday we walked through town with a clicker. We counted 610 adults, of whom just 37 were wearing poppies. When we mentioned it on Twitter, many people told us they were happy to donate to the Haig Fund which looks after ex-servicemen and their families, but would not wear the poppy that is the organisation’s emblem.

It seems we’re not alone in thinking the UK’s politicians are a disgrace to the dead.

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  1. 09 11 14 13:07

    The Great Circus | Politics Scotland |

135 to “The Great Circus”

  1. sneddon says:

    That whole programme is a crock of shit.  The increasing fetishisation of the armed services is a worrying aspect of this neo con govt.  The sheer two facedness of it is beyond belief.  How many in that audience have relatives in the services getting made redundant after being put in harms way?. The BBC should be ashamed of themselves.  As for the senior officers that sanctioned this display they should be ashamed of themselves as well.   I bet none of them have been on a street patrol in Helmand I bet or are currently at risk of redundnancy.

  2. gordoz says:

    My father fought in WW2 and I lost relatives in WW1 – this whole planned event is a needless front by Cameron & Milliband to celebrate.

    I can infrom you he agrees with me, that this is a claculated crass, disgusting case of shit stirring on a very sensitive moral issue.

    Whilst I fully acknowledge the loss of life, one cannot get away with avoiding the complete tragedy by introducing ‘celebration’ of meaningless death on an unprecedentated scale without a backlash.

    Opportunist Politicking ?

    Disgusting, purely disgusting on every scale. 

  3. Kenny Campbell says:

    Whilst I disagree on some of the observations in the post I do wholeheartedly agree that the image of the poppy is being used to glorify war and the armed forces, rather than have us remember those poor buggers who were killed.

  4. Brian Powell says:

    I remember as a teenager having a conversation with my grandfather about his time in WW1.
    One thing that stuck out was when he said, that after the war, at the first election they had, he said to his friends, we must vote to never let the people who got us into this ever do it again.
    Unfortunately the same kind of people are still there in charge.

  5. ewen says:

    Currently watching as I do every year. I saw the report of the four Glasgow sons killed in the great war and it struck me, in an Independent Scotland, we will come to a point in time when there are no veteran’s on 11.11. 
    We will not have to send our kids to die abroad as part of the Westminster war machine and instead will be able to remember our dead with the simplicity, respect and dignity they deserve. May we see that day.
    Lest we forget.

  6. I agree wholeheartedly. Posted yesterday: Oft in the Still Night.

  7. orkers says:

    You know of course that any song featuring ‘Fenian blood’ has long since been banned from Ibrox.
    You knew that of course, but now and then your hatred gets the better of you.
    Tut tut!
    Remembrance Sunday is all about the war time deaths on both sides of all conflicts we’ve recently been involved in.
    A pity you hadn’t just said that and left it there.
    Apart from the odd outburst you do an excellent job.
    You should employ someone to sit behind you on your triumphal chariot to now and again lean forward and whisper into your lug ‘remember you are only a man’.
    Hubris is never very edifying.

  8. Brian Powell says:

    American television shows and news are full of these kind of re-unions.
    A naturally joyous, human experience subverted for a political purpose.
    There is now the beginning of a campaign to get us used to drone strikes, so we won’t feel so bad about war; fewer coffins coming back.

  9. John G says:

    Why would anyone celebrate the start of a war? Especially a war which saw the deaths of so many young men? Surely you celebrate the anniversary of when the war ended and the senseless bloodshed finally stopped!!

  10. sneddon says:

    Orkers- there is a world of difference between being banned and  enforcing that ban

  11. Kenny Campbell says:

    There is a whole universe of difference between a song and war.

  12. My father was in the merchant navy during WW2 and had a long life after the war. He rarely spoke about it having been in three boats that were sunk and lost many friends in the conflict. Like so many of that generation it was something that brought back many terrible and sad memories and in the words of a modern politician when there is an uncomfortable situation it would be a request to “move on”. Politicians are keen to move on when faced with a situation today and so were many who had the war dominating their lives. This is a cause for sensitive remembrance, not poppy fascism and certainly not a celebration. We should commemorate those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and celebrate the peace they fought for and won. Those celebrations should be to mark the end of the war, only those who believe in war want to celebrate the beginning of one.

  13. DougtheDug says:

    I’m sure Megan Adams was ecstatic that her father was home but I find the public manipulation of a child’s emotions for the gratification of a TV audience distasteful, especially at a ceremony to mark the war dead of the UK.
    One of my grandfathers made it back from the trenches in the first war and my father saw active service overseas in the second so I’m going to wear my poppy but it’s for them and for their comrades not for what the ceremonies of remembrance have become.
    Alex Massie had an article justifying the celebrations/commemorations that will be held in Glasgow in 2014 before the independence referendum to mark the start of the First World War.

    This is part of a comment I put on that article.
    “In the year that Scotland holds an independence referendum the British State decides to hold, for the first time, commemoration ceremonies marking the start of a war not the end of it, holds it in Glasgow and shifts the date of these commemorations from the 11th of November to a date which puts it before date of the independence referendum.

    As Britain moves inexorably towards the American model where the military is hero-worshiped as the embodiment of patriotism in an attempt to distract from the disastrous and futile wars in Iraq and Afghanistan the ceremonies of remembrance have regrettably started to morph into celebrations of British patriotism. You will forgive us Scottish nationalists if we get a strong smell of rat from the proceedings planned for Glasgow.”

  14. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Hubris is never very edifying.”

    I’m not sure you know what “hubris” means.

  15. Gordon says:

    Valuable article.  Agree however with Kenny (Campbell) at times too broad brush.  We can’t generalise about the make up of the army.  But what we can do is condemn this type of tasteless propaganda on state funded television.

  16. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “We can’t generalise about the make up of the army.”

    Where did I do that?

  17. Unfortunately this is how things are now for the reality TV generation.  An occasion that demands dignity being turned into a circus.  I think next year’s jingofest will backfire though.  Who in their right mind will want to be seen commemorating the start of a war?  Especially if they were aware of the origins of it.

  18. Atypical_Scot says:

    Phew, missed it, no telly.

  19. Ian Brotherhood says:

    It was depressing to walk through Irvine’s Rivergate Mall yesterday and see so many children dressed in various uniforms, especially girls in combat gear which was clearly too big for them – some couldn’t have been much older than the lass in the article.
    The same thing must’ve been happening right across the country, and it’s considered ‘normal’. The BBC produces this crass propaganda, and it’s considered suitable Saturday night family viewing.
    We can’t stop it. But we can make every effort to ensure they don’t enjoy carte blanche to exploit Glasgow and its citizens in the same way.

  20. Fascism won WW11 and found its true home base Westminster.

  21. Alba4Eva says:

    …Oh whopee,  a war has started… grab a 6 pack people, we’re gonna party like its 1914.

  22. Dorothy Devine says:

    I missed it too , thank goodness- the description is enough for me !
    How shocking , how Hollywood ,how lacking in dignity , how unedifying.

  23. BuckieBraes says:

    A brave and relevant post, Rev. I don’t think I disagree with anything it contains.
    I have worn a poppy in my time, although not recently. I have stood in silence at memorials, and kept my grandfather’s WWII memorabilia with pride.
    And yet…with every passing year I become more queasy about the growth of the ‘remembrance industry’ and its increasingly right-wing feel; and wonder what certain people are actually trying to say.

  24. Peter says:

    It started in 2003 when everybody who fought against the invasion of Iraq was described as being disloyal, attacking, putting our troops lives in danger through lack of support. 

    Every single person who took part in the invasion wanted to be there. it was an illegal action and you can not be forced to perform such an act under Queens regulations.  

    If your CO orders you to machine gun a bus full of schoolchildren then your correct response is to tell him to stick it. And if he continues to try to commit mass murder then your ultimate responsibility is to shoot him.  

    There are an amazing number of people who responded to the trial of that marine with the excuse that he was only obeying orders and had no choice but to go off and shoot random foreigners.  70 years after the Nazi war trials and we still have blind jingoistic loyalists using the same old excuse.  

    Vomit inducing.

  25. fairiefromtheearth says:

    As an ex serviceman i would love to know weres the monies from the poppie sales? I have never receved any help,every 18months ATOS calles me a lying bastard,i am then kicked off the sick,i appeal, 9months later i go to a review with a doctor and lawyer interviewing me after they here i was in the first gulf war,i am asked to leave the room,five min later im asked back in and told to go home dont worry your safe for the next 18months,well i would like to know why the ATOS whores who say i am lying about my condition arent held to account.

  26. Dave Sharp says:

    fes·ti·val  (fst-vl)
    1. An occasion for feasting or celebration, especially a day or time of religious significance that recurs at regular intervals.
    2. An often regularly recurring program of cultural performances, exhibitions, or competitions: a film festival.
    3. Revelry; conviviality.

    Along with the images of poppies, how utterly disgusting and thoughtless. I wonder what the people who belong to the thousands of white crossed would think of thier deaths being used in this way.

  27. Scaraben says:

    My grandfather was wounded in the First World War. My mother said that he never talked about what he experienced in the trenches. I suspect that he would have been disgusted by the sanitised, glorified view of war that the Festival of Remembrance has been for many years, as it seeks to recruit for future conflict.
    Of course it is wrong to exploit for political purposes the ‘commemoration’ of the start of the war that was supposed to end all wars, but which led two decades later to an even worse war. However, the unionists seem determined to do just that; in that case, I hope that the public are very tactfully reminded that Scotland has more cause to remember the dead and maimed of WW I than the rest of the UK, as regiments raised in Scotland suffered a far higher percentage of deaths than regiments raised elsewhere.

  28. Robert Louis says:

    Thank you for this article.  Thank you so much.
    I have waited so long for someone to express my sense of utter outrage at what has happened to the cenotaph COMMEMORATIONS, and the wholly politicised tarnishing of the poppy. The programme last night was an utter fu***ng obscenity (excuse my french, but I’m seriously angry)
    I resolved to NEVER give another penny to anything remotely linked with the Royal British Legion, after they backed the planned 2014 CELEBRATIONS of the START of the first world war.  How any such body could even contemplate for one second getting involved in such tawdry politicisation of remembrance (the main event conveniently being held in Scotland, just before the independence referendum), escapes me. 
    Who celebrates the start of a war anyway, FFS?????????
    The boys (one of whom was my relative) who went to their mass organised slaughter in WW1 deserve much better than all of this.  My relative who died in WW! WAS an actual  conscript HERO, and describing every ordinary joe bleeping squaddie nowadays as a freaking hero is the biggest bleeping insult ever.   Just because you serve the career, paid, non conscript, modern army, you are NO HERO automatically in my book.  A freaking uniform does NOT make you a hero.
    It is time for more ex-servicemen who actually experienced the carnage of mass killing to speak up, and speak loudly.
    David Cameron, the man behind ALL of this, shame on you.  Shame on you.

  29. Robert Dickson says:

    “You know of course that any song featuring ‘Fenian blood’ has long since been banned from Ibrox.You knew that of course, but now and then your hatred gets the better of you.Tut tut!”
    Strange that as I had it sung lovingly and loudly at myself and my wife (Ironically, we are not Catholics or even Fenians) whilst visiting Ibrox (for the last time ever) several weeks ago.
    It would seem the “ban” isn’t too rigidly enforced.

  30. Joseph Curran says:

    Good article. The part with the girl looked like something copied from the Truman Show ” And cue weeping girl running to her daddy”. 

  31. Lochside says:

    Well written piece which echoes my sentiments exactly. I can’t describe how sad and angry  I feel that I don’t actually want to wear the poppy anymore, although I still contribute to the Fund. The fact that the top Brass in the Services and M.O.D. collaborated in this grotesque pantomime of ‘Remembrance’ should not be surprising…they have already decided that the disgraceful scenes at Ibrox with squaddies openly singing sectarian hatred was not important enough to censure never mind charge or cashier the Commanding Officer responsible. What we are witnessing is a closing of the British state’s ranks across the board: Armed Services  and State Broadcasters along with a supine and corrupt MSM working in concert to do down any dissenting voice, not only here in Scotland but elsewhere in what remains of the United Kingdom. A velvet dictatorship of public lies and deceit.

  32. Robert Kerr says:

    My cousin married a regular army Regimental Sergeant Major who refused to buy a poppy.
    His reason was that the poppy appeal organiser in Edinburgh was a retired officer who had never been in combat and received a healthy sum of money from the collections for his efforts.
    It was a long time ago but I doubt anything has ganged.

  33. kendomacaroonbar says:

    Dimbleby just commented that in the march past was “John Nicholl the RAF pilot whose Tornado was shot down in the 1st World War”   

  34. alexicon says:

    @John G & Others.
    Looks like Jeremy Paxman agrees with you all and calls DC an idiot.
    I watched this programme the other night on the bbc of all places.
    At least the Scottish Legion (branch of) protested.

  35. pa_broon74 says:

    Remembrance seems still to be an untouchable subject for some which on the surface is reasonable. But, its been over taken by British Nationalist interests and quite obviously so.
    I never wore a poppy anyway (don’t like band wagons of any sort) but did attend the parades, but I can’t quite bring myself to do that either (although it has retained the sombre mood and avoided becoming some awful pantomime.) I volunteer with a prominent youth group, one of the other leaders wants to buy a union flag (to go with our own group flag) for the armistice day march – I don’t even know what to think of that idea since it was under that flag so many had no choice but to march toward certain death as opposed to a glass of pop and a pie at the legion (which is what happens these days.)
    What the British government are doing aided by the BBC is actually quite disgusting.

  36. Tinyzeitgeist says:

    I’ve long thought that remembrance Sunday was being turned into a show fetishizing war, killing, the military and of course great Britain. Look at all of the conflicts that UK military forces have been involved in since the end of WW11 and are continuing to this very day! The sad fact is that the public tolerate this affront to humanity, the glorification  of war and our part in it. Its all ‘our brave troops’ defending the country…..from what and more importantly for whom? It aint me!

  37. Archie [not Erchie] says:

    @ Dave Beveridge – ‘Especially if they were aware of the origins of it’

    Could not agree more with you Dave, and ’twas only last week I started questioning the force fed familiar story of an assassination in Sarajevo [1914]. What a can of worms my findings so far. So as I traveled back in history, the more side avenues opened up for further research.
    Secret alliances, scrappy bits of paper, propaganda by the ton load, conscription that ripped families and other countries governments apart [Canada esp.]. Britain financially bankrupt and a generation of young men dead, for what?
    @ Orkers – Your ‘hubris’ comment should be directed at the arrogance of those who sent the men to war and then presumed to be on ‘triumphal chariots’ celebrating the death of millions human beings. Or do you, like a certain Vulcan crew over the Falklands play ‘Chariots of Fire’?
    I respectfully bow my head to the posts on here who have suffered loss in their families due to wars in other lands.

  38. Murray McCallum says:

    “Politicians who took us to war should have been given the guns and told to settle their differences themselves, instead of organising nothing better than legalised mass murder.”
    What a great thought. I would personally pay for a 1 way ticket to Syria for William Hague the next time the propaganda to invade the Middle East starts to rear its ugly head. If the MoD could find him some poorly designed equipment then he will be sorted.

  39. Embradon says:

    It is unfortunate that only the politicians and generals on the losing side are ever tried for war crimes. A trial of Haig, his senior staff and political masters would have been just at the time. Ordering thousands of troops to walk in line abreast toward machine guns on the first day of the Somme may have been overconfidence, naivety or stupidity. To use similar tactics again and again for months and years was callously and murderously criminal.

    A dramatisation of such a notional trial could make a would a fascinating and informative play or film even now.

    Intensive bombing of civilian areas of cities is equaly heinous whichever side carries it out.

    The use of WMD to destoy cities is as despicable as the use of napalm against villagers but no one was held to account.

    Tony Blair famously said he would be “judged by god” for his part in the Iraq war. How convenient  – ordinary people and soldiers have to face justice here on earth first.

  40. AnneDon says:

    Ye hypocrites, are these yir pranks
    Tae murder men and gie God thanks?
    For shame desist, proceed nae further
    God won’t accept yir thanks for murder
    Robert Burns

  41. Calum Craig says:

    I haven’t worn a poppy since I was at school- it has never been a conscious decision, rather a general rejection of the associations that symbol brings.

  42. AnneDon says:

    I remember reading a veteran of the First World War say it’s dead had been betrayed by the fact of the Second World War.
    I can’t comment on last night because I’ve never watched Festival of Remembrance. Probably because it was boring, rather than for political reasons; but then I’ve never seen the Queen’s Christmas Speech or a Royal Variety Show either, so maybe there was a pattern. . .

  43. AnneDon says:

    NB, although the BBC and the government are going over the top with this shit, it doesn’t mean that people are. I wonder what the viewing figures were for the show, even compared to 40 years ago.
    What my grandfathers’ WW2 service gave them, as well as nightmares about things they would never talk about, was a loathing and disdain for the officer class.
    I give to the Haig fund because I know personally men it has helped – often years, decades, after their service. It doesn’t mean I support the Poppy fetish. We do need to separate the two. I think more people do that than BBC propaganda machine realise – as the Rev’s poppy count suggests.

  44. Caledonalistic says:

    You can learn most of what you need to know about the Great War and World War 2 simply by researching how both were funded and how the corporate map was carved out afterwards.  

    We’re told that those wars were different – that they were about freedom and liberty.  The entire story has been distilled into nothing more than a primitive good versus evil myth, making a mockery of the entire purpose of remembrance i.e. “never again”, in the first place.
    The world wars were about power and resources, just as every other conflict is about resources.

  45. msean says:

    We’re being asked to support the ‘celebration’ next year,but to forget that a year or so on from ww1,those same forces, with their tanks, were deployed to Glasgow.What would those tanks’ task have been if the strikers had hung on like the miners in ’84?

  46. sionnach says:

    I will remember them. Wherever they died, however pointless the death or pain that they and their loved ones suffered and still endure, I will always recognise and relish the freedoms for which they fought and died.
    But that does not stretch to poppy purchase. I’m with Harry Patch on this. If the Government starts or joins a war and sends our troops to fight it, the Government should bear the full cost of caring for survivors in the (life-long) aftermath: this commitment should not have been left to a charity. I’m sure the poppy fund does a great job, but it really should never have been necessary.

  47. John grant says:

    My grandfather fought in ww1 one of the stories he oft repeated was of him and his comrades on funeral duty , putting heads arms legs bodies in a pile on a bag with an officer coming behind and throwing a dog tag on the pile of remains so as to record the dead , he had many many stories of the suffering , I don’t think he would be celebrating anything and neither should we , never forget but not celebrate .

  48. orkers says:

    To me it’s always been overweening pride in yourself Stu and it still isn’t very edifying.

    Just checked it’s meaning and yes I haven’t misused the word.

    Lately there hasn’t been much humility about your writing at times, but as I have said in the past your extremely useful at what you do and I enjoy 99.9% of what you produce.

    You just have that wee achilles heel that keeps poking through your sock.

    For all that …keep up the good work.

    Btw what has ‘Fenian Blood’ to do with Remembrance Sunday anyway? apart from yet another chance to have a boot at a section of society you despise?

    You do yourself no service becoming the mirror image of some inconsequential fans of a football club.

  49. msean says:


  50. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    There should be a McLean demonstration outside Glasgow Cathedral as the arses great and good gather for the “commeroration”.

  51. alasdair says:

    The real tragedy about this type of opinion piece is that it should be described as, “brave”, if the stating of an opinion becomes an act of bravery then these are worrying times indeed.

    I’ve been on the receiving end for being brave and stating my opinions in the past … fortunately my audience is nothing of the scale of this site.  A brave piece indeed.

  52. david says:

    it always does my head in when i see young guys back from iraq and afghanistan with arms and legs missing still proud to have served queen and country. unbefuckinleavable. We never hear or see young guys angry with whats happened to them. surely there must be some?

  53. Krackerman says:

    Once thing I do love about the people of the UK is our ability to poke a hole in the façade of the patronising propaganda of the UK establishment. The lionisation of the two “princes” as self sacrificing heroes of Olympian proportions is a particularly obvious example of this. Thank god there are still those who know humour is the best cure for this type of lie…

  54. Grendel says:

    I have attended remembrance parades since I was small. In that time I’ve seen the last of the First World War veterans depart, and the number of WW2 veterans grow fewer and fewer. These men were a generation which inspired me, and I looked up to.

    I cannot say the same about The latter Iraq campaign or Afghanistan, and in the last few years have become uneasy about the direction which Armistice Day has been driven, even before the 2014 celebrations were announced.

    For now I will still donate to the poppy fund, but for me, when the last veterans of those conflicts have gone, my involvement will cease.

  55. david says:

    i would be very surprised if our lion prince picked up any kind of injury while he fights for our freedoms.

  56. Krackerman says:

    Pretty hard to be injured when you are in the cockpit of an armoured, high-tech death machine, capable of killing from several kilometres away and your adversary is an uneducated native with a 60 year old assault rife who’s unlikely to know you are even there…..

  57. Dcanmore says:

    I didn’t watch it thankfully but to call it a ‘festival’ where the poppy is celebrated, rather than a solemn reminder of those who perished under the decisions of idiot politicians and lunatic generals, is utterly disgusting. Next year’s £50m ‘celebration’ of the beginning of WW1 will be set up as emotional blackmail where apparently the only thing left to celebrate in Britain today is directly connected to war and destruction. The very same tools used to possess and hold onto a colonial empire.
    Time for a re-run of Blackadder Goes Fourth.
    George Orwell:
    Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
    In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
    If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.
    If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
    War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.
    All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting.
    In our time political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.
    The Catholic and the Communist are alike in assuming that an opponent cannot be both honest and intelligent.

  58. stewart says:

    I agree with a lot of the sentiment here. Poppies are to remember the conscripted who had no choice in fighting an evil that had to be eradicated. Its a disgrace for politicians to hijack this memorial to justify them killing innocent boys and girls. However there is a bias here in mentioning Glasgow Rangers as an extreme and not mentioning Glasgow celtic with their ant-remembrance. But we must remember that these fans are the minority as most are decent people.

  59. JLT says:

    I never saw any of that last night, nor did I see any of the events this morning.
    When I grew up, the poppy, as mentioned n Stuart’s piece, symbolised the loss of a generation of young men in the trenches. Within time, it was even accepted that it wasn’t just for British soldiers, but also for the ‘enemy’ too. After all, the Germans, Austrians and Turks lost their youth too, just as much as the British, French and Russians.

    However, these days, I’m left unsettled. The poppy has come to mean all wars …even the wars that we are still actively involved in. How can it be a proper remembrance, when we are still actively fighting. It just doesn’t feel right.
    If I remember rightly, I believe the Rev posted something similar a year ago, where we discussed this.

    To be honest, if thy are now doing ‘surprise, surprise’ style of entertainment, using the families of the forces to pull our heartstrings, then this is wrong …very wrong! It completely mocks the ‘lost generation’ of young men from almost a hundred years ago, as well as that of WW2.

    Whoever dreamt this idea up should be ashamed of themselves. Cheap sentimentality dressed up as an excuse to justify our occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan is immorally wrong. We should be in neither country, and the occupation of both nations, has achieved nothing. We have spent so much money on both wars, that we could have used it to upgrade every hospital and school in the UK to such a high standard, that we would have sat at the top of the table for health and education in the world.

    If this is the establishment’s idea of what ‘Britishness’ is, then they are p1$$ing on the ‘lost flower of youth’ that sacrificed itself in the name of ‘King and Country’ a century ago, which in turn, was actually a lie to preserve British industrial capitalism against German industrial revolution. A revolution that was paving the way for better rights for workers as well as higher living standards. Something that the industrial bosses of this nation, could not compete against.

    And for treating the poppy, and it’s real meaning to the lost generation a century ago, in such a cheap fashion, then the establishment should be utterly ashamed of themselves… 

  60. Daughter of Evil Reindeer says:

    I know it’s Crass but…

  61. Anon Sailor says:

    As a Veteran myself, I won’t wear a poppy.  In Edinburgh yesterday I had collection tins rattled in my face by young squaddies for poppy’s and as I kept walking I could see their disapproval in their faces and gestures. How rude.

    Why do we need squaddies on the high street showing latest armoured vehicle mounted with a GPMG handing out leaflets to young adults, its just all wrong.

    Surely they’d make a good target for terrorists among all those shoppers.

  62. scottish_skier says:

    We’re just missing some sort of ‘Running Man’ game show now.
    Maybe the unemployed can be the contestants or lose their benefits. Or how about immigrants; if they win, they get a British passport?

  63. Juteman says:

    It is becoming difficult to tell the difference between some of these remembrance rallies, and the Nuremberg rallies.

  64. Hannada39 says:

    Interestingly, at an appropriately somber remembrance ceremony in Aberdeen today no-one, including the assembled troops, sang one word of the National Anthem. Maybe that’s traditional – don’t personally know – but it felt deliberate.  

  65. Jim says:

    I was in Glasgow yesterday for a shopping expedition with my good lady. Before returning home she nipped into Debenham’s to use the loo while I waited on her at the foot of the escalators for about ten minutes.

    Army Cadets were out in force all over the city centre selling poppies, a real omnipresent sales drive and I too decided to count how many people coming down the escalator were actually wearing one. I was surprised that only about 10% of people were doing so.

    I have attended a local Remembrance Sunday service every year for the past 17 years and worn a poppy accordingly. Not this year. I dont celebrate war under any circumstance and certainly dont think it should be used as political propaganda by unionists. Its all rather sad.

  66. Kate says:

    As I was walking doon the high toon, Who should I meet
    But an old lady old, old & grey
    She said, all you young soldiers, you’re off to war today, then these were the words she said had to say.
    I would never raise a son to be a soldier, never raise a son to man a gun
    Or to place a rifle on his shoulder, to go out & kill some other mothers son.
    Let Hitler & Joe Stallin & auld Churchill as well, go & fight their dirty grievance to.
    For there would be no wars today, if every mother would but say, I would never raise a son to be a soldier…
    MY dad who served in WW2 & is 93 yrs old, sang this song to us all as we grew up. It was TRUE then & it is as TRUE today especially if you substitute the names above for THATCHER, BLAIR, BUSH….
    Funny how NOT one of their sons were ever sent to war…

  67. BuckieBraes says:

    So, whither an independent Scotland with all of this? There are two main issues here – the remembrance of the losses incurred in past conflicts (particularly the two world wars); and acknowledgement of the circumstances of present-day armed services personnel.
    As the generation that served in WWI is gone and the WWII generation is slipping away, it is the second of these issues that is becoming dominant. In response, the UK seems intent on re-packaging ‘remembrance’ in a way that distorts the very meaning of the word, using bizarrely camped-up television ‘festivals’ that reflect the worst excesses of imperialist jingoism from a century and more ago.
    In this as in so much else, surely an independent Scotland can choose a different path. As a country we will not be strutting about the globe pretending to be important, but it is naïve to think our armed forces will never become involved in active conflict and will never experience death and injury; of course they will, at some point. So how will Scotland, as a civilised, progressive nation, deal with this?
    I just hope the answer will not involve hypocritical ceremonies and nauseating ‘reality TV’.

  68. AllyPally says:

    I was handing out Yes leaflets in Ardrossan yesterday, and the street was full of cadets selling poppies. I chatted to a couple of them just old enough to vote in the indyref and they took leaflets. (I was a bit hesitant about offering, but they were keen for the info)

    One elderly gent objected to what I was doing “today of all days! This is not a time for politics!”

    At least he had an opinion. I found it depressing how many refused a leaflet because they “didn’t believe in politics an’ that”

  69. Ann says:

    Having lost a great di at Loos in 1915 and my great, great uncle in Flanders in 1916, he was only 19, and other relatives who survived, but never spoke about their experiences. I pause to remember them and I think what what a waste, was it worth it and why almost 100 years have we learned nothing.
    We still send our youth out to fight. Only this time is not for the defence of our country, but governments of the so-called modern worlds to wield their power and be the bully boys, because that is what they are.  These countries do not want interference at all and resent it.
    I do however always buy a poppy, but never ever wear one. 
    I do feel that over the years the Remembrance Festival and Remembrance Sunday has started to lose what is should represent.  Reflection and remembrance.
    I don’t regard any of the present day servicemen or women as heroes. They are doing the job that they signed up for and get paid for.  Nobody forced them to join the forces.  I respect that they are heroes to their families as that is how it should be, but it doesn’t mean that they have to be heroes to me.
    2014 may come around and people may want to celebrate the START of a war.  Fair enough. Me, I say  “Why?”  My great di and great, great uncle were still alive in 1914 and had a future.  They were not alive in 1916.  They and millions of others from both sides were sent to their slaughter and the only country to benefit from it all was Germany.  One hundred years on and in a funny way they got what they wanted. Power in Europe.  Only not with gun, but with their industry and wealth that we the “winners” helped to re-built after WW11.
    Only in 1918 should there be a celebration.  The celebration of the end of the Great War and that is 11th November 2018.
    It  will be interesting to see what happens then.

  70. mato21 says:

    In remembrance of my Grandfather

    The ghost of my grandpa came in the night
    Not the old man I knew who was bent with poor sight
    No, this man  before me was young and  well built
    His uniform was smart, fae glengarry to kilt
    His dark hair was curled, he was tall he was strong
    You’re going to  war Grandpa, don’t you think that is wrong?
     The call has come through so I’ve done what is right
    For King and for country, I’m going to fight
    At that the cockade on his cap seemed to bristle
    As he turned on his step and left with a whistle
    The next time we met, this man was now old
    Oh grandpa I said were you frightened, or bold
    He looked at me sadly and just shook his head
    Overrun, we were captured, or ended up dead
    The Gordons you see, didn’t get the relay
    So that was the price that we all had to pay
    No idea did they have, they thought you were lost
    So a letter to  Granny they sent in the post
    To say that you’d died and the King was so sorry
    It was 1919 but she didn’t worry
    You’d escaped with another, and both had come home
    What you went through together,  would fill a great tome
    Your friends father was wealthy, and wrote just to say
    You saved my sons life and I’m willing to pay
    The old man just smiled, there was nothing to do
     I had Granny my sheep, and a guid milking coo
    No more did I need, and I saw his ‘tache bristle
    As he turned on his step and left with a whistle

  71. AllyPally says:

    Clarification: he objected to leafleting in general. He didn’t see me giving leaflets to the laddies.

  72. Andy-B says:

    All propaganda back slapping BS, if you ask me, the poppy always reminds me of Wilfred Owens poem, Dulce et Decorum Est, which shows the true horrors of war.
    Little do soldiers of the UK today realise, that their not fighting for freedom and democracy is other countries, but the advancement of western requirements.
    As Henry Kissinger once said, quote:
    Military men, are dumb stupid animals, to be used as pawns,for foreign policy.

  73. Fairliered says:

    My Grandfather was captured by the Turks during WW1 and nearly starved to death. My Uncle George was gassed at Passchendaele. Neither of them wanted to remember the war afterwards. Both of them will be turning in their graves at the thought of “celebrating” the start of World War 1, and it’s hijacking by politicians.
    If a campaign against these celebrations was started, the politicians might be surprised at its popularity. For all the propaganda in favour of the invasion of Iraq, remember how many people marched against it.

  74. Jingly Jangly says:

    Wonder why WW1 Started?, following from BBC Website
    Between 1889 and 1914 Scottish home rule was debated 15 times in Parliament, including the introduction of four bills. In 1913 a Home Rule Bill passed its second reading. World War I then intervened and the idea was dropped

    Has anybody ever worked out why Britain and Germany went to War?

  75. muttley79 says:

    This is clearly a display of triumphalism, and the glorification of war by the British establishment.  They do not care about the homeless former army combantants.  This must be like the last days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  I find the glorification of war, and the elevation of soldiers automatically into heroes, as very worrying and distatesful.  This Coalition government is going in a very dangerous direction, where war and conflict is glorified, while many people are relying on food banks, and the atrocious welfare cuts are hitting home.     

  76. Caledonalistic says:

    If you take the accepted line then it was started by Balkan ‘seperatists’ – nothing whatsoever to do with Scotland but everything to do with the Great Game.

    What started the war isn’t so interesting as what allowed the war to continue and who profited from it, on both sides (literally).  

    By far the biggest beneficiary of the war (and that which came later) were the banks and the financial institutions that were set up later.  Britain had to sell off most of what remained of its empire and, in the ensuing years, was left of a fraction of its prized loot e.g. the carve-up of Iranian oil interests.  As Kissinger said, Britain became wholly subservient to US foreign policy.  US foreign policy has, at the same time, been dictated by the military-industrial complex.

    I think of all those who’ve been sent to their deaths in the interests of the few and I remember.  The essence of remembrance is to learn from our past mistakes and to never again put the lives of billions in jeopardy.  What we’re witnessing has absolutely nothing to do with remembrance.  You might argue it is a commemoration but, to all intents and purposes, it looks like a celebration.  The world is slowly turning into a Paul Verhoeven movie…

  77. Andy-B says:

    @Jingly Jangly.
    WW1 was a war of Queen Victoria’s Grandchildrens vanity, by the beginning of the 20th century, many of Victoria and Alberts 9 children and 40 grandchildren,sat on most of the thrones of Europe.
    Between 1914-1918 their were no fewer than 8 first cousins, (Grandchildren of Queen Victoria) either sitting on European thrones or married into them.

  78. Kenny Campbell says:

    “Every single person who took part in the invasion wanted to be there. it was an illegal action and you can not be forced to perform such an act under Queens regulations.  “

    Yes possibly  but unlikely as it was not then and is not now an illegal action, therefore you have no ability to say no…whether its illegal or not is an opinion.
    If your CO orders you to machine gun a bus full of schoolchildren then your correct response is to tell him to stick it. And if he continues to try to commit mass murder then your ultimate responsibility is to shoot him.  

    Interesting opinion but utter rubbish not linked to the facts

    There are an amazing number of people who responded to the trial of that marine with the excuse that he was only obeying orders and had no choice but to go off and shoot random foreigners.  70 years after the Nazi war trials and we still have blind jingoistic loyalists using the same old excuse.
    I don’t believe personally that we should have a special case in this case.  The facts seems to be that the background to the murder was not in any way linked to anyone saying they were obeying orders. What was said was that he was emotionally disturbed due to seeing the limbs of his comrades used as props in celebrations. Hardly just obeying orders. I know this does not fit your worldview.
    Vomit inducing.
    This we can agree on. But on my part in relation to your totally nonsensical contribution. I know the type of person you are, I’ve met dozens if not hundreds of you. Blinded by historic hatred, are you Scottish ? Really are you 100%. Where does your heart lie ? Likely in the old country.

  79. Caledonalistic says:

    is a family portrait on display in Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen.  It’s located in the Palace Reception Rooms which are open to the public year round.  
    It certainly raises some interesting discussion points but the war isn’t one of them to my mind.

  80. Seasick Dave says:

    Has anyone watched Wake Up Call?
    The section about the start of WW1, WW2 and Vietnam is interesting…

  81. Brian Mark says:

    I quietly remembered a Great Great Uncle who fell at Arras in 1917 aged 21, he joined the army in 1913 as an economic conscript. I do not need a bit of red paper to remind me of his “sacrifice” or the hypocritical crap from our so called leaders

  82. Wullie B says:

    If you find yourself neeing financial help contact SSAFA , they can arrange hel from your regimentall association ,the Earl Haig Fund(Poppy Scotland) and others ,also Erskine House is funded from Poppy sales in Scotland for disabled ex servicemen in Scotland to get care or give families respite ,from a disabled ex Queens Own Highlander and Highlander who has in my time recieved help from the funds mentioned

  83. rabb says:

    My family & I don’t buy poppies. Not because of any the points raised in this article. It’s more personal than that.
    My great grandfather returned from Mesopotamia (via India) with septicaemia on deaths door after being shot.
    In those days it was hard enough for an able bodied person to find meaningful work to provide for a family never mind someone who was left disabled. Tough times for my family indeed. Despite all that, my great grandparents managed to scrape by and raise the family best they could.
    During all of this it was noticed that my wee granny was turning out to be a bit of a smarty pants. She excelled at school. After all the trials & tribulations she got a place at High School. The problem was that it was in another town. My great grandparents couldn’t afford the travel costs every day or to kit her out in uniform etc.
    My great grandfather then turned to the Haig fund. He fought in the great war, put his life on the line for queen & country and almost lost it on several occasions and was left disabled.
    The Haig fund would help out a veteran who was left on the scrapheap and unemployable, wouldn’t they?  The short answer was no. His application was refused.
    He died when I was a nipper (My wee great granny lived to the ripe old age of 98 so I saw plenty of her thankfully). He wasn’t the only one let down by the Haig fund. I’m pretty sure it done a lot of good but not for my family. It provided them with nothing.
    His wishes were for none of us to buy a poppy. Something I have stuck by to this day and will continue to do until I die out of respect for a REAL war hero.

  84. setondene says:

    That was a good post Rev Stu, one that I very much agree with.  I still give money to the appeal but won’t wear a poppy now, or attend a commemorative service.  Anyway, after a lot of thought and personal investigation, I think I actually like German people.  WW2 ended nearly 70 years ago: it’s time to let go and move on.

  85. Morag says:

    Well, I did the whole shebang.  Wore a poppy all last week, went to church this morning, did the two-minute-silence, stood outside in the cold sunshine in front of the village war memorial while the piper played Flowers of the Forest and nearly a dozen wreaths of paper poppies were laid.
    I’ve done it all my life.  I’ve paraded on the A71 in serried ranks of uniformed children while the traffic queued back down the Horseley Brae.  I’ve sung For All The Saints.  I was brought up to believe we were doing it for those who fought to keep this country safe.  Those people like my uncles, who didn’t join up voluntarily, but who went because they had to.
    This year I did it because this village is mainly unionist, and I’m known to be a nationalist and independence supporter.  I don’t want this to be divisive, and for it to be hijacked as a unionist shibboleth.  So I showed up in my poppy and did all the right things (apart from sing God Save The Queen but I was far from alone in that).
    I’ve had enough of it.  I used to wonder, how will this end when those who fought in the great wars are no more and it’s only a memory.  Will it be gradually more low key until we don’t do it any more?  But it’s getting quite nasty.  Nurnberg rallies indeed.
    The Episcopalian minister, who’s new, was wearing a white poppy at the service.  She used her address to explain it to the children.  Afterwards I asked her where she got it, and she promised to make sure they were available in the village next year.  I’ll be having one.

  86. kate says:

      Armistice Day is clearly  turned into political propaganda.    Not one veteran or serving soldier with a Scottish Irish or Welsh accent  interviewed,   Why is it held in London every year? why not different places in the UK to show appreciation of all soldiers from all four nations,  at least recognising the heaviest losses of life were young Scots.  

  87. scottish_skier says:

    Is that sunflowers instead of poppies?

  88. Jimmuckmc says:

    If you have watched any bbc program this past week
    You would see almost everyone wearing a poppy
    did they all individually buy them or were they a another expense scam

  89. Morag says:

    I saw a BBC journalist begin a piece to camera wearing a poppy.  Within seconds it had dropped to the ground, although he had barely moved.  It’s obvious it wasn’t properly pinned.  Someone had stuck it on him immediately before the cameras rolled, done it wrong, and it fell off.  It wasn’t something he had been wearing all day.
    I swear, if I was going on TV at this time of year, even if I was wearing a poppy, I’d take it off before going on camera.  It’s demeaning.

  90. Kenny Campbell says:

    I am disturbed slightly by the evidence of groupthink on this site. Is it a required duty of ‘membership’ that agreement is needed. Its no more valid to have an anti Scottish future vision as BT as this bizarre self flagilation on display by many on here……the past was not wholly unsupported in Scotland.

  91. Frazer Allan Whyte says:

    some lines from poor bereft, doomed and farsighted Charlotte Mew’s poem “The Cenotaph” …
    God is not mocked and neither are the dead
    For this will stand in our Marketplace-
    Who’ll sell, who’ll buy
    (Will you or I
    Lie to each other with the better grace)?
    While looking into every busy whore’s and huckster’s face
    As they drive bargains, is the Face
    Of God and some young, piteous, murdered face.
    The hucksters and whores need their parties- sorry celebrocommemorations – as obscene advertisements because so many millions did and do still die in vain – lured by lies of career and adventure or pushed by poverty into “joining up” or finally when the lies lose their force are conscripted. “Die and make no difference except for tears shed” doesn’t work as a recruiting slogan.

  92. Derick fae Yell says:

    fairiefromtheearth says:10 November, 2013 at 11:51 am
    “As an ex serviceman i would love to know weres the monies from the poppie sales?”

    I also have been wondering how much money PoppyScotland actually spends on ex-soldiers and how much it spends on itself.

    So I looked at the published Annual Accounts. It’s not easy to tell due to the way they are presented. Maybe someone a bit more au fait with financial statements could improve on this?  But as far as I can see: total income (page 25) from the Poppy appeal in 2012 was £2,889,383, topped up by donations and grants to a total of£3,197,332. Plus investment income of £555,203. I make that total income for 2012 of £3,752,535.

    Total staff costs were (page 30) £2,335,277 (62% of income). Of that salaries (excluding pensions and NI) were £1,982,977 (53% of income). One member of staff received emoluments in excess of £60,000 during the 12 month period to 30 September 2012. That would be the Chief Executive presumably. Nice work if you can get it.  69 full time staff of whom 43 work in the factory, the rest being ‘admin’, and 8 part time staff.

    Where the money not spent on staff costs goes is on Page 28

  93. scottish_skier says:

    I am disturbed slightly by the evidence of groupthink on this site.
    I’m not sure where you are coming from / what you are getting at, but rest assured my disgust a what is being reported in the article has absolutely noting to do with independence. If the Scottish government under indy planned the same or an SBC showed similar programming I’d be appalled. 
    No, not appalled. Afraid. The two main UK parties are now ‘nationalist’ (use union flag as a background, are centre-right dictatorial, cracking down on immigration, singling out ‘weak’ groups for persecution, celebrating wars, building a surveillance state, arresting people for ‘thinking about protesting’…) even though the UK is already independent. Hot on their heals is UKIP.
    Some people have this idea that fascism / totalitarianism is confined to history in the west. The moment people think that is the point where things get very dangerous.

  94. JLT says:

    Scottish Skier
    ‘Some people have this idea that fascism / totalitarianism is confined to history in the west. The moment people think that is the point where things get very dangerous.’
    I believe we are already there.

  95. muttley79 says:

    No, not appalled. Afraid. The two main UK parties are now ‘nationalist’ (use union flag as a background, are centre-right dictatorial, cracking down on immigration, singling out ‘weak’ groups for persecution, celebrating wars, building a surveillance state, arresting people for ‘thinking about protesting’…) even though the UK is already independent. Hot on their heals is UKIP.
    Some people have this idea that fascism / totalitarianism is confined to history in the west. The moment people think that is the point where things get very dangerous.
    This is the thing that I fear most.  Great post SS by the way.  The highlighted parts say it all.  UKIP’s leader, Nigel Farage, is an extreme right winger, and has been given media coverage out of all proportion to his parties’ representation.  Dimbleby (sp) keeps giving the guy the oxygen of publicity.  The amount of times he has appeared on Question Time in the last few years is an absolute disgrace.  He has been able to promote the most vile social darwinist agenda.  The disabled and unemployed are constantly being portrayed as scroungers etc.  Immigrants are being targeted by the state.  The poor are being moved out of London.  This is a dangerous time.  I wish more of the media would waken up and inform the public what is happening.  The appeareance of the head spooks last week in the Commons was shocking.  It is clear that there is no democratic oversight of the intelligence agencies.        

  96. bill telfer says:

    “the sick perversion of remembrance ” puts it very well.

  97. HandandShrimp says:

    I don’t really have a problem supporting the Poppy Fund or wearing a poppy but I haven’t watched the TV thing in years. I did go down to the local wreath laying this morning it being a particularly lovely morning. I watched and did service to family memories but the event was very Churchy this year with hymns, prayers and round of God save the Queen at the end. It was a wee bit of a closed shop as a memorial goes. It was probably my last.
    I have said my piece about the event next year. Regardless if held in Stirling or St Albans there should be no more than a sombre two minutes silence in August 2014 to mark the beginning of senseless industrial slaughter. November 2018 and the centenary of the Armistice should be where the money and time is spent on events to mark the 100 years.

  98. heraldnomore says:

    As I outlined in a post of mine a few days ago it’s white poppies now, from PPU, whose website is excellent…  (no links tonight I’m afraid, but usual search engines etc)

  99. Moraymint says:

    Great post Reverend, thank you … and which prompted me to share my own thoughts here …

  100. PRJ says:

    I was reading an article the other day and this phrase came to my attention.
    Conservatism is incompatible with democracy, prosperity, and civilization in general. It is a destructive system of inequality and prejudice that is founded on deception and has no place in the modern world.

  101. Jamie Arriere says:

    I had a look at the BBC World website to see what other countries were doing to commemorate Armistice Day – nada, zilch, nothing! Is everywhere else ignoring it? Do other countries not matter? Why isn’t there a Eurovision event every year about this, instead of a shitty song contest. How do countries like Belgium and France recover from the scale of death and destruction which happened on its soil?
    You would think the BBC just doesn’t want to engage with Europe. That’s why I get very depressed at this nonsense every year when the coffin of mankind only seems to get a Union Jack draped on it.

  102. Taranaich says:

    What it comes down to is this: the emotions of an entire family were used as a tool to foster goodwill. Any dissent would be twisted into an odious strawman – how could you possibly find fault in a little girl being reunited with her daddy?

    Here’s why: there are hundreds of little children whose parents are still out there. There are hundreds more whose parents are never coming home. What made this little girl and her daddy special? Why did he get to come home, and others didn’t – and never will, save in a Union Flag-shrouded coffin? Or, rather, why was it only him that got to come home from these illegal, costly, pointless wars? Because they needed good telly. Not because they wanted to bring one of the boys home to save his life, or to reunite a family. Because it would look good for the celebrations.

    And then think: this is a remembrance of a far more terrible war. How dare they “remember” the loss of hundreds of thousands of men, even boys only a few years older than that wee girl, by having a tearful reunion that was cruelly denied to so many Tommies and their families?

    This was – and I find I’m using this word more and more on the site – despicable.

    @Kenny Campbell: I am disturbed slightly by the evidence of groupthink on this site. Is it a required duty of ‘membership’ that agreement is needed.

    I am disturbed slightly that you seem to have missed the many, many prolonged debates and even arguments which somewhat mitigate the idea of even a majority of people agreeing on anything apart from Scottish independence.

  103. southernscot says:

    Death on the Clyde- the Politicians poppycock.
    A good read. Background on Clydebank and the blitz.

  104. The Rough Bounds says:

    ”Truth forever on the scaffold,
    Wrong forever on the throne.”
    James R. Lowell. American poet. 19th cent.
    This British propaganda stuff is going to get a lot worse before it starts to get better.
    The only hope I have for the future is in that old adage, ‘Give a man enough rope and he will hang himself.’

  105. Ian Brotherhood says:

    @Seasick Dave (4.26) –
    Just finished watching ‘Wake up Call’.
    Thought-provoking stuff. I’m wishing now that I’d recommended that to Stuart Black, rather than the one I did last night, although they’ve a lot in common.
    It’s just a shame that some pro-Indy supporters can’t – or won’t – acknowledge that powerful forces are interested in this referendum process. Those forces won’t ever have to show themselves, but their influence has already become obvious via the behaviour of BT.

  106. Ian Brotherhood says:

    Well said man.

  107. lumilumi says:

    I’m glad for the little girl who got to see her daddy but… Perhaps a few years down the line, she might feel a bit used?
    It’s sickening that Remembrance Day is used to glorify war. To prop up a bygone Empire.
    In Finland, Veterans’ Day is a solemn, respectful affair. Wreaths, church services, a documentary or two on the telly, interviewing remaining veterans. Quiet and respectful, a time for reflection and gratitude.
    In Finland, of course, the focus is on WW II. Finland became independent (from Tsarist Russia) during WW I, in 1917, so we were out of “the Great War”. In 1918 we had a brief but deeply wounding civil war between the reds and the whites, and the first two decades of independece were a bit of a bumpy ride. But in 1939 when our independence, our very existence, was threatened, everybody came together to defend it.
    The funny thing is, the only veterans we now have are from WW II, and there are precious few of them left. Finland hasn’t been engaged in any war since then. UN Peace Keepers, sure. Some have even died in UN-sanctioned duties, and they’re remembered and respected, of course.
    A full-on television show with flashing Finnish flags or something, and a stage-managed reunion between family members would be seen as a travesty in Finland. Distasteful and disrespectul of those who died in the wars, and disrespectful of all others who want to remember and reflect, not cheapen our deeply felt sentiments into some jingoistic showbiz thingamagajingy.
    Then again, Finland never was an Empire, just a wee country that decided, enough is enough, we’re better off on our own.

  108. Eddie says:

    My grandfather was one of the last to leave the beach at Dunkirk and was a broken man due to his experiences.  My great-uncle (his brother) was KIA in Antwerp and I was named after him.  That is why I pause to reflect on November 11th of every year and not as part of a Westminster grab of a nations conscience.
    I was in attendence at a war memorial today as part of my son’s Beaver troop parade and wreath laying.  There where plenty of parents and other adults in attendence and very few where actually wearing a poppy (myself included).  It seems that folk are getting the message that this simple act has been hijacked by both media and westminster government.

  109. joe kane says:

    I don’t think I need to add any gloss to this news item from a few years ago, just to say that ex-MP and ex-Minister John Reid was one of the main architects of the Labour Government’s international war crimes against Afghanistan and Iraq, the effects of which will be felt for decades to come by all the victims involved –

    MP Reid misses Remembrance service but goes to Celtic match 
    Wishaw Press match
    11 Nov 2009 

    Before Reid and his fellow British war criminals attacked Iraq, there were no terrorists and no car-bombings in the country. Now, thousands of Iraqis every year since have been losing their lives as a consequence of his original crime, with no end in sight –

    Analysis: Iraq’s never-ending security crisis
    03 Oct 2013

  110. Macsenex says:

    Television programmes are was with poppies. It’s so superficial and even comical. On Countryfile a working farmer was tending his cattle wearing a poppy.

    You can’t stage-manage remembrance. Remembrance speaks for itself. It is personal and abhors show.

  111. Footsoldier says:

    The whole thing was kitsch but many of my well to do friends loved it and are still intending to vote No and absolutely nothing to-date has changed their minds. At our local SNP branch meetings (quite a prosperous area) we all have friends etc where the No voters still seem to outnumber the Yes’s by a substantial majority.

    There is a lot to do and I am trying hard not to fall out with long time friends on the issue. Being a political activist for a long time, I have many friends who support other parties and we have all agreed to respect each other’s views. The independence debate however, runs much deeper than normal politics.

  112. joe kane says:

    I’m sure I’m not the only one to notice there seems to be a deliberate policy of increasingly introducing the British military into British public life. As well as homecoming military parades through small local towns, people in military uniforms pop up all over the tv programme schedules.

    I noticed there was a US-like parade of British military personnel at the recent American Football game at Wembley. And by accident I noticed a prominent member of the audience, sat in the front row in last night’s episode of the BBC ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ show, was in full military ceremonial dress uniform.

    Recent Hamilton and Motherwell military parades –

  113. Indy says:

    I agree very much with the tenor of the article. Any celebration of war is disgusting and WW1 was nothing but butchery. As I recall Captain Edmund Blackadder said it would have been much simpler and more efficient if the participants had stayed at home and just shot 50,000 of their own men every month.
    But I think we need to be a bit careful about assuming what will happen in Scotland will reflect what happens elsewhere in the UK
    As I understand it the decision to hold a commemoration event to coincide with the Commonwealth Games is because there will be so many Commonwealth heads of state there. They have been sprucing up the various Commonwealth War Graves sites in Glasgow and I think the focus will be on the Commonwealth angle rather than on some patriotic British stuff which would go down like a lead balloon in a city where they sent tanks in to quell strikers just a few short years after the end of WW1.
    I could be wrong but I have not heard anything that would suggest any kind of celebration is planned. I suspect it will be quite the opposite.

  114. Jingly Jangly says:

    Jamie Arriere
    Belgium remembers WW1 every day, 2000hrs 365 days a year at the Menin Gate in Ypres.

  115. Weedeochandorris says:

    Ugh! UK is turning more into America every day!

  116. theycan'tbeserious says:

    #Seasick Dave
    Very interesting link thanks for that! You can see it all happening to our government as described and people who question the establishment are the “loony left” demonised. lambasted, belittled and ridiculed.
    There will be a “New World Order” here in Scotland and it starts with “INDEPENDENCE”!
    p.s. We must look at the banks role in our new world?   

  117. joe kane says:

    Good blog post from Another Angry Voice –

    The desecration of the poppy
    10 Nov 2013 
    This year I came across another sickening image, in which little kids have been dressed up in “future soldier” T-shirts and told to smile inanely whilst holding gigantic red poppies. This image is an absolutely clear demonstration that the original meaning of the red poppy is being eroded away. Instead of being used as a symbol of solemn remembrance for the war dead, the poppy is now being used for the cheerful glorification and celebration of present and future conflicts. 

  118. Daughter of Evil Reindeer says:

    In remembrance of all those who died in Iraq fighting for the corporations…

  119. Betty Dunlop says:

    Sorry but this whole thread is so full of those who think that they are so much “gooder” than those they are writing about that it is cringeworthy in its own right, even the initial poster.

  120. Mark says:

    Instead of writing a very honest article this comes across bitter as an un ripe lemon. Firstly what do the events of a Football match have to do with the rememberance day proceedings? clearly you have no investigative skills at all or you would have realised songs of “Fenian Blood” were not sung at Ibrox by supporters or Soldiers and this was confirmed by a POLICE investigation, however why should we let facts get in the way of creative journalism eh?

    Secondly while  it is correct no one celebrates the start of a war and no individual soldier secretly wishes to go to war, it happens. Mostly yes because of politicians however your crass description of remember ance for Ww1 & ww2 is disgusting. Are we to forget the young soldiers who died in Bosnia? The Falklands? Northern Ireland? Iraq? Afghanistan? You can argue until your lungs give out whether Britain had any right to be there or not however the me. And women in the forces ( once enlisted) do not have the choice you or I do, they go where they are told.

    While I do not for one second condone “the shooting of brown people” as you so eloquently put it, you have absolutley no idea the mental scarring, torture conditions and abhorrent things those serving in the force are subject to when in combat.  Instead of hiding behind an iPad or laptop why not speak to a veteran or someone with PTSD and get their side of the story? Or better yet open your god damn eyes and peel away the politicay correct blindfold that you are wearing!!

    The world is a bad place, a young man who was someone’s father, partner and son was butchered in the street by  “innocent brown people” simply because he was in the armed forces. Is that to be swept under the carpet?  I am under no illusion there are terrible people in the armed forces who commit atrocities and they should be punished however if you were subjected to the mental torture any of them had been I am sure your opinion wouldn’t be so black and white. These men and women are in no way prepared for what they see or have to do but I suppose from years of playing call of duty you would be ready to jump to front line action instantly?

    You sir are so far removed from the reality of the situation the phrase ” head up your arse” comes to mind, and I cannot fathom why you would write such a pathetic article that  instead of sttimulating the mind, only shows your contempt for the armed forces and those who currently serve. 

    “Frangas non flectas”

  121. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Instead of writing a very honest article this comes across bitter as an un ripe lemon.”

    I noticed we had a referrer link from the Follow Follow forum this morning, I wondered how long it would be before the angry Rangers 2.0 fans turned up.

    “songs of “Fenian Blood” were not sung at Ibrox by supporters or Soldiers”

    Nobody said they were sung at that event. I said Ibrox was the home of such songs, which it certainly is.

    “Are we to forget the young soldiers who died in Bosnia? The Falklands? Northern Ireland? Iraq? Afghanistan?”

    I didn’t say that either, nor anything that could sensibly have been interpreted in such a way.

    “The world is a bad place, a young man who was someone’s father, partner and son was butchered in the street by ”innocent brown people” simply because he was in the armed forces. Is that to be swept under the carpet?”

    No. Those responsible should be held responsible, prosecuted and punished, which is what IS happening to them. But do you never stop to wonder why it happened? Why should someone hate our armed forces in the first place? Is it perhaps because we keep sending them to kill the inhabitants of countries where we have no legitimate business whatsoever?

    “the forces ( once enlisted) do not have the choice you or I do, they go where they are told.”

    “Once enlisted” is a fairly important qualifier there. Nobody makes them enlist. They join up in the full knowledge of what they’re likely to be asked to do.

    “Instead of hiding behind an iPad or laptop why not speak to a veteran or someone with PTSD and get their side of the story?”

    I don’t “hide behind” anything. I post with my real name. And what makes you think I don’t know veterans? I do, including Afghanistan ones. Their views are pretty similar to mine.

    “I suppose from years of playing call of duty you would be ready to jump to front line action instantly?”

    I don’t play Call Of Duty. And no, I wouldn’t be much use as a soldier. If it was left up to me, people in Afghanistan would just have to go un-shot and cope with that as best they could. When Afghanistan threatens to invade the UK, ask me again.

  122. Stuart Black says:

    “Frangas non flectas”
    Ah, the family motto of the Cassidys, from Fermanagh, the words being incorporated into their family crest.
    Interesting choice.

  123. Vambomarbeleye says:

    The Festival of rememberence has become much more somber in recent years. No more cutlass swinging thank god. This last one was trying just a bit too hard. Too much in it ie wee girl and dad also why sunset. Thats for beating of retreat. Totaly different thing. If they had slowed down a bit with content then the poor flag bearers from the legion would not have had to march at 120. They looked like they were being marched before orders.

    The original plans for whithall were secular but the C of E sky pilots muscled in at a very early stage. Same with the tomb of the the unknown soldier. He could have been from any religion or none.

    I think the head of state and goverment should be there. If for no other reason than to remind them that war has consequences. Good to see the war widowes front and center.

    I have been remembering for well over 50 years. For me it’s remembering war dead. All sides. All nations. All wars. Death is the eaqualiser.
    Just had a two min silence at sea. Sounded the bells. 11 11 at 11 as it’s supposed to be.

  124. The Man in the Jar says:

    Rev as a former soldier of sixteen years service including two years in N. Ireland and a tour of duty in the Falklands, I back your view to the hilt!

  125. Stuart Black says:

    Ta Rev, 🙂

  126. Vambomarbeleye says:

    Who remembers Ralph Reader doing his sing along at it. We’re riding along on the breast of a slave etc. It’s better than it used to be. Still too poe faced, C of E and grovelling. Needs to take a long hard look at it’s self. It’s not supposed to be entertainment.

    While im on my soap box. Why does the queen not wear her medals. At least she served for a couple of them unlike Edward. Quite sickning to see him on Sunday morning. There were men and woman who did their 22 and came out with nothing. Not even the 1977 piece of tin. He is just a slap in their faces.

    Notice Phil has a load of campain stars. Was he sailing ships in all theaters. Surprised he hasent got one for bombing Berlin. Sorry forgot that would be family.

  127. Vambomarbeleye says:

    For some of us. Football is the signal to change channels on the tv, radio, conversation. It’s just not on our radar as we think that any one interested in football is a moron with no imagination and nothing better to do. So can we try to keep it off the site as it just ends up in the usual huray boo stuff and no one wins.

  128. Morag says:

    I also change channels when football comes on.  It leaves me stone cold uninterested.
    However, football-related articles have been a feature of this site since the beginning.  At that time, they were crucial in bringing people here who would never have come just for the politics.  But once here, a lot of them stayed.
    RevStu is a football fan.  He’s knowledgeable about the game.  His football knowledge is part of the mix that informs his articles.  I really don’t think telling him to “try to keep it off the site” is a winning strategy.

  129. Titler says:

    You know, the really insidious thing about this is how it’s moved the Overton Window to the point that you’re not allowed to even say you don’t like the attitudes of the Armed Forces, and those who voluntarily embrace them in general. Gasp! The prejudice!

    Well, so what? Am I really supposed to say I like boisterous, overly-macho (including the women who now serve) people who have a liking for violence and Authority? That anyone who can say “I would feel I’d be justified in killing if… and sign me up for potentially being put in those situations!” isn’t already part of the problem? I used to volunteer with an ex-SBS soldier, and whose every single story would end up with someone being punched or shot, to the point he’d be telling the elderly we worked with about human rights violations during his service in Northern Ireland as if they’d be impressed by them; what’s wrong with saying he was a horrible example of a human being?

    I was re-reading some of my old John Pilger books last night, and I came to the chapter on the SAS training the Khmer Rouge in the use of land mines to terrorize and kill innocent villagers because America hated the Vietnamese who’d overthrown them more than they cared about Cambodian civilians; interestingly, looking for a link for here, I found that some of the famous Bravo Two Zero team were involved in that. Am I really not allowed to say that such people, showing Pol Pot how to most efficiently maim children, are not in any fucking way heroes?

    That’s different from saying “We shouldn’t try and help service people if they get wounded or damaged”, which I absolutely think should be the case, but that’s because I’m a more caring person than the people in the Armed Forces. So are firemen, nurses, pre-school teachers, social workers… Sorry, that’s just a simple fact. Different people have different skill sets. Being caring doesn’t make me a professional footballer for instance.

    And the people in the Armed Forces may be essential, but they can’t and shouldn’t be expected to be loved by everyone. Amputation is sometimes essential but no one romanticises it; If your doctor turned up and took an extreme joy in performing surgery itself, rather than pleasure in the eventual results, you’d naturally be suspicious, but we suspend judgement when it’s a group of people who take pleasure in the possibility of killing by choice?

    That’s the real fascism in the modern day Poppy movement, that it’s slowly taken away any right to state that the Troops aren’t necessarily or automatically Heroes as a subtle way of destroying pacifism and humanism as acceptable political values. By the very same people who usually dare claim to be Christians too; Matthew 5:9 apparently doesn’t appear in their copy of the Bible.

    “These people are fighting for you to have the right to insult them!”, yes I can hear the protests already; SO STOP TRYING TO TAKE THAT RIGHT AWAY THEN. Because you’re just proving my point otherwise… if you’re not fighting for a democratic country with a civilian controlled military that is deployed according to the will of and needs of it’s people, why don’t you move to North Korea or any other military-dictatorship instead?

    None of which is directed at every single person in uniform ever; did you know that James Blunt, He Of Seriously Wimpy Ballad Fame, SAVED THE WORLD?   But he, and his commanding officer Sir Mike Jackson, did so by querying and stalling from obeying valid orders and following the responsible, logical, and ultimately better course of action instead. As did Stanislav Petrov when he didn’t follow his orders to the letter and begin a nuclear retaliation to an attack that wasn’t actually happening. As did every single Wermacht soldier who quietly disobeyed valid orders to commit war crimes…

    And there’s lots of soldiers whose orders, valid and decent, they’ve followed to the letter with dedication and skill and helped lots of people too; there will be many across Asia doing just that in the wake of the terrible typhoon. But that still doesn’t mean I have to want to sit in a bar afterwards and listen to them talk Tom Clancy weapons porn all day; or see in my media their children being manipulated into providing propaganda extolling the virtues of our uniformed Ubermenschen…

    Point me to the person who discovers clean energy production and saves us from climate catastrophe, now that’s a hero to me. He’d ensure Scottish Independence in the long term AND do more to defang militant religious terrorism than every single soldier lost to short sighted and stupid political egos to date too; Everyone should be a winner then; but what depresses me is that this is now consider a fringe opinion when expressed in our media these days.

    But you sure as hell had better be wearing a poppy on TV…

  130. Vambomarbeleye says:

    Seem to remember an on-line petition against next year’s O what a lovely War circus. Any one know what became of it.

  131. scottish_skier says:

    Sorry but this whole thread is so full of those who think that they are so much “gooder” than those they are writing about that it is cringeworthy in its own right, even the initial poster.
    By posting this comment, you did the same as what you are apparently complaining about.

  132. Vambomarbeleye says:

    Back in the 60s a lot of villages and towns were discussing as to weather to carry on with rememberance parades. My father had been playing last post and reveille for close on 50 years. It was only the war and the fact the church decidied to no longer mark rememberence day that hed didnt get the fifty. He actualy broadcast to the nation from Bristol Cathederal during the war at the anual rememberance service.

    How ever the we decided to stick our noses into other countrys affairs and the names went onto the memorials. By the way it was a fight to get names added after the second world war.

    It was also a hard fight to get the war widows reconised and on parade. perhaps seeing them there with their husbands medals on the right hand side of their chest was uncomfortable for those in power. As it should be.

    The poppy is not about the living and it is not glorifying war. It’s about the dead and the futility of war.

    I have seen walls come up and walls come down and for what. Death and misery.

    For those who dont know. The first call is the last post which does end with Lights out. ( the militery is never too subtle ) The second call is the reveille which starts with rise soldier rise. Very christian concept. Some times you will get a piper playing flowers of the forest in between to the two calls.

  133. While you couldn’t begrudge the wee lassie her moment of joy, and while this was certainly an emotional moment, I wonder what place it has in an act of remembrance. I rather thought that the point of remembrance was all those fathers who didn’t come home, and all those wee boys and girls for whom there was no such joyful reunion. Did someone forget that?

  134. AyeRight says:

    Why don’t they just come clean and rename it “Worship Armed Forces Day”?

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