LESLEY KEATING: Support peace, but not at the expense of the British Legion

Lesley says the white poppy movement is 'piggybacking' on the British Legion's remembrance campaign
Lesley says the white poppy movement is 'piggybacking' on the British Legion's remembrance campaign
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It’s Remembrance Day this weekend and we are being encouraged to buy poppies.

The Poppy Appeal’s red poppy has long been the symbol of the British Legion.

It’s an opportunity to remember those who have fallen in conflict, protecting our country, and those who are still risking their lives daily.

War is not pleasant. It’s not necessarily something we all agree on.

But, nevertheless, the British Legion has always done an amazing job in supporting the brave people who make up the British armed forces and their families.

Enter the white poppy.

This is an initiative by the Peace Pledge Union (PPU) which is aiming to commemorate all victims of war, not just the armed forces, but civilians too and those killed fighting for any cause in any war. This includes terrorists.

Apparently, children in schools are now being given a choice of poppies to buy without fully understanding them.

So why is this poppy being sold alongside red ones at a time of year always associated with the British Legion?

The reason is crystal clear – to piggyback on the success of the British Legion appeal.

Yes, support peace. We all want that, don’t we? And buy a symbol to wear if you wish. But why not another flower, rather than a white poppy?

And why not at a different time of year rather than attempt to cynically divert funds from the well-meaning but ill-informed.

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-peace. I’m not in favour of war either.

I had family in both world wars who were decorated for bravery. I also had a relative who was a conscientious objector but chose to drive an ambulance through the Blitz instead. I see both side of the coin.

When asked on TV last week where the British Legion funds were being directed, a spokesman explained all the fantastic causes they facilitate.

The same question was asked of the ironically argumentative PPU representative who clearly found it hard to answer.

Eventually, he admitted that the funds were actually going ‘towards making more white poppies’.

That’s money well spent then.


Still on the Big Renovation – this time, choosing paint colours.

I’ve basically started recreating 50 shades of grey in the bedroom – but not in the way you’re thinking.

No, this is all about those little tester pots.

What is it about painting patches of prospective colours that makes me feel like I’m vandalizing my home?

And who dreams up the names for them?

Some are obvious – Dove Grey, Polished Pebble, Goose Down.

But who on earth decided a shade of ‘greige’ should be called Lauren?

I think there’s a gap in the market for names like Drizzle, Damp, Overcast, Burst Pipe and Puddle.

They could be the British Weather Collection!


Last weekend the whole world seemed to have turned orange and black.

Halloween originated with Samhain, the start of the Pagan new year, where departed ancestors are honoured.

It’s ironic we exported those traditional celebrations to America, via Irish settlers, yet it came right back at us as a huge, commercial money-spinner in sweets, toys and other paraphernalia including garish house decorations.

It’s now all about gory costumes and knocking doors uninvited for trick or treats.

It’s a shame there’s the underlying menace of the trick aspect.

Funny how we spend most of the year telling our children not to take sweets from strangers or generally being a nuisance but, on one day of the year, anything goes.