The poppy is about remembrance, not a country's suffering

I see FIFA has been in the news again for all the wrong reasons.

Tuesday, 15th November 2016, 6:01 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 4:23 pm

This time it tried to stop the England and Scotland football teams from wearing poppies when they met for their World Cup qualifier match at Wembley on Friday.

World football’s governing body’s rules apparently prohibit political, religious or commercial messages on shirts.

Yeah, like that’s what the poppy represents. The whole idea of a ban was always ludicrous.

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Unsurprisingly, there was public fury and both England and Scotland took the unprecedented step of ignoring FIFA.

The Football Association’s chief executive, Martin Glenn, said both FAs would defy the ban and accept any punishment.

The FIFA official trying to enforce the ban, a Senegalese bureaucrat called Fatma Samoura, said ‘Britain is not the only country that has been suffering from the result of war’.

But this isn’t about a country’s suffering, it’s about remembrance.

Samoura is reportedly earning £1m a year. You’d think someone earning that much might have some intelligence.

But this is FIFA we’re talking about, so I suppose it’s hardly any surprise.

I don’t think Ms Samoura is fit to be in her position, as she clearly doesn’t understand the whole purpose of the poppy.

I read that she was brought in to improve FIFA’s reputation and transparency.

Well, she got off to a great start, didn’t she?

Prime minister Theresa May came out and condemned FIFA over the ‘outrageous’ ban, telling the scandal-hit body to get its own house in order before telling others what to do.

Quite right too. Other countries choose not to commemorate their fallen, but that’s up to them.

We do and it’s something we’re proud of in this country.

And another thing. Members of our armed forces sacrificed their lives fighting on behalf of some of FIFA’s member countries. Why have these countries not been supporting us and speaking up for us?

They were only too glad of our help when they needed it. Now their silence is deafening.


The residents of Portsmouth were put on high alert last week.

Being the home of the Royal Navy, I wondered whether it had anything to do with the Russian navy’s foray into the Channel.

No, it was all about ladybirds. Apparently they were going to invade in huge numbers, looking for somewhere warm to bed down.

Experts told us not to panic. But it was too late, I was already locked away in my doomsday bunker and the kids were issued with flamethrowers.

There were reports of thousands of them climbing up windows and covering statues in Kingston Cemetery.

Have these foreign invaders got no respect?

People didn’t vote Brexit for this. Invoke Article 50 now!


I’m not a big fan of the BBC and begrudge having to pay the TV licence fee, but the new Planet Earth series is brilliant.

If you were watching The X Factor on the other side when the first episode aired, what the heck were you thinking of!

Swimming sloths and Sir David Attenborough, what more could you want?

The scene where the little iguana was getting chased by the racing snakes is quite possibly the greatest-ever scene in documentary history. Amazing.

I’ve never given a damn about a sea-going iguana before.

But by the time that particular segment had finished, I’d been on to my bank and set up a direct debit to help fund a bridge over those nasty snakes.