Thursday, 10 November 2011

What price tolerance?

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
(John McCrae)

Here in the UK and many other parts of the world, mid-November becomes a time to remember our war-dead by pinning a poppy on to our clothing. (Apparently the British Legion send 3 million of them around the globe and sell upwards of 45 million in the UK, earning the charity around £40M)

The poppy has become a powerful symbol of remembrance and a hopeful prayer for peace. And you know what - it ticks me off when I hear people complaining that some people don’t wear one, or that they don’t wear it for enough days, or that they wear it too early, or that the one that is sold isn’t botanically correct, or even that the angle of the leaf should be worn at a different angle.

We even have a newsreader, John Snow who objected to, what he called “poppy fascism” and reserved the right to wear his poppy only on Remembrance Day – and caused a stushie (this is a crackin’ Scots word meaning a fuss) throughout the country.

And so a symbol of peace and hope becomes an article that people bitch and complain about. What happened to tolerance? I know it’s a matter of degree, but it’s this very type of human behaviour – I’m right and you’re fuckin’ wrong – that causes strife in the first place.

We’re all different, we all hold different views and we all have a human right to continue to do so. Those who want to come together in this way and show a strength of community and purpose – go in peace. And hope. Those who want to remember in their own way, or even not at all – go in peace. And hope.

As the Dalai Lama said, “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”

Enough of the bickering.

Right, that’s me off my soapbox.


  1. You tell 'em, Michael. Kindness is always possible.

  2. I'm with you, Michael. It's at the stage where it seems the right thing to do is buy a poppy and not wear it. The whole thing's being degraded, distorted, corrupted. It should be about people and freedom - and Prince whatsisname and that Cameron bloke and rich, brain-dead footballers should butt out.

  3. I had a wee debate with the wee fella on the way home from school yesterday. About the difference between "acceptance" and "tolerance". Where do you get this stuff from, I asked him. The answer? South Park.

    Amazing, innit?

  4. Nice wee soap box rant.

    I am not to sure if you allow pasting url's, but on the back of your "rant" I thought you and mibees some of your readers MIGHT be interested in this. It is a guy from Canada called Terry Kelly and how wan day he went intae a store at 11hrs on Remembrance day and how everything fell silent for two minutes till some nutter wanted served and to leave.

    POWERFUL - It's called "A Pittance of Time".

  5. cheers, Rab. I'm off to have a look.