UK Looking To Cement Its New Anti-Free Speech Reputation By Arresting Man For Posting Photo Of A Burning Poppy

from the making-a-mockery-of-free-speech dept

Lately, we’ve noted a string of questionable prosecutions in the UK over statements made by people on social networks. These posts may have been in poor taste, but hardly seemed like the sort of thing that ought to be criminal. While UK prosecutors are finally admitting that perhaps they need to rethink speech online, it apparently hasn’t stopped these kinds of arrests and prosecutions. Police, over the weekend, arrested someone for posting an image of a burning poppy. The poppy is seen as a memorial sign for those who died in battle, and the image was posted on “Remembrance Sunday.” While some might say this in poor taste, it certainly seems like a legitimate form of political protest… but apparently not to law enforcement in the UK:

“A man from Aylesham has tonight been arrested on suspicion of malicious telecommunications,” Kent police said in a statement after the arrest. “This follows a posting on a social network site of a burning poppy. He is currently in police custody awaiting interview.”

The article notes that free speech advocates in the UK are speaking out in response to this, pointing out how ridiculous it is — and noting that part of the reason why soldiers fought wars for the UK was to provide freedoms like the ability to express their views on things like war.

Filed Under: , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “UK Looking To Cement Its New Anti-Free Speech Reputation By Arresting Man For Posting Photo Of A Burning Poppy”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
96 Comments
Bas Grasmayer (profile) says:

Arguably worse than what some countries the UK loves to criticize are doing, such as Russia.

And the thing I see government representatives saying over and over again here in Russia, is that their measures are in line with many Western / European policies…

The easiest way for us, as the West, to lead by example, is simply by not being hypocritical.

Narcissus (profile) says:

I should get my mind out of the gutter

After the first few lines I was wondering why anyone would care that someone burned an opium producing flower. Sounded like a protest against drugs or perhaps against involvement in Afganistan.

Then I saw the explanation and I remembered you see everybody on UK television wearing one of these flowers on their breast and something clicked.

Is it bad if you don’t know what a flower looks like but you do now it’s drug producing qualities?

Lurker Keith says:

Worse yet...

Worse yet, he didn’t burn an actual poppy, but just a paper one, if some of the other sites I saw this on (after first reading Ken White‘s poem) are correct.

It’s one thing to burn a flag, it’s another to burn a paper representation of a flag. Same for flowers, I’d wager.

Someone on Popehat’s comments mentioned there were offensive words in addition to the poppy burning, but it’s still a Free Speech issue either way.

Also, I’m not sure if it was a video so much as just a picture. I didn’t go looking for the actual post, so I’m just going by what others (such as the one I linked to) have posted.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Worse yet...

Burning a flag, or a representation of one (paper or otherwisae) is EXACTLY the same as burning a real poppy or a representation of one.

ie: IT MEANS NOTHING and can have no effect on anyone and should be absolutely protected under Freedom of Expression. Though it seems the butthurt of some people who should know better in the UK (and elsewhere this bullshit occurs) is the prime concern nowadays.

If anyone had an ounce of logic in them they would realise the reason WHY these wars were faught in the first place was against the tyranny of oppression which this arrest absolutely is.

I’m with Tim Minchin.. THIS IS FUCKING BULLSHIT! and I might go post some pictures of burning poppies, rosemary, Victoria Crosses, UK Parliamentarians, and other toffs myself.

Anonymous Coward says:

This sort of thing is happening all over the world. While governments love the idea behind free speech, it’s more like a concept rather than something you’re allowed to exercise.

Government doesn’t want you exercising your right to free speech and it’s a concept where government decides how and when it wants you to exercise that right to free speech.

You know, the United Nations talks a good talk about human rights, free speech and human dignity but when it comes to holding every government up to those ideals, the United Nations always ends up falling flat on its face.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Apparently the UK doesn't get 'irony'

So if he’s ‘disrespecting’ the sacrifice of soldiers by expressing his view using the freedoms they died to allow him to keep, what does that make the actions of the police here, who are arresting him for using those freedoms?

It seems that any disrespect he may be showing is completely overshadowed by the flat out contempt the police are showing for said sacrifices here.

PaulT (profile) says:

Worse yet...

“Worse yet, he didn’t burn an actual poppy, but just a paper one”

Actually, that’s probably worse in the eyes of those it was meant to offend. The artificial poppies are the ones sold for charity that people wear in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday as a memorial symbol. Arguably, burning one of these is worse than burning an actual poppy as it’s burning the symbol of what’s represented, rather than the thing that inspired that symbol.

“it’s still a Free Speech issue either way.”

I agree here. Unfortunately, I’d guess that the tabloid-reading rabble will have been roused too much by the offensiveness of the act to consider the free speech context.

amillionbytes (profile) says:

I'm confused

Free Speech isn’t an excuse to be stupid.

Veterans worked, fought, and died for my freedom; including my freedom to walk around with a talking penis that shouts racist fart jokes at old ladies.

However, no matter how cool that would make me, I would just be an idiot. A stupid, penis-shouting idiot.

The poppy symbolises the sacrifices our friends and families made and make for liberty, freedom, and yes, Free Speech. Its sale raises charity money for war veterans of all ages. It’s not party-centred, it’s not pro- or anti-war; it’s about memory and gratefulness.

The “irony” the guy doesn’t get is that he’s burning, destroying, expunging the symbol he’s supposed to be using to contemplate and be thankful for that freedom. The paradox being that he’s stupid enough to have burnt a symbol that enables him to be free enough to destroy it. If he had understood what the thing was actually for, perhaps he would have made a massive poppy and stuck it in his back garden, proud that Freedom is worth fighting for, that it is important.

Instead, the dick burnt it.

Thank GOD the police have removed another low-IQ freak from the voting pool.

nospacesorspecialcharacters (profile) says:

Re: I'm confused

The real irony is in your rant. Let me help you with that confusion…

“The poppy symbolises the sacrifices our friends and families made and make for liberty, freedom, and yes, Free Speech. Its sale raises charity money for war veterans of all ages.”

Presumably he bought the poppy – ie. he donated some money the charity in order to have himself a plastic flower which he could then choose to wear or burn. So no charity has been deprived. I mean, I assume he didn’t steal it because he’s been arrested for exercising his right to do what he wants with his property, not for theft.

Thank GOD the police have removed another low-IQ freak from the voting pool.

Yes, thank God that the poppy has granted people freedom to be arrested for doing freedomy things… no wait… no that doesn’t make sense… derp…

My grandfather was a conscript in WW2. He’s passed on now, I bought a poppy recently just to remember him – my gran served also and she still marches every remembrance day – well actually she rolls because she can’t walk, she has a motorized scooter.

I have respect for my grandparents, they’re true veterans – a poppy or not doesn’t change that, it doesn’t take my memory away of them. When my gran passes on, I won’t care about remembrance, I will remember them always, but I could care less about war and about our current soldiers.

Because it’s no longer a fight for freedom, it’s a fight for empire – the freedom has been won by my grandparents and their compatriots. The current bunch of “heroes” too me are imposters. They have no idea what WW2 vets faced, they’re soldiers of fortune – it’s a job, not survival.

Just look at the advertising on TV for soldier jobs, they advertise it like a holiday – make new friends/teammates, travel the world etc… not get blown apart and lose vital limbs before you turn 30 – which is what they should be advertising.

So all the pricks that get upset over a poppy burning actually cause me offence… because they’re making the symbol itself into a sacred object – into a perpetual remembrance for perpetual warfare, rather than using it as a reminder of those who did give their all 70 years ago.

If freedom means giving up the rights to burn a poppy, then I don’t want anyone to fight for my ‘freedom’.

JMT says:

Re: I'm confused

“Free Speech isn’t an excuse to be stupid.”

And yet you posted that ironic nonsense. Way to completely miss the point.

“Thank GOD the police have removed another low-IQ freak from the voting pool.”

Since when does being arrested prevent you from being able to vote? You don’t seem to understand much of what you’re ranting about.

Call me Al says:

Re: I'm confused

The use of the funds raised by the poppy appeal is irrelevant. The fact that it is about showing support of the armed forces is irrelevant.

The only relevant item here is that someone behaved like a dick and was arrested for it. Being a dick is not and should not be a crime. The shouts of righteous indignation from people like you and Daily Mail readers are polluting our country and perverting our criminal justice system.

The freedom of speech is only truly an issue when that speech is challenged. You are demonstrating that as far as you are concerned free speech is not necessary and is not allowed if it hurts your sensitive feelings.

Violated (profile) says:

The Poppy

True enough when many of these people died to protect us from NAZI fascism and to maintain the freedom and peace they now have. Freedom of speech and free expression is certainly a big one.

This is not to say that the UK is a glorious place of perfection when they have done enough already to make you wonder who the real bad guys are. For example while the NAZI’s made concentration camps famous it was the British Empire which created them to equally disastrous results.

So here we are protecting our patch of ground and at least the good stuff we did do. That does not mean there are not some idiots here who will cause such conflict.

The poppy is a symbol of both alive and deceased War veterans and since there will always be more Wars (with regret…) then there will always be the poppy. To burn the poppy is not the best idea when it would be seen as very anti-British and some people could take it very personally.

I expect here they are more saying this is not an act they would like to encourage or maybe they simply did this to avoid the locals beating him somewhat. So in the interest of keeping social peace it was not invalid when someone would have punished him anyway.

QW says:

Re: The Poppy

For example while the NAZI’s made concentration camps famous it was the British Empire which created them to equally disastrous results.

This is why free speech is important. Because some people would consider that statement to be holocaust revisionism and a criminal act, even though it’s clearly just ignorance masquerading as information.

Yes, the British are arguably the first to have used concentration camps. But with ‘equally disastrous’ results as the *holocaust*? really? reaaaaally?

I’m trying to think of a way of pointing out how stupid that argument is without invoking Godwin’s law, but I think in this case it’s probably merited.

Violated (profile) says:

Re: Re: The Poppy

I said “concentration camps” and not “death camps”. The holocaust is not a concentration camp but an entire scheme which employed concentration, labour and death camps.

Concentration camps under British control had the same equally disastrous results of starvation, suffering and death including women and children. I am sure you have heard the African stories where all those white locals died.

G Thompson (profile) says:

I'm confused

The “irony” the guy doesn’t get is that he’s burning, destroying, expunging the symbol he’s supposed to be using to contemplate and be thankful for that freedom

and the irony here is that who says that “he’s supposed” to contemplate or be thankful for his freedom, when in actuality it seems that he doesn’t have the freedom he’s supposed to.

Why do you and some butthurt idiots get to decide what HE is supposed to do or not. If he isn’t physically or otherwise harming someone, and this in no way harms the reasonable person (as shown in the uproar this arrest has caused in the general public of the UK) then his freedoms and everyones are worthless.

Your irony is strong and if you can’t understand that then maybe you need to rethink both your own IQ and EQ levels.

The Real Michael says:

Re:

It’s the same everywhere. Granted they’re not omnipresent but they could respond a little more quickly. Outside of things like chases and hostage situations, they’re usually not present until well after the crime has been committed. In that respect, they do a pretty good job of tracking down wanted criminals. Unfortunately, they also have a tendency to abuse the badge and act above the law, whether due to anger issues or a power trip. Problems really get out of hand when internal affairs acts to protect abuse of authority.

There is good and bad in every line of work. Greed, corruption and abuse of authority are facts of life. That’s why we need checks and balances.

Anonymous Coward says:

I'm confused

You know, I was going to rip apart your comment line by line, but a few others have done a much better job than I could have about putting your comment in it’s place.

But there’s one thing I find especially ironic in all of what you wrote. It’s this:

“Free Speech isn’t an excuse to be stupid.”

So having read that, and the rest of your rant, I am left with on question. If free speech isn’t an excuse to be stupid, what’s your excuse?

And I say that with the intent and hope that you realize that your entire post is full of stupidity. For someone going on and on about veterans and freedom you fail to realize how anti-freedom you are being in regards to someone exercising their right to free speech. And all because you don’t agree with what they may or may not have had to say, or better said the manner in which they went about exercising their free speech. It’s too bad they don’t remove you from the voting pool, your level of intelligence appears to be lower than low. Then again, with you cheering on such actions on the part of the police, it’s easy to see why they wouldn’t want to remove someone like yourself from the voting pool. You’d gladly trade liberty for their brand of security in a heartbeat, just so long as they take that liberty from anyone who doesn’t say, think or feel as you do, right?

qw says:

The holocaust is not a concentration camp but an entire scheme which employed concentration, labour and death camps.

So your argument is that the British concentration camps in South Africa had ‘equally disastrous results’ as the Nazi concentration camps because some of the Nazi camps were actually extermination camps and not concentration camps per se, so they’re off the hook.

So even though those specific Nazi concentration camps which were not also death camps nonetheless had more deaths than the South African concentraion camps had inmates, and even though the Nazi concentration camps were a functional and fully sanctioned part of a systematic program of extermination, and even though the Nazi concentration camps were used as staging grounds for horrific and unethical medical experiments on prisoners who were being worked to death… the British camps were equally as bad.

OK, fine. That’s your point.

My point is not so much about whether you are right or wrong, as that you retain the right to make your point, and to make your case… even though the issue is terribly sensitive and you’re apparently not, and even though there’s a chance to cause significant offence through poor choice of words or argument.

amillionbytes (profile) says:

I'm confused

No point trying to be made about charity losing out or not; simply that I don’t believe “poppies” are in and of themselves a negative symbol. To clarify, I do not believe wearing poppies ought to be done to say war was right, or that we should have more wars so we can sell more poppies.

And agreed, if a guy wants to burn a plastic / paper poppy, it’s his property and so be it.

Lurker Keith says:

Worse yet...

But to burn it under other conditions, such as in protest or hatred, can be considered offensive by some. Context is important in such things.

My point is, someone who makes a representation of something to burn takes an extra, unnecessary step as to not destroy the actual thing in their protest.

Also, if this guy did burn the item that is sold for the Remembrance, people are forgetting his money still went to whatever Charity (assuming there was one) he bought it for.

amillionbytes (profile) says:

I'm confused

Agreed – my line about charity was a misnomer: attempting to describe the quality of the symbol, not the functional usefulness of it.

You made me consider what point he was trying to make by burning the poppy in the first place; which is not something I was trying to attack or describe or argue against by making the comment.

My provocation was one around the logic he used in burning the poppy; not whether or not the police action was warranted.

For the record, I think police powers are entirely unbalanced when the arresting officer / force is corrupted by power. I know BTP officers who use Terrorist Act powers to arrest people for nonsense, and I’ve met high ranking officers who also “abuse” (I’m sure they’d say “use”) their powers in seemingly “weird” ways.

This is a weird way.

If my comment sounded like I was sticking up for the police (yes, the last line probably didn’t help) then apologies – that’s not what I was attempting to provoke at all: rather that the poppy is a silly symbol to have done it with.

Maybe stupidly, I thought the Poppy is a good way to remember people, to think about war, to be thankful we can speak when we want to and say what we want to without fear, and to raise money for charities that support families left without sons, mums… whoever they might be.

That is all.

No support for the arrest.

No support for war.

And not a concentration camp based argument in site.

Tim Griffiths (profile) says:

Re:

Political correctness is an attempt to have a formally inclusive langue. That’s it. It’s far from perfect but it’s intent is not to protect people from offence but mitigate the role that formal langue can play in marginalising minority groups in a society.

It’s not about censoring your day to day langue but you’ve got to ask what is the the point of a having a formal one? It’s pretty simple really, it’s to avoid misunderstanding and miscommunication. Using politically correct langue is just a way to make sure you are not offending or excluding people with out intent when you are speaking formally.

Most public speech is formal because most public speech is meant to include and inform a wide range of people and as such most public speech benefits from being politicly correct.

Saddly this simple useful idea has been caught up in this kind of idiotic attempt to legislate offence. It comes from the same good natured place (I guess) but confuses the ideas of trying to be inclusive by attempting to limit offence or exclusion in formal and general public settings with perceived right to not be offended by anything.

What I’m trying to get across is that you are throwing the baby out with the bath water. Political Correctness has a place and a use. The clue is in the name honestly, POLITICAL, not personal.

Anonymous Coward says:

what is so sad about this is that valuable police time, when there are more and more officers losing their jobs, being wasted on something like this instead of on some real crime issue. the UK is going down the same road as the US (probably greatly influenced by the US) in as much as it is jumping all over members of the public for doing something as minor as this but leaving serious criminals eg multimillion pound tax dodgers and child abusers from the powerful side of society free to do what they want. why the UK has turned into a nation of complete hypocrites, i cant imagine but it’s credibility over human rights and freedoms is being called into question on a near daily basis. considering what the UK used to stand for in comparison to today and there isn’t, well, any comparison!

amillionbytes (profile) says:

I'm confused

I completely agree; he ought to have the freedom to do it.
If he wants to burn it, let him : it’s his right to express himself freely, openly, and to make whatever democratic point he wants to, where he wants to, wearing whatever clothes he wants to.

Hell he could shove it up his ass if he wants to.

I simply think burning a poppy is like… well… burning the keys to a house to moan about the rent. I just felt it’s the wrong (NOT MORALLY WRONG) symbol.

But then again, doing it got all our attention, so maybe it was right after all.

amillionbytes (profile) says:

I'm confused

OK so hopefully I’ve replied enough to re’s above so you believe I wasn’t going on about whether or not he was morally right to burn a bit of plastic. Whatever it was he wanted to say, however he wanted to say it, that’s up to him.

Also, the last line was a bit too pro-police in this instance, but hopefully you’ll see from above that I don’t think the police powers used in this instance were appropriate.

So finally, on the “Free Speech isn’t an excuse to be stupid” which seemingly is the source of confusion:

I think he displayed a level of … idiocy (??) … in picking a bit of plastic that symbolises (for everyone) consideration of war (was this one or that one was right or not?) and memory of friends (are they in a better place or have they become an installation at IKEA?) while also raising money to support people who need care and support because of war (whether or not it was right bla bla bla).

That is all. >.

Call me Al says:

I'm confused

Thanks for addressing my points.

I think you’d be amazed how easy it is for a Guardianista to sound like a Daily Mail reader. Both sides are equally intolerant of certain points… and often couch their intolerance in terms of what people should not be allowed to say or do.

The poppy is a good way to remember people. I entirely agree with you on that. It is also a good way to raise money for the connected charity. My arguement is that if someone disagrees and chooses to make a statement to that effect then their right to do so must be respected and protected. People can disagree with them all they like, they can write articles in newspapers or comment on blogs, they can discuss it with friends and criticise all day long if they wish. What they shouldn’t do is arrest him.

amillionbytes (profile) says:

I'm confused

(I am slowly learning not to Rage Quit & Blargh. I hope you are impressed.)

/me remembers officers who treat arrest like sexual conquest

I remember a kid who ripped up and threw a Bible across my school playground once; I was a pretty hefty hand-clapping fundamentalist back then, and it was the talk of the school.

Were that to happen to a Quran in an Islamic country, he would have been severely punished. Why this has happened in the UK to some bloke burning a poppy I just don’t understand.

The Infamous Joe (profile) says:

Re:

No, political correctness is designed solely to prevent someone from feeling bad. They’re not midgets, they’re “little people”. He’s not retarded, he’s “mentally challenged”. (Actually, I feel like even “mentally challenged” is no longer PC, but I don’t know what fluffier way I can describe someone with brain damage.)

All it does it breed thin-skinned humans, who take offense at everything but their pre-screened words and phrases.

The Infamous Joe (profile) says:

Worse yet...

Right. What I was getting at is that burning a flag, in an of itself, is not offensive or political. That means that the only thing one can find offensive about burning a flag is the *speech* behind the burning; making this a clear cut political speech issue.

In America, it’s (now) a slam dunk that flag burning is protected. I’m actually a little shocked that such an obvious form of speech isn’t protected in the UK.

Anonymous Coward says:

(willful) ignorance of the law is not an excuse. If you don’t agree with the law, get it fixed. Not respecting it will only land your on TD for not obeying the said law.

“send by means of a public electronic communications network a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character”

Ask veterans if that was not offensive or indecent. I dare you to find one.

velox (profile) says:

UK Law Enforcement public comment addresses - Kent

For those who would like to do something more than just rant in the comment section of a US based blog:
———————————————–

From the Kent Police website:

“Give us your views and have your say:”

Email: professional.standards@kent.pnn.police.uk
Twitter: @kent_police
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kent-Police/213289350160?ref=ts
———————————————–
From the Crown Prosecutor Service, Southeast website:

“We want to hear your views about our prosecution policy”
“If you have a compliment, complaint or comment please email”

Email: Southeast.Complaints@cps.gsi.gov.uk

Violated (profile) says:

Re:

If you want to debate most deaths then Joseph Stalin has killed 5 times the numbers than Adolf Hitler did.

I am just not into comparing comparing the size of turds in the punch bowl when it is a poor excuse to say these deaths are not so bad because they killed more. My point is had not the British invented Concentration Camps, well highlighting the brutality involved, then Hilter could not have taken this idea and turned it into the Holocaust.

So there is one of the British gifts to the World which rank along-side things like the Indian opium trade where the British used their military might to turn hundreds of thousands of Chinese into drug addicts. All done to balance the trade deficit on the cost of tea.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Worse yet...

> With the exception of WW2, wars are
> fought for economic or personal reasons
> not to fight oppression or tyranny

I’d say the Revolutionary War was a fight against oppression. The fact that the British were using economincs (taxes) as tools of that oppression doesn’t mean it wasn’t about oppression.

And the British were oppressing the colonies in other ways (restrictions on free speech, military abuses, etc.).

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re:

> You know, the United Nations talks a
> good talk about human rights, free
> speech and human dignity but when it
> comes to holding every government up
> to those ideals, the United Nations
> always ends up falling flat on its face.

Well, that’s chiefly because the UN is a paper tiger. It has no legal authority to stop Britain (or any other country) from exercising its laws in this manner, and while I don’t agree with the Brits in this instance, I’d be even more opposed to a UN attempt to assert itself over the national sovereignty of the United Kingdom.

That would be the equivalent of the UN deciding that it didn’t like one of our Supreme Court rulings and deciding that it’s authority and judgement is superior to our own government and Constitution.

qw says:

Re:

If you want to debate most deaths then Joseph Stalin has killed 5 times the numbers than Adolf Hitler did.

I don’t. You brought up the British concentration camps in South Africa in comparison with the Nazi concentration camps and said both were equally as bad.

That argument is stupid, and wrong, from almost any angle.

You don’t make it more right by bringing a third party into the argument.

My point is had not the British invented Concentration Camps, well highlighting the brutality involved, then Hilter could not have taken this idea and turned it into the Holocaust.

That was not your point, certainly not the one I took issue with. Your point was that the British concentration camps were equally as bad as the Nazi concentration camps, and that’s just naive.

But regardless of whether or not your terrible arguments have any merit at all, I support your right to evince them, and I believe the correct response is more debate, not a lawsuit or criminal proceedings.

I am confident we at least agree on that much.

Not an Electronic Rodent says:

I should get my mind out of the gutter

Perhaps someone more horticultural than I will correct, but IIRC poppies flourish particularly well on blood-soaked soil – possibly something to do with the iron? Either way I think the original symbolism of the poppy has more to do with them growing profusely on many of the main battlefields of WW1 in Europe, especially Flanders in Belgium that prompted one of the more famous of the “War Poems”. Certainly the colour makes the symbolism more vivid though…

Anonymous Coward says:

I'm confused

Oh, for heaven’s sake. Yes, yes indeed, you ARE confused.

If the government makes it impossible for people to protest peacefully, as this man who was arrested has done, inevitably the protests turn violent. This man burned a freakin’ paper flower; WHO CARES, beyond possibly starting a dialogue about whatever it was the man was protesting? In the end, it’s just a paper flower. The man burned a symbol, that’s what symbols are *for*. To make a point. Safely. When it comes to free speech, it doesn’t matter what point he was making. He gets to make it. Because FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

Keep in mind that when I first saw the title of this piece on my RSS feed, I thought it said he burned a puppy. That was very upsetting.

John Allman (profile) says:

My poem "Burning The Poppy"

BURNING THE POPPY

I choked back my tears, as I pondered the rhyme
On 11/11, at just the right time
In my home town square, where the wreaths had been laid
And the mayor wore his chain, and the Last Post was played.
?For their tomorrow we gave our today.?
Shall we squander such sorrow? Throw tomorrow away?

A giddy young man set a poppy alight.
This brave new tomorrow, that?s his human right.
I cannot fathom this young man?s rage,
Which might have ?gone viral?, left up on his page.
But was it sincere, the remembrance he tested?
Were we glad or appalled, when this lad was arrested?

?He has no respect!?, some of us cried,
As though we?d forgotten why others had died
Bent double like beggars, in trenches, in squalor.
It quite slipped our minds, the reason such valour
Had been demanded of their generation.
They gave their today, for the sake of our nation.

The bobbies today are much younger than I,
Less able than ever to understand why
My dad, who loved peace, played his part in a war
Then taught all his sons what that war had been for.
An informer phoned in, said, ?A poppy?s a-light!?.
The culprit? Arrested! To hell with his ?right?!

I can?t figure the meaning, to tell you the truth,
Of burning the poppy, in the mind of the youth.
But I know what that image speaks of to me,
Of those who died, so that he could be free.
Though the money I gave, the legion can keep,
I must too burn my poppy, before I can sleep.

The man that I am, who almost cried,
As I wore my poppy, with sadness and pride,
Has found a new meaning, to letting it burn
As I ask fellow countrymen, ?When will we learn??,
And hypocrisy mourns for those killed in just war,
But then sets on fire, what they had died for.

With different meaning, his gesture I?ll copy
By putting a light to my own paper poppy,
Not from contempt for the glorious dead,
But out of respect; for, it has been said,
These heroes suffered their undeserved fate
Lest England became just another police state.

JohnAllmanUK.Wordpress.com

John Allman (profile) says:

You're right Bas. I wrote a poem about this incident.

BURNING THE POPPY

I choked back my tears, as I pondered the rhyme
On 11/11, at just the right time
In my home town square, where the wreaths had been laid
And the mayor wore his chain, and the Last Post was played.
?For their tomorrow we gave our today.?
Shall we squander such sorrow? Throw tomorrow away?

A giddy young man set a poppy alight.
This brave new tomorrow, that?s his human right.
I cannot fathom this young man?s rage,
Which might have ?gone viral?, left up on his page.
But was it sincere, the remembrance he tested?
Were we glad or appalled, when this lad was arrested?

?He has no respect!?, some of us cried,
As though we?d forgotten why others had died
Bent double like beggars, in trenches, in squalor.
It quite slipped our minds, the reason such valour
Had been demanded of their generation.
They gave their today, for the sake of our nation.

The bobbies today are much younger than I,
Less able than ever to understand why
My dad, who loved peace, played his part in a war
Then taught all his sons what that war had been for.
An informer phoned in, said, ?A poppy?s a-light!?.
The culprit? Arrested! To hell with his ?right?!

I can?t figure the meaning, to tell you the truth,
Of burning the poppy, in the mind of the youth.
But I know what that image speaks of to me,
Of those who died, so that he could be free.
Though the money I gave, the legion can keep,
I must too burn my poppy, before I can sleep.

The man that I am, who almost cried,
As I wore my poppy, with sadness and pride,
Has found a new meaning, to letting it burn
As I ask fellow countrymen, ?When will we learn??,
And hypocrisy mourns for those killed in just war,
But then sets on fire, what they had died for.

With different meaning, his gesture I?ll copy
By putting a light to my own paper poppy,
Not from contempt for the glorious dead,
But out of respect; for, it has been said,
These heroes suffered their undeserved fate
Lest England became just another police state.

JohnAllmanUK.Wordpress.com

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...