I am sick having this debate every single year, the annual poppycock. It grates on me, because the club has made its position clear, the fans have made their positions clear and nobody can be under any illusions about how those at Celtic Park feel.
We are done apologising for this.
We are done being hounded over it.
The poppy is not a symbol of remembrance anymore.
It is nationalistic. It celebrates militarism and war. It “honours” not only men who died in the fight for western civilisation in two wars but pays tribute to those who fought in illegal conflicts and even those who murdered civilians.
This remembrance weekend, the Tory government is trying to change the law to limit the number of servicemen being charged by the courts for acts committed whilst in uniform and sanctioned by the state. This is what we’re being asked to buy into.
Many of those who claim they care at this time of year care about one thing only; climbing onto their own moral high ground and crowing mightily from atop it. So much attention is focussed on those of us who don’t conform that their agenda is laid out where everyone can see it.
This is what they care about now, the feeling of being superior in some way to other people.
Nobody does faux outrage and superiority like a Daily Record hack, and this weekend it was Michael Gannon taking on a subject much bigger than his comprehension and getting it wrong. His attack on the Green Brigade for their “protest” – they stayed outside during the minute’s silence and sang “you can stick your poppies up your arse” during the game – was typically bitter and lacking in the slightest intelligence.
His own high-horse is so low on the ground that it could qualify as a restricted view seat.
His snark about how The Green Brigade were probably “too tired from a week of fighting fascism” was supposed to be pointed; instead it was pitiful and repellent in equal measure.
First, he’s joking about this when Celtic fans were actually stabbed over there.
Maybe he can go in front of their families and explain the joke to them?
Secondly, whilst The Green Brigade was fighting fascism his newspaper was giving fascists coverage to attack them, with one journalist as good as egging the nutters with the knives on.
Thirdly, we get the joke, Gannon. The men who died in those wars fought against fascism too … and that’s alright as far as it goes, it was alright when the poppy was a symbol of just those men, but it has become much more nowadays and far more sinister.
It can’t have escaped his notice – maybe it has, he’s pretty thick – but the poppy has become a potent symbol of the far-right in Britain. This celebration of militarism is at the heart of our political troubles including Brexit.
Those who subscribe to a fascistic ideology in Britain are far more likely to be of the poppy wearing tribe than they are to be on our side of the fence.
And here’s the real kicker; one of the things those men allegedly being honoured fought and died for was freedom of speech and that includes the right to protest. You want to know what reeks of fascism? The way this so-called “remembrance” is being pushed on people.
The poppy is a political symbol.
When you force a political symbol on people – even brow-beating them into wearing it – that becomes fascism.
The irony is clearly lost on Gannon.
Has this poppy nonsense gone too far?
It's just a symbol
But then Gannon is just a bitter ignorant clown. He doesn’t have the slightest knowledge of, or interest in, political issues. The idea that there is a “big picture” would never dawn on this joker for one minute. Even explaining it to him after the fact feels like a waste of effort.
Yet I’ve done it anyway, because Gannon and his ilk shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this kind of thing. Celtic fans have wholly legitimate grievances with the enforced wearing of poppies and this highly politicised time of the year … and we’re done making nice with those who want to ram this stuff down our throats.
These people know where they can ram it.
The Green Brigade sang about it this weekend.
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