The poppy is a political symbol

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

In response to Davy Wight (‘Watch RTE if you don’t like seeing presenters wear poppies on BBC Northern Ireland,’ November 2), which was in response to a very fair letter by Tom Cooper (‘Presenters wearing poppies in BBC Northern Ireland undermines the idea of balance,’ November 1), which rightly pointed out that the BBC was not adhering to a “neutral workplace“, Davy’s point is just plain vacuous.

All citizens of Northern Ireland are forced by law under threat of imprisonment to purchase of a TV licence if they own a TV regardless if they watch BBC or not.

The poppy is a military symbol and sold to support war and those who participate in it, as war is political and the BBC is allegedly non political and again allegedly impartial.

The poppy should not be on display, yet the BBC operate what I can only describe as an in your face poppy “mafia” ie. no poppy no show, be it a presenter of the news, business, farming, weather, sport, travel — all to my mind non political.

As to the poppy emblem itself. I have no problem with it per se, and whilst resident in Coventry was a member of and socialised in the“ legion” and yearly put money in the box, as I did on returning to Ireland.

Every year a very nice man Richard Carswell, sadly now deceased, called round with the box I put money in it and respectfully declined to pick up the poppy.

But in this century I stopped donating first because of actions of British soldiers in Ireland the previous century and second as I became more political savvy the actions of British soldiers, sailors, airmen and drone-operators in Iraq Afghanistan Libya Syria the Yemen Ukraine etc.

On the Nolan show on Wednesday two or at the most three in the audience wore a poppy. My question to the two NI BBC presenters Stephen Nolan and Mark Caruthers who both wore the poppy on TV this week, as did Ben Lowry of the News Letter, if as you are supposed to wear it with pride, has the British army navy air-force drone operators done this century to make you feel proud?

Wishing you a peaceful remembrance Sunday but please pray for the millions of innocent victims of the wars you are celebrating or commemorating.

Peter McEvoy, Banbridge