Two years ago, Kim wrote of the red poppy
As an American ex-pat who has lived in the UK for 40-odd years, I have watched with dismay over the decades as Brits have relentlessly adopted some of the seedier and sinister elements of American character and culture. And now the stately red poppy has been infected with a virulent strain of our vainglory and vulgarity.
In the lead-up to Remembrance Sunday, evidently one cannot appear on television without wearing the emblematic flower, even foreign nationals. Once a modest and multivalent symbol of grief/sacrifice/patriotism, the red poppy has become a badge of enforced and/or servile conformity and ostentatious nationalism (a flag-substitute really), and celebrities even wear it as a lavish and (I’m afraid) tasteless fashion statement.
This year, those words have come home to roost, as a minor media storm rages over a Methodist minister’s refusal to wear a red poppy at a Remembrance Sunday service.
Patricia Jackson told other clergy that she would be happy to sport a white poppy during the proceedings on Remembrance Sunday, but will not wear a red one.
Her decision has upset many parishioners at Hadley Methodist Church in Telford, Shropshire, who claimed that the American-born priest ‘doesn’t seem to realise’ the importance of the poppy.
Ms Jackson, who calls herself ‘Rev PJ’, last week told local councillors it was her ‘democratic right’ not to wear the poppy when conducting the service on November 10.
She did not give a reason for her refusal at the time, but a spokesman for the church said it was because Ms Jackson is an advocate of peace.
I normally would follow convention and wear a poppy, but this year I’m reconsidering. If we’ve really got to the point where it is not possible to preside at worship sans poppy without being bullied and vilified, it is time to give it up.