HEATHROW’S third runway – or lack of it – is in the news again, and as a strong supporter I was asked to lend a back bencher’s perspective to the BBC’s The Daily Politics.

I recorded it at BBC Scotland’s cavernous headquarters at Atlantic Quay in Govan. It was only after the interview was over that the producer offered to do it all over again – this time with a poppy in my lapel. I had one with me but I had left it in the car.

Unfortunately I was a bit pressed for time so I couldn’t. But I was annoyed at myself. I take the Poppy Appeal seriously; as a rule, I don’t ever wear anything in my lapel, with the poppy being one of only two exceptions (the other is my Union flag/Stars and Stripes badge which I usually only wear on US election day and whever I visit the States).

So let me take this opportunity to apologise in advance for the absence of my poppy. I know many people think it’s important that public figures should wear a poppy on all occasions at this time of year. And they’re right.

Anyway, if you’re at all interested, my interview will be broadcast as part of The Daily Politics this lunchtime.


Filed under Department for Transport, Economy, Media, Politics, TV

21 responses to “Poppyless

  1. Chris' Wills

    Tom, As long as the poppy appeal got your money it’s OK. Give lots of money, ’tis an excellent cause.

    Shame that such an appeal is necessary.

    If you believe in the cause wear your poppy with pride, if you don’t believe wear it anyway especially if you are a public servant (as Tom is).

  2. I only sort of agree. I give money to the British Legion, but don’t wear a poppy because a) I don’t like being ostentatious about the fact I give to charity, b) I’m not sure I agree with fetishising the poppy to the extent we sometimes do and c) there’s sometimes a worrying undercurrent of triumphalism about Rememberance Day that I’m not sure I’m happy about. It should be a day to think about the futility of war and to mourn the death of anybody who died in a war…

  3. James

    Oh dear, I hope this doesn’t turn out to be another BBC scandal. 🙂

  4. Johnny Norfolk

    Why the Stars and Stripes.?

    Never The Union Flag of course.

    You are a strange lot you Labour people.

    You put anything first before our country and thats why you are making such a mess of things.


  5. Johnny – I described my lapel badge as “my Union flag/Stars and Stripes badge”. That means it contains a Union flag AND an American Stars and Stripes. Did you miss that?

  6. Two petals or four? According to Alex Salmond, the latter variety is for paying tribute only to “Scottish servicemen and women”. Am I alone in being revolted by his politicisation of the Poppy Appeal?

  7. joe bonanno

    Off-topic but so, Tom, what have you done to upset Egregious George Galloway and can you do some more of it?

    Though I must confess to having read all I ever wanted to read about Galloway (and barrels of oil) right here on the Independent Inquiry Committee into the UN Oil For Food Programme cf pages 79 to 89.


    Pictures of this man socialising with Iraqi mass murders nauseate me. His radio show, which sometimes gets played in this house 😦 seems to attract an inordinate amount of West Albanian Tired Old Trots drawn as pigs are to a trough of swill by his Israel bad, America bad, poor people wonderful message.

    Still, I’ll leave the last word on him to Oona King;

    “What makes me sick is that when I come across someone who is guilty of genocide, I do not get on a plane and go to Baghdad and grovel at his feet’.

  8. Third runway, not terminal! 😉

  9. Yeah, ok, I was writing it in a hurry on myPDA. Changed now. thanks a bunch.

  10. James

    Wearing a poppy is clearly important.
    The Daily Mail has a lead story about an OAP foiling a jewellery shop raid by knocking down a sledgehammer-wielding hoodie.
    The headline starts…. Poppy-wearing OAP foils jewellery raid…….

  11. Chris' Wills

    Alasdair, Wars aren’t always futile.
    It doesn’t take two to start a war and sometimes, in defence of freedom and liberty one has no choice.

    Rather a war than living under a dictatorship and/or sacrificing others so as not to get involved or expend resources.

  12. Triumphalism – no. Pride? Certainly. I am proud of my great uncle* who went missing in action at Yrpes on 11 November 1914 as the remnant of the The Guards Brigade broke the last big push to the the coastal ports.

    Guardsman H. S. Ford 1 Btn Scots Guards.

  13. Andrew F

    Random thought: you used to be really polite to readers when you responded to comments. It’s one of the things that got me reading the blog regularly. You were very courteous when I had a go at you about the embryology bill, which was quite humbling.

    These days, you say, “Thanks a bunch” when someone helps you out by drawing your attention to a typo. Ah well.

    On the Poppy Appeal: this kind of attitude makes it entirely meaningless. People don’t support our veterans by wearing a poppy in October; they slight them by not wearing a poppy. It’s like wearing a tie.

    If you want to impress someone, give them some money in July.

    Better yet, give them some money, don’t wear a poppy, and forget about public perception.

  14. The “thanks a bunch” was intended as a “mea culpa” with an ironic smile. I think.

    And you’re absolutely right about poppies.

  15. Walter

    Still too scared to respond to all the 82 commenters about your pathetic offload in your Owellian nightmare post.?

  16. I never used to be so bothered about the poppy appeal, but I am now that I know how poorly servicemen and veterans are supported by the government. The Defence Select Committee has highlighted how poor health and social care can be for them.

    I don’t actually wear mine either, now that they have gone back to the green stick things they had in my childhood, rather than the pins, I can’t work out how to get them to stay on. Mine is in my handbag.

  17. Johnny Norfolk

    No. Why the stars and stripes, I just cannot understand why people are besotted with the U.S.
    Do you have relations from there or something.

    I do wear a poppy My father and 7 uncles were in WW2. Non of them were injured .All of them were in action. My father landed on D day 3 and crossed the Rhine on R day 1. Thats all I know as he would never talk about it. He did tell me never to vote Labour as they leave office with the country in a worse mess then when the came in. Oh how he has been proved right.
    I have all his medals and my grandfathers Doxa pocket watch that he had in WW1 that he gave to my Dad for WW2. It keeps perfect time after all these years.
    When I think of these men and what Labour has done to the country they defended. It is just so sad.

    So Tom wear the St Andrews Cross or the Union Flag, but not the stars and stripes.

  18. John

    I watched your performance on The Daily Politics.
    The Opposition spokesman,Stephen Hammond was also poppyless. I would have thought that an institution such as the BBC would have had a ready supply of poppies in such cases.
    By the way, have you ever thought about getting a personal dresser?

    Your taste in neck ties is alarming!!!!!

  19. Wes Mantooth

    Always strikes me as odd that those appearing on the goggle box always have bigger more glamorous poppies than we mere punters buy on the street. Is there a market in VIP Poppies?

    Seems a tad hypocritical of our Westminster ruling classes to wear them, when they have the funds available to spend real money in care for ex service personnel. Look at the number of squaddies recently returned from Afghanistan, either suffering from tinnitus or in some cases totally deafness. What hoops will they have to jump through in order to prove their condition was caused by serving Blair and Brown’s folly?

  20. Jim Baxter

    There’s nothing ostentatious about showing that you remember those who risked everything by serving in our forces, and are still doing so.

  21. John

    Out of interest, why do you wear the stars and stripes badge at all? Do you have American connections, or am I being a bit think here and missing something obvious?

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