My Dad loved poppies, and he had the knack of dying on November 11th. Since my Dad’s death, I haven’t worn a red poppy. I wear a white one and a purple one. The white one supports non-violence – the Peace Poppy. The purple one is against animal cruelty, as animals have no choice in being part of human conflict and they are still being used to perpetuate our lifestyle with testing and mass farming.
The reason I don’t wear a red poppy any more is because of my Dad’s ethos of not giving money to people who knocked the door, as he didn’t know where the money was going – how much of it went to the good cause, and how much got lost in admin and salaries. I did some research into the Royal British Legion, about its remit and its spending.
The salary of the Royal British Legion manager is £95,000 a year. That’s not a charity. That’s a business. For comparison, the total annual running cost of the http://www.ppu.org.uk/whitepoppy/ Peace Poppy charity is £95,000.
I was surprised, and a little saddened to learn, that the Peace Poppy approached the Royal British Legion to see if they would run the white poppy as well as the red poppy for charity fundraising. This way, the message of non-violence would be more prominent. If there are less wars and violence, there are less injured people that need support. The British Legion declined, twice. This implies that the British Legion wants to perpetuate war and people getting injured. After all, if you are running a business, you want to perpetuate what you are selling – the idea of injured people needing funding, even if £95,000 a year is being creamed off by the business manager. He’s out of a job if we promote non-violence.
Another thing I discovered is the remit of the British Legion. It was set up at a time when there was no welfare state and no compensation from employers. People injured in the war or leaving families behind needed support back then. There are hardly any survivors of WW1 and WW2, so the charity should be getting smaller. Today, we have welfare and we have compensation for work injuries. Financial aftercare should be footed by the employer – in this case, the Ministry of Defence. Somehow the MoD always has money for weapons of mass devastation, but overlooks its duty of care to its staff. If we stop giving to charity and focus on the MoD being responsible…
Instead, we have the commercialisation of charity. Look at how many poppy items are around this year for the centenary of WW1 ending, adorned with jewels. Did the injured and bereaved make these items? No. Businesses did, making money from the production even though the profit goes to the charity. Money should not be made from war.
A century after the ‘war to end all wars’ – we are ceasing operations in Afghanistan. Technically an illegal war by the United Nations definition, as you can only declare war against a country and not an organisation, in this case the Taliban. It never ceases to amaze me that most of the Christian population ignore the commandment ‘treat others as you wish to be treated’ when it comes to the armed forces and the excuses we make to invade other countries in modern times.
Lest We Forget – this isn’t a catchphrase to celebrate the lives of those killed in war. It’s so we don’t forget the horror of war and do our utmost to avoid it, so there are no more injured and bereaved because of it. Let’s stop it at source rather than picking up the pieces.
Let us petition the black centre of poppies to read “No More War”.