James McClean …….Poppy

So it turned out that this year’s great Poppy Day Controversy was not even in Norn Iron. It was in Goodison Park where Everton FC were hosting Sunderland AFC (and James McClean from Derry). The Manchester United Fan Site (Red Cafe) has now 332 posts on the subject…..including this one from me.

“Fair play to him. He has done a very brave thing……in the sense that he must have known the vitriol he would get for so doing.
There are two quite seperate issues and his detractors do not want to seperate them.
The current obsession with wearing poppies is a comparatively new thing. It was quietly dying out and was revitalised by the unpopularity of wars such as Iraq after 2001.
The Americans have a more militaristic attitude. US Marines and military fly overs at Superbowl and discounts for military families and cheering them at airports etc……all this was unknown in Britain until less than ten years ago. Now the sight of military personnel at Wembley or Premiership football grounds is a common site. I am not saying it is right or wrong……just comparatively “new”.
But a strange thing that when wars abroad were unpopular (including military families)…..there was an orchestrated campaign to “back our boys” which is of course entirely reasonable except that it is a bit cynical.
Therefore we have the invention of a military covenant (which PR company dreamed that up) and the “spontaneous emotion” at Wootton Bassett which was later siezed on by the PR people.
Frankly the respect that is shown now is in sharp contrast to the 502 killed in Norn Iron….no televised homecomings in the 1970s. And lets be honest…the course of history might well have been different.
In Norn Iron itself….and I live here (60 years and counting) there is a concept called “Parity of Esteem” meaning the two nationalities have equal status…..yet curiously on BBC/UTV all presenters wear poppies. Which would be ok if there was no pressure.
And I think…….coming from an Irish background……and generationally I would have enormous difficulty in wearing one ………while there is any pressure (official or merely peer pressure) to so do. Paradoxically I might have less problem if I thought there was no pressure.
In Norn Iron we have the annual poppy controversy.
Somewhere some British person (aided by a unionist politician) will complain that he/she was told to remove a poppy at work.
Likewise some Irish person (aided by a nationalist politician) will complain that he/she felt “intimidated” or under pressure to wear one.
Can Marks & Spencer sack an employee who doesnt wear one.
Is a shop assistant in British Home Stores entitled to be abused because a customer complained they arent wearing a poppy.
Should anyone be victimised for wearing one?

Yet ironically the people abusing James McClean for exercising a right not to be associated with a poppy are the same people who would defend the right (quite properly) of an employee at an airport to wear a christian cross…..and/or the right of a young muslim to wear/not wear head-dress.

If James McClean had exercised his right to wear a poppy……he would have been doing the right thing.
James McClean exercised his right not to wear one……again the right thing to do.

The long and short of it is people who say he was wrong dont believe he has a right to refuse.

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14 Responses to James McClean …….Poppy

  1. football cliches says:

    Good for him, this whole Poppy fascism is pretty nauseating and as he is from Doire so seeing as people from there haven’t had the greatest experience at the hands of the armed forces it would be a stretch for him to wear it.

    • One of the comments on “Red Cafe” said how can he get worked up about something that happened nearly 20 years before he was born (Bloody Sunday)…….to which there was an instant reply that the poppy commemorates something which happened before everyone was born.

      • Oh, if it weren’t half serious it would be comical.

        I like McLean, he like’s to court controversy and I like that in some, even those who I’m not too fond of.

        What amazes me is why people would even question why he would want to do such a thing, is it not bloody obvious? Are people that myopic? Answer, of course they are, but I like asking nonetheless

      • He is a very brave man. The path of least resistance was to wear the shirt and say nothing.

    • I really wonder about how far the Facebook/Twitter obsession of the Establishment will go.
      If one million people organised a protest and burned poppies (and I am not suggesting that they should) then there would be no arrests because you cant arrest one million people.
      Its a simple case of the Law being an ass.

      • Mark. says:

        RE Hoboroad’s link …that’s crazy when you think everything else out there . I hope Linfords parents didnt name him after Linford Christie …..twitter is a very powerfull tool as Ryan Giggs found out to his cost . Neil over on Slugger made a great point about Philip Scofield and his list .

        RE McClean and his non wearing of that flower …his choice , he is a grown man and we’re not living in East Germany in the 80s . Most people get the reason why James isnt wearing one . Any critics if they look hard enough will find the real reason why James chose what he did …..but most if his critics couldn’t give a shit why he didnt wear one …to them he just didnt wear one and the usual suspects want to score points ……their options of painting CNR as the bad guys are running out .

        By the Way FJH , had a look a the RED Cafe site and joined up , looks OK …..

  2. sammymcnally says:

    As I mentioned over on Bangorub’s place – I’m not sure how wise it is to wear in certain parts of Ulster and I’m not sure exactly how inclusive/exclusive it is. It might not have been wise for McClean to have decided to actually wear one and I think we have to admit that there is considerable pressure to conform coming from both directions?

    …and it does represent by far the largest number of Ireland’s war dead in the last 100 years – over 90%?

    I also mentioned over on BD’s the parading relationship beween the Orange Order and the British Legion which puts the British Legion in a somewhat awkward postion when arguing that it is inclusive.

    • The overlap in “respectable” British institutions….British Legion, Masons and the not so nice Orange Orders is a weakness/strength in unionism.

      • sammymcnally says:

        Its easier to see whats in it for the OO than for the BL.

      • I think there is just a core of people who love being an “Hon Treasurer”, “”Hon Vice Chairman”, “Deputy Grand Master”, “Imperial Wizard” (KKK) and just enjoy the whole hierarchy.
        The British Legion and Orange Order have an obsession with dressing up in Sunday best clothes and flags.
        I think that lies at the heart of it.

      • sammymcnally says:

        re. “Orange Order have an obsession with dressing up in Sunday best clothes and flags. I think that lies at the heart of it.”

        …may I commend you on your (apparent) benign, letsgetalongerist, hands joined across the fence, SDLPish interpetation of their motivation.

      • You know me too well LOL

      • sammymcnally says:

        re. You know me too well LOL

        Yes what little faith, I thought there for a dreadful moment, as the boy Myles might have put it, that the lumbricus terrestris might have changed direction.

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