The Pressure of the Poppy…

4 11 2009

In the Independent today there is a piece by sometime funny-man, and, if we’re honest only known for being on Have I Got News For You, Mark Steel. In this piece, entitled “Why should I be pressured into wearing a poppy?”, Steel ponders why there is a pressure for people to wear poppies at this time of year.

Some of the points he makes are valid ones, and naturally for a comic he runs with some ideas to their absolute logical conclusion. The whole piece is here to read. But then he gets involved in discussing Haig, and his role in the war and subsequent creation of the poppy as a symbol of remembrance. And, as befitting someone who really has no idea what he is writing about, Steel harps on about Haig being “as responsible as almost anyone for the slaughter”. Which has the unfortunate implication that Haig was in some way responsible for the origins of the war. Which, of course, he wasn’t. And of course there was nothing he could have done to quell the death rate in a war which saw the technology to kill them develop at an unprecedented rate.

Steel criticises Haig for being religious too. Which is merciful because if he hadn’t been, more men would have died. Which is ignorant, stupid and foolish. So Haig was religious. So what? It was perhaps something he needed to be in order to help him through the war.

Steel’s suggestions regarding the government and the current wars are nothing more than foolish, and missing the entire picture. In short his piece is a painful misunderstanding of both the current war and the Great War. It is difficult to know whether Steel was  being deliberately moronic in a comedic manner, or whether these views are actually his own. Either way it is just a bad article in a reputable paper.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: