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Poppy argument not black and white

Readers' letters | Published:

I have always despised bullies and hypocrites, so let’s shine a light on the activities of certain members of the Peace Pledge Union who seek to undermine the annual RBL poppy appeal by promoting their own white poppies.

They have identified that they can harm the incomes of target based shop retail workers by providing parent companies with negative customer experience feedback.

Their modus operandi appears to be to cause a fuss in store because the sales assistant is wearing a red poppy or pin and then follow it up with negative feedback with the aim of persuading businesses to ban their employees from wearing, displaying or promoting red poppies.

What does this say about the characters of these individuals that they can be so vicious and so sickeningly sly?

It’s bullying. Plain and simple. It completely undermines the validity of their claim to any moral high ground and I think every right-minded person would consider such behaviour utterly repugnant.

Pure white as the driven snow? I think not!

Bob Jenkins, Stirchley

Peace Pledge Union replies

Symon Hill - Co-ordinator for the Peace Pledge Union said: “Bob Jenkin’s letter utterly misrepresents the nature of white poppies and the views of the Peace Pledge Union.

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"The PPU supports freedom of expression and does not seek to stop people wearing red poppies. We object when people are told by employers that they ‘must’ wear a red poppy, as we believe it should be a matter of choice.

"We also ask that those employers who allow their workers to wear red poppies also allow them to wear white poppies if they choose.

"We would never force anyone to wear, or not wear, any poppy. Such an attitude would be contrary to everything that white poppies represent.

"White poppies have been worn for 85 years. They were founded in 1933 by women who had lost husbands, fathers, sons and brothers in the carnage of World War One. These women felt that red poppies had moved away from the original remembrance message of ‘never again’.

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"White poppies represent remembrance for all victims of war, a commitment to peace and a rejection of attempts to sanitise war or play down its horrors.

“We know that many red poppy wearers share these values, but sadly the Royal British Legion insist red poppies should remember only British and allied armed forces personnel, not British civilians or people of other nationalities killed in war.”

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