A History of Forgetting

12219376_1160722120623326_5652583769662556985_n“It’s political correctness gone mad” was normally applied to the left in a desperate defensive motion to retain the comfort of accepted bigotry.  Now, whether it’s Jeremy Corbyn’s inadequate bowing technique or Sienna Miller’s fashion faux-pas, the Poppy Brigade fascism for remembrance-branding is rife with irony. As seasons collapse and merge in globally-warmed fusion, the calendar is marked, increasingly with commodified signifiers to help you stagger from year to year. Mother’s Day swings to Easter, swings to the next contrived sales pitch. Now it’s ‘Poppy Day’ scraping new depths of weird compulsory public emoticon expression.

Sienna Miller had the temerity to undermine the sacred, solemn institution that is, er, The Graham Norton Show. Jeremy Corbyn is chastised for not having the necessary neck-crank (Kneel you dirty commie fucker!).

Propping up this failed state is becoming increasingly difficult. At Waverley Station (still festooned with spectacularly uninspiring Walter Scott quotes) there’s a Poppy Selfie Stand. At ASDA a spectacularly ill-conceived display shows a fallen soldier slumped on a pallet beside a Poppy Tree and adverts for Halo5 and £2 chickens.

CTTtbJvWwAA8CF9But it’s Corbyn that’s disrespectful. Remember that.

This is a country enthralled by ‘the last Downtown Abbey’, trapped somewhere between Gogglebox and deification of entrepreneurialism that is The Apprentice, spoon-fed this soporific moron culture. As we endure a  permanent war economy and an elected leader is beaten down by the Generals – the important thing is, of course: obedience.

Obedience to national messaging, obedience to military orthodoxy, obedience which must be displayed constantly – without which public reprimand is inevitable.

With the sad news that UKIP may be going bust (who knew that racist agitation wasn’t profitable?) who will be the standard bearer for British values now? Jim Moohan of GMB Scotland and Better Together has said Cyde shipyards can’t continue to rely on the MoD for orders. Another sadness that you’re not allowed to talk about publicly.

Collusion is not so much mainstream as compulsory. But while it might seem all tv-sofa-comfortable the reality is that the control of remembrance itself is militarized:

“One striking manifestation of the synergy between the British Legion and the British arms trade is its relationship with BAE Systems, who in 2003 not only funded sales of weaponry to Saudi Arabia, Libya, and the Middle East, but also the RBL’s annual Remembrance events. As the Telegraph noted, “a decision by British defence manufacturer BAE Systems to sponsor this year’s Poppy Day has been likened to ‘King Herod sponsoring a special day reserved to prevent child cruelty’.”

The stage hypnotists show goes on, but it remains to see how long it’s viable. A Zero Hour country can’t remember because they’re too tired. According to the Mirror ‘the number of people trapped on cruel zero hours contracts has soared by a fifth to nearly three-quarters of a million in the past year’. That’s up 19%. This is a nation on it’s knees, not out of the required fealty, just out of exhaustion. These are just the sort of part-time, low-paid, temporary jobs that ASDA excel in. Pile them high, sell them cheap.

Red Poppies, a just, proud and precious symbol, has been devalued by Britain’s own inadequacy and is fast becoming just another simulacrum for a functioning democracy.

How can you remember if nothing is worth anything?


Comments (14)

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  1. willie says:

    Found the BBC coverage of Remembrance Day nauseating.

    From the Royal Navy Commander interviewed on the Strand saying how Remembrance Day made reinforced how Britain was still a World power to the BBC trotting Britain’s most senior general on Andrew Mart to say that he cod not accept a Prime Minister who could not press the nuclear button, it was crystal clear that the dead being remembered on Remembrance Day were but political fodder.

    What vile filth the BBC and the establishment is.

    1. John Thatcher says:

      Presided over by hereditary Grande Creep Dimbleby,a nauseating spectacle.

  2. willie says:

    Or put another way, yesterday’s television was an orgy of coordinated jingoism and spin in favour of war and military intervention.

    Media message to the masses dressed up in the Remembrance of the slaughtered.

    Dulce est decorum est in pro patria morar- and again and again and again.

  3. Roger says:

    This is why I have gone from someone who used to attend remembrance parades to someone who doesn’t even wear a poppy.

  4. John Page says:

    The militarisation of remembrance.
    A great piece, Mike, thank you.
    The thing that concerns me most is the young people sucked into this military jingoism.

  5. Paul says:

    It’s Halo 5, not ‘Halos’. I’m surprised they didn’t put the dead soldier display next to the new Call of Duty.

    1. Joolz says:

      Maybe the poppies are actually there in remembrance of the “The Forge” game setting in the Halo franchise. I apologise to all about how my brain works.

      Seriously I have to agree with Roger, as that’s how I feel about the whole thing.

  6. bringiton says:

    The poppy, in particular,is a symbol of the refusal by the British state to fully support those people who are mentally and physically scarred enforcing their foreign policies.
    It is far too cheap for the Ministry of War to go and bomb Johnny Foreigner and then walk away leaving others to shoulder the consequences.
    The poppy represents the British state’s attitude to it’s subjects….expendable.

  7. willie says:

    Yes Bringiton, Remembrance Day has become a cheap mass media exercise in military jingoism where the real victims are subsumed in a black tie celebration of Land of Hope and Glory.

    Soldiers are expendable. Always have been, and the rich and powerful don’t put their OK offspring in the front line.

    Whole families of brothers father’s and uncles wiped out in the ww1 and for what. To repeat it again in ww2.

    And since then, Aden, Cyprus, Korea, Falkland Isles, Iraq, Afghanistan have bled life after life fighting the good war, the decent war, the honourable war.

    Yes we remember them in a sombre Sunday where Generals come out to play party politics, and senior officers talk proudly about Britain still being a World Power.

    And all for a World Power with foodbanks, fuel poverty and millions on a minimum wage of £6.70 and hour.

    1. bringiton says:

      Perhaps Blair’s real legacy to the British state will be the reluctance of people (including MPs) to accept dodgy “intelligence” documents being used as justification for violence against others.
      Hence the reluctance to allow Cameron and friends to carry on bombing.
      Any politican,especially Labour,is going to have to be very careful about agreeing to future military action which cannot be directly linked to DEFENCE of the country.

  8. Jim Archibald says:

    Blood Price

    Souls lost to mortal sight
    float in eternal remembrance.
    On a gilded barque
    that harks
    at a Golden Age.
    Their page is penned
    In classic script.
    Ripped untimely from
    some Latin fable unable
    to tell the tale,
    or toll the bell,
    for unrequited youth.
    In truth, such
    grey and sallow days
    but prove it a world
    long fled. Our dead
    serve To point a maxim
    long forgot:
    That common man
    is nought but coin
    for shysters
    and the realms they bought

  9. Anton says:

    My grandfather died in service with the Royal Scots. I wear a poppy once a year to remember him. And I really don’t care what others make of that.

  10. Kenny Smith says:

    I must admit I know where this article is aiming for and I agree but I still support the troops. That doesn’t mean I can’t argue against the political decisions that put them to war most of which were morally wrong but the lads and lassies that put their lives on the line should be supported and if the rotten British establishment won’t then I guess its up to us. I just wish we were independent and had a defense force for defense and peace keeping duties that didn’t obscenely spend billions to bomb shepherds in far off lands

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