You would forgive me for thinking we have.

A whole bunch of strike and protests gear up in the next few weeks. Education specialists protesting they only get £25k pensions, students protesting they might have to pay for their education past 18, the occupy LSX movement continue their occupation of St Pauls protesting against the big bad capitalist whatevers (not sure they actually know.. probably something to do with mung bean casseroles and LGBT footwear)

Meanwhile, an ex-soldier and his wife committed suicide as they struggled to survive on £56 a week. Between them. They used soup kitchens every day (walking 6 miles there), they gathered free veg. They tried in vain to look after themselves. Their 12 year old was taken into care after the wifes learning difficulties prevented her looking after her properly. Where were all the fucking diversity co-ordinators on those days? Where were the dance workshop facilitators? Where was the rent rebates and cheap housing reserved apparently for people on £100,000 salaries?

Put your hand in your pocket. Now. There is some change there you wouldn’t notice if you lost it. If not, check the floor of the car, even the back of the sofa. Next time you see the poppy tin stick it in. It might make the difference of life or death to someone who did the dirty job the people you elected sent them to do (and until we have an IQ test associated with sufferage, the job they did in your name). It’s a a chance to make the sort of life/death decision they did every day on duty. I don’t care if you wear a poppy. What matters is they get the help and support they deserve.

You could choose not to I guess. You may object on moral pacifist grounds or some such. I hope when the snow hits, or the streets flood, or the emergency services go on strike again that you won’t be expecting them to come help you again when no-one else would. But that’s what they signed for isn’t it. To do all the jobs too dirty for anyone else….

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John McCrae, May 1915, written for funeral service on the field at Ypres

Leave a Reply