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Is Jon Snow right

Eddie Mair | 10:23 UK time, Friday, 10 November 2006

not to wear the poppy on Channel 4 News? We'll be talking about the story tonight. Wondered if you had a thought...


  1. At 10:32 AM on 10 Nov 2006, Peter Wharton wrote:

    No. If the sacrifice in the past had not been made there may well not be a Ch 4 news now or a PM come to that.

  2. At 10:35 AM on 10 Nov 2006, Charles Hatton wrote:

    In Jon's own words:-

    "I am begged to wear an Aids Ribbon, a breast cancer ribbon, a Marie Curie flower... You name it, from the Red Cross to the RNIB, they send me stuff to wear to raise awareness, and I don't. And in those terms, and those terms alone, I do not and will not wear a poppy.

    Additionally there is a rather unpleasant breed of poppy fascism out there - 'he damned well must wear a poppy!'. Well I do, in my private life, but I am not going to wear it or any other symbol on air."

    Seems fine to me.

  3. At 10:37 AM on 10 Nov 2006, Ashley Harris wrote:

    I think Jon's explanation was perfectly valid - I don't wear any symbols when I'm doing my job, but I wear a poppy in my private life. I assume his taste in ties is a different matter! An example of a presenter with strong views he is not afraid to stand by. Can we think of another presenter like him?

  4. At 10:44 AM on 10 Nov 2006, Simon Worrall wrote:

    I can understand the pressure that he, as a fairly prominent gentleman, comes under to wear many different symbols to show support of different causes.

    I can also understand that he does not want to show some kind of favouritism for one cause over another. Or to advertise his charitable giving in public.

    So, dilemma. To wear or not to wear? I note that he claims to support the Poppy Fund in his private life by wearing a poppy. So he undoubtedly makes his contribution to the charity and gives what he feels is appropriate and affordable. I think it's the last which really matters and I congratulate him for it.

    Like many of us, I will sometimes contribute to this charity or that, often by putting something into a collecting tin. But I don't often wear the ribbon/flower/pin/sticker which is offered.

    Charitable giving is a personal choice. How much, how often and which cause(s) are matters for each of us. No-one is, or should be made to feel, compelled to flaunt their charity by the wearing of symbols. Give the man a break.


  5. At 10:45 AM on 10 Nov 2006, Ed Iglehart wrote:


  6. At 10:47 AM on 10 Nov 2006, Fearless Fred wrote:

    It's an interesting question, to be sure. Personally, I wear a poppy, but I think it's up to the individual if and when they wear it. To be honest, I was more "wound up" by the person yesterday who was saying that the red poppy was "less christian" than a white poppy. His argument to me was completely specious....

  7. At 10:51 AM on 10 Nov 2006, Fifi wrote:

    He's clearly a thoughtful man, so I would like to know his reasons before judging him.

    It's unlikely that he doesn't get the point about the sacrifices made so we can have our freedoms... there must be something else going on.

  8. At 10:54 AM on 10 Nov 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    Poppies ...

    As a confirmed hater of wars, I've hit this particular dilemma every year in November. Like most families, ours were hit by losses of lives, serious injuries, and a relative who never returned from internment in the Far East in WW2. I do not forget them, nor their colleagues.

    The problem has been that, over the years, it has been difficult to show that you care without feeling that somehow you might be condoning the events that led to such horrendous loss of life.

    Some years I relent and buy a poppy. Usually, however, I contribute to poppy collections but will not take a poppy. I'm not sure if I'm right or wrong to do this. I don't think, as things are, that there is a right or wrong either way. The problem seems to be that a negative judgment is frequently made about anyone who, like Jon Snow, does not wear a poppy.

    I wish, somehow, that we could work out a new scenario. The MoD has relented on pardons for deserters - Are we a mature enough society to find our way through this dilemma?

    I am conscious that my opinions will offend some people, and I don't want to offend anybody. But I do hate war, and feel it to be a failure of the human spirit. And I am anguished about those whose lives were lost as a result.

  9. At 10:55 AM on 10 Nov 2006, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Eddie, I should have asked;
    as a matter of record do you support the Poppy Fund? And do you wear a poppy, either in private or in public?

    What about other happy froggers? What do you all think of the gentleman from Ekklesia (I think that's correct) who decries the wearing of red and suggests that white is somehow more Christian.

    For the record; I do and, as ex-Navy, I wear a red one with pride.

    My understanding on the colour was always that the poppies in Flanders were red, so that's how they made the symbolic ones.

    Opium poppies, of course, are white. So does wearing a white poppy show support for the impoverished opium farmers of Afghanistan? Or for the plight of heroin junkies?

    Blog Ed; if the last point is too controversial please remove before posting.


  10. At 10:56 AM on 10 Nov 2006, Anne P. wrote:

    In my teens I refused to wear a poppy, seeing it as a glorification of war. We did have an art teacher who wore a white one, which back in the sixties was a pacifist rather than a Christian protest.

    However, now I see it more as a recognition of all those wasted lives and a way of giving to a charity to rebuild those of the survivors.

    But I don't usually wear it, and even if I do it usually falls off!

  11. At 10:58 AM on 10 Nov 2006, Flump wrote:

    Shame on him. It's a small gesture of respect, recognising the sacrifice made by others - it seems that he is politicising the death of those who did their duty for this country.

  12. At 11:01 AM on 10 Nov 2006, jonnie wrote:

    Of course he should'nt have to wear the poppy. It is also irrelevant whether he chooses to contribute to charities or not.

    Re: Peter (1)

    Though your point is valid -- and possibly true, I don't think it's necessary for a news presenter to be forced to show his support --

    Anyway it would clash with his ties !

  13. At 11:08 AM on 10 Nov 2006, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Considering the expressed preference that symbols of belief, etc. should not be too blatant, perhaps in future the poppies should be more discreet - smaller and perhaps of a more neutral colour....?


  14. At 11:13 AM on 10 Nov 2006, Fifi wrote:

    Thanks for the explanation, guys. I thought it might be something like that.

    I must admit, the thought of 'charity fascism' flitted across my mind when I read Ed's original posting ... the Poppy Appeal has a special place in British culture but it's not and shouldn't be compulsory.

    Besides which, you can't tell anything about a person from their poppy or not-poppy.

    I bought our poppies at the door, as usual, this year and - also as usual - consistently forget to attach one when I go out.

    Consequently, when I was going to a meeting on Wednesday, and found myself out there and poppyless, I stopped in at a handy roadside supermarket and bought yet another one!

    Am I allowed to leave one of this year's in the car for this time next year, in case I get caught out again? It's not really cheating, as I will be buying the usual quota as well.

    Or am I being a bad girl if I do that??

    Answers on a pointless postcard, please...

  15. At 11:33 AM on 10 Nov 2006, Stephen, Leader of STROP wrote:


    Surely, one of the rights for which those we remember fought must be the right to express ones own opinions on any matter. To that end Mr Snow can wear the poppy or not as per his personal beliefs in his personal life.

    I am always afraid that BBC/ITV presenters are told that they must wear a poppy at this time of year regardless of their own views. If so, this is clearly wrong.

    I wonder, would a presenter be supported if the elected to wear a white poppy?

    And one other thing

    Would we be accepting of a presenter wearing a party political badge?

    And for the record, yes I do (and will always) wear the red poppy (never the white), and that is despite (perhaps because) I regard myself as a pacifist

  16. At 11:33 AM on 10 Nov 2006, jonnie wrote:

    Re: Simon (9)

    That was a bold first point you made Simon ?

    Surely as Ed is (out of vision) it's irrelevant, and we have to keep him impartial to a certain extent don't we ?

  17. At 11:36 AM on 10 Nov 2006, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    I have often noticed that just about every TV presenter wears a poppy at this time of year. I even wondered if their TV company bought a bulk lot to make sure no-one failed to display one. I never noticed that Jon Snow didn't wear one, but agree with his sentiments on the subject.

  18. At 11:41 AM on 10 Nov 2006, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Big Sis,

    Peter Rippon's response.

    And on the matter of the fear of climate.

    Glad to be of assistance
    Kosher Salaami

  19. At 11:42 AM on 10 Nov 2006, Peter Jones wrote:

    His actions are disgusting. The poppy has always been above politics. It commemorates the tragedy of those who were lost, it does not glorify war in itself. By his actions he weakens something which used to unite us as nation, and Lord knows there aren't many things that fall into that category any more. He also causes great offence to the families who lost loved ones. But then again, since when did Channel 4 care about causing offence?

  20. At 11:46 AM on 10 Nov 2006, jonnie wrote:

    Re: Fifi ( currently14)

    Of course you can re-use it.

    Think of the environment. It just saves recycling it.

  21. At 12:00 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Charles Hatton wrote:


    For those folk who think Jon Snow is wrong not to wear a poppy on-air, do you think his bosses should insist he wears one?

  22. At 12:12 PM on 10 Nov 2006, jonnie wrote:

    Did anyone see the comment from Ed Iglehart regarding the 23 year old who tried to launch a rocket from his bottom yesterday.

    This is how BBC Radio 2 covered the news story :-)


  23. At 12:21 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Belinda wrote:

    This type of thing shouldn't even be an issue today and I'm annoyed with both Jon Snow and the rest of the media that this has even come up. If Jon Snow wants to wear a poppy on-air fine, if he doesn't, then he doesn't have to.

    It doesn't and shouldn't offend religious sensibilities like the veil/cross thing (the 'hot-button' topic to which this is clearly linked) and it makes sense in his explanation that he has imposed a moratorium on wearing any 'campaign' symbol as part of his job. It's his choice in my view and since he wears a poppy in private and has presumably contributed to the campaign as a private citizen, then he cannot be accused of not supporting the sacrifices made in a previous generation.

    Like Fearless Fred, I was also far more irritated by the man who said that red poppies were less 'christian' than red poppies. Commemorating the war-dead is not a christian issue either and therefore the whole thing is moot.

  24. At 12:23 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Jonnie (16); you're correct. Feline curiosity got the better of me. Maybe I should rename myself (with a nod to SSC) as The Brass-Necked Cat? But out of vision? Check out the webcam. (I've never viewed the thing. Is it in 'live' use?)

    I certainly agree with your comments in (12) about 'not being forced', and on the matter of impartiality. But EM has posed a question on the matter to us for comments, regarding his esteemed CH4 colleague. It seems fair to pose a related question back to him. I am not enquiring as to his personal viewpoint, simply as to whether he does, or doesn't. Which of us would be influenced in our own opinions by EM wearing, or not, a poppy?

    Besides, an important part of EM's 'style' as a presenter/interviewer is that he does, sometimes, let drop what seems to be a hint of an opinion on a topic. An acerbic aside, a droll comment or simply highlighting some idiocy in the argument being made. It may not be his own opinion, it may be Devil's Advocacy, but I like it, a point I made in the early days of the blog. True impartiality would see a return to the days of 'Do you have anything to say Minister', letting both sides state their entrenched positions and letting you decide for yourself, which used to be as far as interviewing ever went.

    I think that you've just made Jon Snows' point for him.....

    It's nice to have an exchange of different opinions without resorting to gunfire, isn't it?


  25. At 12:25 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Eddie Mair wrote:

    Simon (9) - that's kind of you but I'll decline your invitation. We will have the controller of editorial policy at the BBC on the programme tonight to explain what the rules are here...

  26. At 12:26 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Stephen, Leader of STROP wrote:

    I have a sudden urge to explain my last point. In case my previous posting disappears, I will reiterate it.

    I regard myself as a pacifist, though the term I generally prefer is Idealist Pacifist. By this I mean that I am opposed to war. We should never allow ourselves to get into a situation where war is the only solution. However, there are circumstances where we have got to that point.

    WW2 is, to my mind a good example. My history is not faultless but I am fairly convinced that the roots of WW2 lie in the reparations imposed at the end of WW1; I believe we could have avoided it if we had acted differently.

    However, I equally believe that come September 1939, we had reached a point where we could do little else but declare war, and follow it through.

    The same cannot be said for Iraq 2.

    That being said, the poppy does not commemorate any decision to go to war, good or bad. What it commemorates is those people who were called upon, once we were at war, to do what was necessary even to the point of death.

    To any Christians (and yes I'm one of those too) who feel that the red poppy is wrong, can I just say this: To me the poppy represents the same sentiment as John 15:13

    Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
  27. At 12:29 PM on 10 Nov 2006, John H. wrote:

    I was going to simply say, "yes" - but since that debate has already developed, I feel I must comment further. First of all, I don't think anybody should be compelled to wear any symbol - poppy or other. I agree with those who suggest that many presenters wear poppies more because of the fear of comment if they don't rather than the simple positive statement of support. I also read the coverage of the story on the BBC news site, and so read Jon's explanation. I do not think that you can dismiss his reasoning - there may be many causes that he would like to show support of on air - but if the viewing public took offence to any of them, he would be attacked. A principled decision to wear no symbol, ever, seems to me to be perfectly acceptable. That should be enough - that he goes on to say he wears a poppy off air should be more than enough.

    I read Big Sis's comments with interest - not least because she accepts that she is putting her head above the parapet by airing them so honestly. I think it would be an even more potent symbol if I believed that every person wearing a poppy had struggled with the issues in such a way. Personally, I usually wear a poppy for some part of the period around now - as I am at the moment. So long as we remain mostly a democratic country, then I think that we all share some collective responsibility for those who lose their lives in conflicts - just as we do for those who gave their lives in the past even if we disagree with the action being taken. Perhaps a poppy is a recognition of this.

  28. At 12:55 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Eddie Mair wrote:

    Oh and Jonnie - thanks for the clip. I'm told we could soon have a new system for posting audio on the blog, which I'm very excited about, as we often have good clips - such as the one from Radio 2 that you posted - but getting them on here is a frightful faff. Hopefully soon. We may be able to play the Parma Ham incident...

  29. At 01:03 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Ben McCrory wrote:

    Those who died in wars might be surprised to be told that people today should not, according to some, be free to choose whether or not to wear a poppy.

  30. At 01:06 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    Belinda (23)

    Has it not already been established that the veil is not a religious issue?

    And most of those who wear a cross probably have no Christian affiliation.

    (and a simple expedient would be for lots of white males to wear veils)

  31. At 01:10 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Paul H wrote:

    I wear two.

    I wear my white poppy as a symbol that a peaceful solution is always to be preferred over a violent conflict.

    And I wear my red poppy not to celebrate war, but in quiet remembrance of all those, including my great great uncle, who died in wars that they didn't start and had no choice whether or not to take part.

    It's triggered some good discussions among friends young and old, and I think everyone understands my viewpoint. I've seen a lot of people wearing two!

  32. At 01:23 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Having come back and read through some of the replies here, it's shown how much this is now a society which cares almost as much about the appearance of having done something as having actually done something. Reading through Jon Snows' explanation, he clearly states that he supports the Poppy appeal in his personal life, and gives to it each year. So, his commemoration of those who died in conflicts can't really be called into question, I would argue. Does it matter that he does not show this fact? I would say not. An act of charity/commemoration/rememberance does not need to be public. In fact, you could almost make a case that such an act has more meaning, as it is done in such a way that it doesn not draw attention to itself. Instead, it is being done solely as a personal decision...

    I hope my ramble made some sort of sense top folks out there :-)

  33. At 01:25 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    In order not to be misconstrued (As an Amerikan, I'm somewhat disadvantaged in the use of irony) My number (5) was intended with keyboard lodged in cheek.

    Sorry (duh!)

  34. At 01:44 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    John H

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

    I would add, to my original post (and possibly in the light of some of the comments hereon) that, sadly, the majority of the combatants of the WWs did not have a choice in their participation. This, for me, complicates the issue greatly.

    I do accept that situations arise whereby countries may be forced into warfare in order to protect themselves and their citizens. Sadly, as recent history teaches, this is not always the case. But wherever the root lies, the loss of humanity and life which war usually entails will always be a problem to me, and to many.

  35. At 01:59 PM on 10 Nov 2006, gossipmistress wrote:

    Eddie (28) please do give us the 'parma ham
    incident' as an audio clip. Even the name sounds like a film title...

    Re the poppy debate, I think wearing one, red or white, should be every individual's choice, whether on tv or in their private lives. I also think this should apply to any discreet religious symbols (or jewellry - and where is the dividing line?) unless it interferes with someone's ability to do their job.

  36. At 02:09 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Belinda wrote:

    Vyle (30), does anyone really believe that the veil is NOT a religious issue?

    I'm taking the tin-opener away from this can of worms now and I apologise for bringing up the V word, but my point was that the wearing of the red poppy isn't something which is by a particular segment of the population who believe in a particular thing. It is above religion and personal politics etc, but equally everyone should have a choice whether or not they do want to wear one.
    I wear a red poppy even though I am anti-war, not because it celebrates war or makes martyrs of the war-dead but because it is a commemoration for people who gave their lives in terrible conflict. I personally think of it representing conflict beyond WWI and think about everyone who has died in war, whether they were military or civilians. It represents different things to different people - for me, it symbolises the hope that one day war will end really.

    I'll stop babbling now.

  37. At 02:27 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Jose wrote:

    Yes, Jon Snow is right.

    He, and everyone else to that matter, has the right to wear or not wear whatever he so wishes.

    Isn't that the whole reason that soldiers go to war? So that we all could live in a free country which allows us to make these choices!

  38. At 02:36 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Roberto Carlos Alvarez-Galloso,CPUR wrote:

    On the poppy issue, I have in my wallet a red ribbon with a plastic eye [its a Latin Tradition against all of the meanies of the world].

    I saw my post card on the PM Photo Album. Thanks.

    Cheers from Miami


  39. At 02:47 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Fifi wrote:

    Does anyone else remember when the news was calmly read out to us by someone rather ordinary looking, sitting behind a desk?

    And was I the only 1960s child who learned to recognise Robert Dougall from a very early age -- because of the resemblance between his comb-over and the coiffure of Dougal on the Magic Roundabout, which preceded the News?

    There's far too much visual faffing about with TV news now.

    'Broken News' did some brilliant parodies ('Standing News' being a particular favourite, along with the male & female co-presenters finishing each other's sentences) ... but in the end, like the Dilbert cartoons, it was just too close to reality to be funny.

    Thank goodness for radio.

  40. At 02:51 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Roberto Carlos Alvarez-Galloso,CPUR wrote:

    Please put on your photo album. Miami from Roberto so that others could know who sent PM the Post Card. Thanks.

  41. At 02:52 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Frances O wrote:

    I, too, feel that it is Jon Snow's choice as to whether he wears a poppy or not while on air. I think it would be disgraceful if presenters were compelled, by management or by public pressure/prejudice, to wear a symbol - whether or not they agree with the cause it represents. Surley what matters is one's own actions, however private they may be, rather than outward show which may be sincere or, sadly, hypocritical.

  42. At 02:53 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Frances O wrote:

    PS: no strapline, no newsletter; business as usual, then

  43. At 02:58 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    On a much lighter note:

    Is Eddie Mair right .... to act as if Sunday wasn't his birthday?

    Froggers have been flogging this for the last few days and (I suspect - okay, I know) the odd card or two will have'wung' its way to the News Centre.

    C'mon Eddie, don't be shy. Show your head over the parapet (oops! that's a military image. Apologies!) and take a bow!

    HAVE A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LORD MAIR! But do let us know on Monday how your day went .....

  44. At 03:04 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Laurel wrote:

    I'm of the same opinion as Big Sister (8) - I dont wear a poppy but will donate. I have had quite serious arguments about this in the past because people really feel that I should be more obvious in my support. That says a lot about society, I think. It's important now to let everyone else know what you're thinking, which leads to people donating because they feel they'll be judged if they don't rather than because they want to. It's the same with any symbol - the aids ribbon, breast cancer badges etc. There is a social 'guilt trip' if you do not obviously donate to these funds, no matter what you do privately.

    I support Jon Snow in his decision and would support him whatever his reasons.

  45. At 03:10 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Aunt Dahlia wrote:

    Fascinating, I feel this is a really good place to be.
    However, I wear a red poppy, but I wear it for those who have died and who are still out there giving life, limbs and sanity to protect what the government I didn't vote for, have decided it is worth their sacrifice.
    And that opens a whole new unexplored area for me. I don't like it. But thank you for making me do it.

  46. At 03:13 PM on 10 Nov 2006, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    My view mirrors that of many here, but I feel strongly about it so I'm going to comment anyway.

    Jon Snow is, in my opinion, entirely correct in not wearing the poppy or any other symbol when reading the news. I wish more newsreaders and presenters would follow his example.

    Those people saying he *must* wear it or he's showing disrespect to those who died, seem to have missed the point of the freedoms my grandparents' and great-grandparents' generations fought for.

    I'm surprised to read Fred's comment about someone saying the white poppy is considered more Christian. It was a womens' guild that first produced white poppies in 1933, not a religious group. The comment Fred refers to sounds like someone hijacking the poppy for their own ends, which is a perfect example of why those in the public eye shouldn't be expected to wear one by default.

  47. At 03:17 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    Speaking of too real to be funny (almost) Bremner Bird & Fortune does that for me - almost painful sometimes. Come back Mrs Pritchard!

  48. At 03:26 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    It's here! Cleverly disguised by its subject line, the newsletter.

    It's been a busy old day so far. Well...busy for me. Just recorded an interview with a chap whose job used to involve tracking down UFOs for the MoD. Think you'll find it quite interesting. Hope so.

    We'll be trying to look behind the headlines about what MI5 says is the terrorist threat we face. Why are we being told all this now?

    And in no particular order, some lovely arts work from Nigel, the price of property in Spain, and the BBC's policy on poppies.

    Northern Ireland may well feature, as will a beguiling mix of pop and classical music.

    See you on the snow at 5.

    Eric Sainsbury

    Posted 13.30 arrived 15.15
    Salaami and black pudding

  49. At 03:27 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Peter Jones wrote:

    Irrespective of what Jon Snow does or doesn't do, its so reassuring to think of our Eddie, with his poppy affixed to the button hole of his dinner jacket as he presents PM in true Reith-ian tradition

  50. At 03:30 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Fifi wrote:

    Here's today's newsletter (I remembered!)


    It's been a busy old day so far. Well...busy for me. Just recorded an interview with a chap whose job used to involve tracking down UFOs for the MoD. Think you'll find it quite interesting. Hope so.

    We'll be trying to look behind the headlines about what MI5 says is the terrorist threat we face. Why are we being told all this now?

    And in no particular order, some lovely arts work from Nigel, the price of property in Spain, and the BBC's policy on poppies.

    Northern Ireland may well feature, as will a beguiling mix of pop and classical music.

    See you on the snow at 5.

    Eric Sainsbury

  51. At 03:33 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Peter Wharton wrote:

    Got the newsletter at 15.21,thanks.
    On items up for discussion:
    Terrorism-Are we being turned into a paranoid society? I have the feeling that there is an Agenda being followed by the 'powers that be' , to an end that we 'proles' will only become aware, when it is too late.
    UFOs-See above.

  52. At 03:34 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Fifi wrote:

    Ed (47): You are so right about BB&F. I've pinched some of my best lines from them and Dead Ringers.

    Horribly, horribly close to the truth.

    Good job we've all got a sense of humour though, eh?

  53. At 03:37 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Aunt Dahlia wrote:

    Rosalind, if you are out there you need to go to www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors
    Where Today really has gone to the dogs. (Love the Airedale tho')

  54. At 03:41 PM on 10 Nov 2006, mark drew wrote:

    As stated further up the list, supporting the cause is far more important than wearing the symbol. I regularly donate to worthy causes but always decline the bage/sticker/emblem/etc. As a family we donated this year but the "poppies" remain unworn. I think it is best not to display one contribution to society but get on and do it without shouting about it. What others do is entirely their own choice.

  55. At 04:07 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Aunt Dahlia wrote:

    Valery, your boat has come in ( apologies to all submariners) on the next page, but the comments link is a snare and a delusion so we cannot congratulate you, however, well done. Now what are the answers/

  56. At 04:19 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    Yey Val!

    Well done! Your very own header, too! And Eddie likes the duck ....


    But still no mention of his birthday .... Such modesty!

    C'mon Eddie, R-E-L-A-X ...... you're amongst friends, you know!

  57. At 04:21 PM on 10 Nov 2006, OnTheLedge wrote:

    Cooey ........ Eddie ..... You left your lights on .........

  58. At 04:29 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Auntie (53),

    Where are the dogs? An old one of mine showed up on another thread, but I cant find the editor's dog.


  59. At 04:41 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Chrissie the Trekkie wrote:

    I suppose we're so used to newsreaders and other TV presenters wearing a red poppy at this time of year, that it seems odd and somewhat rebellious when one does not.

  60. At 04:44 PM on 10 Nov 2006, anne wrote:

    this is a truly interesting discussion to come home to.

    My mother would never buy or wear a poppy because she thought that the government should bear the total cost of looking after veterans widows, depedndents, medical costs, etc etc, since it was the government who had used these people as cannon fodder in their wars. Whilst agreeing with the principle I always bought one because it is obvious that no government is ever going to accept financial responsibility for the aftermath of war and someone has to fund the hospitals, the therapy, physical emotional or whatever, meet the needs of war widows and so on.

    I totally take the point of chartable giving being a private thing and in fact it is a principle I stick to myself, even when encouraged by charities that I support to spread the word, because I believe people should give to the charities that they persaonlly wish to support out of conviction or an empathy with a particular need.

    But I wonder...I don't want to force Jon Snow to wear a poppy but why does he not want to. I understand the point that he has made it a matter of principle never to wear a ribbon or a wristband or anything else and I'm totally behind him on that one. But I can't help feeling that the poppy is different to those in some way...and sadly it's a way I can't quite define. Perhaps one of you can. It's something to do with what someone else said very early on, about it being a unifying thing, it's something to do with knowing that all those whose lives were ended or blighted by war surely deserve that we do this small thing for them. As someone else said it's above politics, it's above religion, it's about remmbering people, who had no choice, giving everything they could. I couldn't NOT wear a poppy at this time of year, although if I could find one I would wear a white one as well.

  61. At 04:59 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Aunt Dahlia wrote:

    Ed currently 58
    I'm nervous about doing this as you are so adept at linking, but try
    w's. bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/cerithomas/
    and it should be the second on the archive 30th June 06
    Good Luck

  62. At 05:32 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    You mean this, or more simply, just copy the link from the 'address field' on your browser, and paste it thus:

    Loadsa doggies!

    You didn't say it was way back in the archives. A possible site for a Today Beach? Possibly better a less doggy one, eh?

  63. At 05:32 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Frances O wrote:

    Eddie, before you disappear for the weekend, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!

    I know how old you are, hee, hee, but I won't tell.

    Have a wonderful day. Have a slice of virtual cake.

  64. At 05:35 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Frances O wrote:

    Oooh, Eddie, debate is 'raging' in here, is it? Thought we were having a civilised discussion.

  65. At 05:36 PM on 10 Nov 2006, martin callanan wrote:


  66. At 05:37 PM on 10 Nov 2006, jim cole wrote:

    Yes. Jon Snow is right.

    Do BBC presenters buy their poppies theirselves or are supplied cratis?

    Jim Cole

  67. At 05:41 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Pete Griffiths wrote:

    As an ex-soldier who served in both Gulf Wars and in Bosnia at the start of the trouble there, I fully support Jon Snow's right to NOT wear a poppy or any other symbol that endorses a particular organistation or viewpoint.

    Maybe it is time for the BBC to ban all such items - after all, the organisations involved invest heavily in their particular symbol in the hope of full coffers.

    The BBC, by allowing these symbold on screen are, in effect, endorsing the organisations aims through free advertising and association.

    Saying that, please let everyone buy a poppy for tomorrow to support the Forces who do their masters will, sometimes being injured or killed in the process.

  68. At 05:43 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Steve wrote:

    I never wear a poppy. I give money to the sellers but do not take one.

    I remember the sacrifice of millions without having to have a sign on me indicating to other people that I do, or supposedly do.

    I do not wear any symbol in fact. As long as I know within myself and remember that is the important thing for me.

    I also think Jon Snow is quite right for not wearing one on screen.

  69. At 05:47 PM on 10 Nov 2006, David wrote:

    Do BBC reporters in Afghanistan wear poppies at this time?

  70. At 05:49 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Bob Thorp wrote:

    This is a free country, I respect Snow's choice not to wear a poppy on air. If the poppy represents anything today it is the fact that so many of our service people from all wars are too quickly forgotten by the state and the grateful nation in their time of need. The poppy appeal is above all a charity appeal to help the distressed.

  71. At 05:49 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Claire wrote:

    I don't feel people should be obliged to wear one and respect the right for people to choose to express their pacifist stance by wearing a white one.

    There's an extent to which the whole poppy thing has been hijacked by a certain patriotic fervour and a sense of Britishness that I don't (and cannot) personally relate too. In France the Armistice is marked by a public holiday but no mass wearing of any emblem.

    There is a further reason why I personally would not wear a poppy. My great great uncle, a naval officer, in WW1 was shot by the British Army and his death was authorised or 'confirmed' by Douglas Haig. The word Haig fund found at the centre of the poppy therefore has dark resonances in the context of my family history.

  72. At 05:50 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Ben Hannaford wrote:

    He admits to supporting the charity. Does he have to display evidence of his donation? Poppycock!

  73. At 05:50 PM on 10 Nov 2006, KW-L wrote:

    One thing we should always remember is that those that fought - and died in conflicts, did so to ensure that we all retained the right to free speech and free thought. That's why many wear poppies and spare a moment on Rememberance Day to reflect on that sacrifice.

    I may - or may not - agree with Jon Snow's stance on this issue. But , in the spirit of those who paid such a price, I shall defend to the bitter end his right to make his own decision.


  74. At 06:02 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Brian Ewart wrote:

    Every other comment that is critical Jon Snow has missed the point of the poppy!

    It commerates servicemen and civilians come to that, who made the ulitmate sacrfice to protect our FREEDOM, that includes the is the right not to wear a poppy on air or at all if a person so wishes.

    I have served in the armed forces and I always thought, amongst other things, I protected a persons right to disagree or maybe I missed the point!

  75. At 06:07 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Aunt Dahlia wrote:

    Ed (62)
    You are soo clever. Thankyou
    I'll try it if I ever manage to find a site that might appeal -
    and certainly not that beach for Robbie!

  76. At 06:13 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Rosalind wrote:

    Thank you Aunt Dahlia.

    I taught history from the Paris Peace Conferences over Vietnam, well slightly before, (i.e from 1975) until a few years ago. I have been fascinated how the whole issue of 11.11.1918 suddenly came alive some 10 years ago in the classroom, and the issue of poppies and the minute's silence.

    I think it is because the whole thing is now so much more about war and its horrors in general, and about remembering ALL who have died defending what we think of as a free society over the last 100 years or so.

    I remember the white poppy from past years. IMHO that is more about misunderstanding what most of us see as the meaning of the red poppy than anything else.

    OR in my more cynical mode, its about promoting a particular agenda, and I have to admit I don't like that.

  77. At 06:19 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Jiouxd wrote:

    Yes, I think JS is right. Are newsreaders/commentators going to join the debate about religious symbols now? Did the above wear red noses for Comic Relief? (don't remember). Festoon them with stickers, badges, wristbands, trademarks, etc. and distract us from unrelieved doom.

  78. At 06:30 PM on 10 Nov 2006, C Smith wrote:

    Yes. Every November I am puzzled to see people all over the news programmes wearing poppies. If a white poppy is unacceptable as it shows an allegiance to pacifism then is not a red poppy equally inappropriate when seen through my pacifist eyes. I cannot see it as acceptable to be wearing a red poppy whilst impartially reading the news.

    The poppy is a charitable fundraising tool for the British Legion. Where are the pink ribbons in aid of Breakthrough Breast Cancer, the daffodils for Marie Curie, the red ribbon for AIDS charities? Newsreaders should not be pledging their allegiance to any particular charity. Well done Jon Snow for raising this issue.

  79. At 06:33 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Gordon Mackie wrote:

    I'm musing on politics and war, respect and remembrance. A poppy is a symbolic representation.Red or white, its a very political statement. To wear or not to wear is also a politcial statement. War and politics are closely related.

    Those who decry Jon Snow's stance deny his freedom of expression because it doesn't fit with what they believe. It's not a lack of respect on his part - the point he is making is that it is his right to choose. I would defend that right.

    Respect is not a right- you cannot demand it.

    Respectfully yours,


    PS Eddie, we are still not sure if you did somethig eith your hair - is this wish connected to your advancing years? Happy birthday

  80. At 06:52 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Frances O wrote:

    Which wish, Gordon?

  81. At 07:28 PM on 10 Nov 2006, jonnie wrote:

    Re Simon Worrall (24)

    Simon, I have only just glanced through the blog and noticed your posting. I've been manic all day - not listened to PM and not followed the blog.

    I recall that you don't have Internet access at home so you may never see this comment.

    I realise it's Eddies decision to disclose any information about his views or preferences.

    I used to work in Radio (Not the BBC) as a producer for too many years and hence your question to Eddie as to whether he wears a Poppy or not triggered a natural response.

    The reson for this post is to apologise if I sounded as if I was trying to either pre-empt Eddie or to criticise your question.

    Thank YOU for such a polite response,


  82. At 09:41 PM on 10 Nov 2006, christine wrote:

    To #1 and # 36

    I really agree...so many put their lives at risk for us to be here to-day, and if they hadn't....well who knows?????

    My own father was a sergeant in the the tanks, and I know from my mother (both are sadly dead now) that it ruined their marriage, as he came back a different man (still a young man) but a different one...it eventually destroyed their marriage and my childhood and my brother's!

    I wear my poppy with pride, as I know in just my case how much it affected my parent's lives and mine!...So what must it have done to the rest of the world...please wear your poppy with pride for all those young people that went out there because of government action! Without them where would we be now????

    Kindest regards to all

  83. At 10:47 PM on 10 Nov 2006, Gordon Mackie wrote:

    Hi frances

    his wish was to do something with his hair a couple of days ago in this blog


  84. At 11:09 PM on 10 Nov 2006, David Jones wrote:

    In general presenters on the television and especially newscasters should stay away from wearing anything that would make a statement on their feelings/beliefs. In their private life they can wear what they want.

    I however feel his argument does not hold when he compares the Poppy to other symbols. A Poppy is a mark of respect for the people who died and fought for this country and the free world. Often in situations that would make most people run in the opposite direction.

    So wear it with pride!

  85. At 12:24 AM on 11 Nov 2006, jonnie wrote:

    Off to bed now but just listened to PM.

    Interesting Interview with David Jordan ((Head of Editorial Policy) re: The Poppy and Jon Snow.

    For those who missed it Eddie asked David for his views on BBC Newsreaders wearing ribbons. David replied that it was a good point but it was discouraged! Eddie then pushed David to expand on his answer but David stood his ground -- his only answer being that it was 'Tradition' .. fair enough I suppose, however life moves on does it not ?

    Night Froggers, and a special good night to the lovely .............. Big sis xx



    And Lee Vitout

  86. At 01:38 PM on 11 Nov 2006, Karl Handy wrote:

    Yes, if he doesn't want to why should he?

    He can wear what he wants, unless of course he's a Muslim woman talking to an MP - that would be absolutely wrong.

  87. At 05:09 PM on 11 Nov 2006, Deepthought wrote:

    Might I add a late note about the poppy symbol that no-one else seems to have touched on.

    When the factory was established in Richmond, Surrey, it was to give a job to some of the injured servicemen from WW1. I am unaware that other charities employ sufferers/beneficieries to manufacture the symbols that represent the cause, but maybe someone can correct me on that point.

    So the symbol itself is both raising funds for the charity, and helping injured servicemen - well, at least the Scottish factory says "disabled servicemen", the English one just says "disabled". Certainly in times before disability discrimiation laws, this would have been one of the few places that injured people could obtain gainful employment.

    The use of symbols - ribbons, daffodils, whatever - seems a recent phonenomon (apart from the poppy), I don't recall any other object being used when I was young. There were always labels that were stuck to clothing for RNLI and the like.

  88. At 10:13 AM on 13 Nov 2006, Lucy wrote:

    saw Jon Snow in Winchester on Sunday 12/11/2006 - he was dining on the next table to us at the Old Vine. No poppy was worn!

  89. At 12:46 PM on 13 Nov 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    Oh dear, Lucy, So are you saying that JS was economical with the verite? It may, of course, have had more to do with the row that's been provoked about him wearing/not wearing which made him choose not to wear one Saturday night?

    The poor man is entitled to a private life, after all.

  90. At 04:11 PM on 13 Nov 2006, Aperitif wrote:

    Lucy (88),
    If he was at dinner on Sunday then both Remembrance Day and the related Sunday services were past and so he was quite right not to be wearing a poppy - the 'wearing season' is over again now until next year.

  91. At 04:40 PM on 13 Nov 2006, Big Sister wrote:

    Oops, Saturday should have read Sunday ....

    But the gist remains the same.

  92. At 05:46 PM on 13 Nov 2006, Tania wrote:

    I urge you to read the article in the link below it encompasses my feelings entirely.


  93. At 05:48 PM on 13 Nov 2006, Dom wrote:

    Good on John I say. He is not being disrespectful...he buys and wears a Poppy off-screen. His argument is one about freedom of choice and he should be allowed to do what he likes. The main thing is that people support the cause (which he does). Are we to believe that all these celebs buy their poppies from a seller backstage. Of course not. I rather expect a girl from make-up pops it on them whether or not they have donated...that is insincere and really more offensive

  94. At 10:10 PM on 14 Nov 2006, Paddy wrote:

    Can anyone give me more details of the guy on PM on Friday 10 Nov who was talking of UFO's. Name etc.. would be good

    Thanks and may the force be with you...


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