Will TV anchorman Jon Snow buckle under pressure from “poppy fascists” and wear a poppy when presenting Channel 4 news tonight? I don’t think so. Here is what he said that has caused so much rumpus:
“The Poppy issue is an interesting one – opinions are much more bitterly divided and assertively put than on any other symbol.
“Fiona Bruce is to be allowed to continue to wear a crucifix, or a cross-shaped item of jewellery. I am allowed to wear unspeakably bright ties. But there’s a world of difference there that we should be assertive about.
“My ties are abstract – I do not believe in wearing anything which represents any kind of statement. You may say my ties, my socks are a statement anyway. But of what? A statement of rebellion? Joy? Absurdity? You see we don’t know what the statement is – if indeed there is one – and that is as it should be.
“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.
“I respect our armed forces, the sacrifice and the loss, and like others I remember them on Remembrance Sunday. That’s the way it is. I won’t be wearing a black tie for anyone’s death – I don’t for my own relatives, so why on earth would I for anyone else’s? “
So Jon is very much his own man, and was just as forthright in his younger days. The son of a Bishop, he failed to complete his law degree after being “rusticated” for his part in a student demonstration. His life has been as colourful as his eye-catching ties and socks. However, his outspoken views are not necessarily shared by his colleagues.
I think Jon is being pig-headed and insensitive. He is not against wearing poppies, and there is a big difference with the message behind a poppy compared to many of the other well-meaning causes he also refuses to publicly support, the poppy invokes feelings of national pride. It would appear that Jon objects to being told he is expected to wear one by his boss when doing his job. That seems quite churlish and deliberately defiant and I wonder how much of this rebellious streak goes back to his childhood, perhaps trying to break away from the constraints of a strict religious background.
Jon must recognise that he is a public figure, that at the moment we are thinking of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Remembrance Day brings the nation together to remember those who died in wars to help give us the freedom we enjoy today.
The Royal British Legion says more than 80% of people in Britain will observe tomorrow’s two minute silence. And new research found that 85% of people think the silence is still relevant today. They will naturally be very disappointed by Jon Snow’s stand on this. I do hope Jon will be big enough to change his mind and wear his poppy tonight.
Do you feel it should remain a private matter between Jon and his conscience? What does Remembrance Day mean to you? And what do you think about white poppies, I must admit I’ve never seen one, should this group choose another time to promote their peace message?
Spot on Elle – John is being obstinate and a little adolescent over this. The red poppy is completely devoid of attachement to any cause, political movement or agenda – it’s simply an act of rememberance for hunderds of thousands of fellow countrymen who lost their lives.
To make an issue of this is churlish…
Its a case of personal conscience- rather too many people dust off last years, and are parading their poppy Mid October- usually politicians. Jon Snow is thinking, usually others he sport them in mid Oct, are doing it because of good form. Personally I would prefer that we stop going to war at the drop of a hat,and ensure that old soldiers are paid a decent military pension. German soldiers even those former members of the Waffen SS get pensions that surpass ours by thousands a year. The poppy issue is a side issue to the way we treat old soldiers. Lastly it is going to make my skin crawl seeing Blair at the cenotaph on Sunday.
I think that Jon is losing touch with reality.
Just sitting in front of the camera reading the news is not the big deal he seems to think it is. Perhaps his employers might remind him that there is no shortage of people willing to take his place, particularly for the six figure salary that I daresay he earns.
Furthermore, making such a big splash in the media over his insistence that he will not wear anything that indicates his sentiments or beliefs is in itself a clear statement of his sentiments and beliefs. It’s a clear statement that he subscribes to the modern intellectual mindset whereby there are no longer any absolutes only different points of view. A world in which we must no longer have any firm beliefs, or any adherence to traditional institutions, and that all history today is open to re-interpretation and revision.
In short, he’s a limp wristed liberal.
In his own words “in the end there really must be more important things in life than whether a news presenter wears symbols on his lapels.”
What goes round comes round. For years left-leaning journalists like Snow have cried ‘racist’ when anyone dared to question the merits of uncontrolled and unfettered immigration. He deserves everything he gets.
Ive got a meeting to go to tonight and I will be proudly wearing my poppy at it. Its a symbol for what our fathers and grandfathers fought for, and what our troops still fight for. At work tomorrow and Sunday I shall observe the two minute silence. Theres usually someone who comes in shouting and I will silence them for those two minutes. Its so important that everything halts for those two minutes, for we wouldnt be alive for two minutes more were it not for our brave soldiers.
I just don’t know. I notice that on BBC World everyone who comes on to be interviewed is wearing a poppy, even if this is not the tradition in their own country. I can see both sides of the argument and I take the point above about Snow’s large salary. Although I wore a poppy in Britain I stopped watching the “Festival of Remembrance” some years ago as I think it is being used to glorify the unnecessary wars of today. I don’t see anything wrong with white poppies and I used to wear one back in the eighties: I don’t think it’s incongruous to respect those who have given their lives for our freedom and at the same time to wish for peace.
Jon clains that he does not wish to wear ‘symbols’ on tv, which is true to a point, but surely a poppy transcends all this as it represents the millions of people who have perished in wartime of all nationalities and denominations. He is a real hypocrite in only wearing a poppy when people don’t see him on tv.
The poppy is not a symbol like the others he mentions: it is a reflection of national pride and remembrance of those who fought and died so that we could have our freedom.
Ellee – you were brill on your BBC News 24 appearance just now.
Jon Snow says that he doesn’t believe in wearing anything that makes any kind of statement. But that didn’t stop him from wearing a Make Poverty History wristband on TV last year.
The white poppies I have seen look horribly tacky and homemade, and in my experience are worn by people who fail to understand what proper red poppies are all about.
The pledge on that site said…
War is a crime against humanity. I renounce war, and am therefore determined not to support any kind of war. I am also determined to
work for the removal of all causes of war.
I wonder what white poppy wearers would do if someone smacked them in the street?
I presume that they wouldn’t go to the police. After all, the police would use violence if a suspect didn’t co-operate with them, which would be against their pledge.
Pacifism is for acne-ridden teenagers and idiots. We tried it in the 1930s with the League of Nations, an organisation that was going to do lots of talking, because that would stop wars. An experiment that failed.
War is inglorious but is sometimes necessary.
Thanks Mikey, I was really nervous beforehand as I have a fear of public speaking, so it really means a lot to hear you say that.
[…] Should Jon Snow wear a poppy on TV? […]
No, he has his own personal thoughts and i think if he chooses not to wear a poppy then that’s up to him.
Of course he is entitled to his views.
Of course it is objectionable to be told “you MUST wear the poppy”.
However, his use of the word “fascism” in this context shows that he is a complete moron.
To Welshcakes above:
“I donâ€™t think itâ€™s incongruous to respect those who have given their lives for our freedom and at the same time to wish for peace. “
This is why the white poppy is objectionable. By its very existence it implies that wearers of the red poppy do NOT wish for peace. That is very profoundly offensive. The red poppy is there to remember those who have fallen in war. It is through remembrance that we keep alive the memory of the horror of war.
Finally, the poppy is not a symbol of national pride. It is a symbol of national gratitude. Not the same thing at all.
The poppy is a mark of gratitude to those who had to fight to preserve our freedoms. Freedom in not free. It has to be paid for. The RED poppy acknowledges this. The white denies it.
Speaking here as an unashamed red poppy wearer, and as one who disagrees with some of Jon Snow’s sentiments, I think it is his right of conscience not to wear one if he doesn’t want to. It doesn’t change people’s desire to remember those who died in war on November 11th/Rememberance Sunday!
Jon Snow should be applauded for refusing to wear a poppy while presenting CH4 news. He is entitled to oppose wearing it for whatever reasons he thinks fit. I’d bet that many more journalists/tv presenters would reject wearing it too if it were not for the ‘policy’ of their employers! I remember reading about journalist Paul Foot being told by the BBC that he had to wear a poppy on air or they would not conduct their interview with him. He stuck to his principles and refused to wear it.
“No, he has his own personal thoughts and i think if he chooses not to wear a poppy then thatâ€™s up to him.”