The White Poppy Exposed: Nothing More Than Greedy Political Opportunism From the Left

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There has been much debate in recent years about what poppy is appropriate to wear – the red one or the white one? Of course, the traditional red poppy of remembrance is winning by a long mile, but the white poppy of pacifism has been slowly catching up. But what does the white poppy represent, and does it contribute as much to society as the red poppy?

Who organises the white poppy appeal?

Unlike the red poppy, the white poppy is not sold in return for donations to a politically neutral charity. Instead, it is sold to raise funds for the “Peace Pledge Union” (PPU), a political campaign group which advocates pacifism. The group quite openly admits that all profits from selling their poppies go towards funding their work towards a “climate of peace”, which their office has confirmed again to Kipper Central. However, it is what they mean by a “climate of peace” which is most disturbing. While in theory this sounds nice, what it means in practice is that they advocate and campaign for pacifism using the funds raised by selling their white poppies.

What does the White Poppy represent?

The PPU claims:

There are three elements to the meaning of white poppies: they represent remembrance for all victims of war, a commitment to peace and a challenge to attempts to glamorise or celebrate war.

It is the latter two of these elements which cause the problems for me. A “commitment to peace” sounds nice in theory but what it means, in reality, is that the White Poppy is a symbol of pacifism (since that is what the PPU represents and campaigns for), e.g. opposing defending the Falklands and all other forms of national defence. While I wholeheartedly support people’s right to campaign against wars like these, there is a time and a place for doing so. Remembrance Sunday is not the time and Remembrance parade is not the place. It would be utterly wrong for me to create a purple poppy which had the stated meaning of advocating defending Gibraltar, and using all profits raised to fund a political organisation which campaigns for this. So why, I ask, is it acceptable for the reverse?

The third point again is a disgrace because it is yet another political opinion. It is the belief of some (often soldiers) that certain wars should be celebrated – like defending the Falklands and intervening in WW2 to stop the National Socialist Party (commonly referred to as the Nazis). Would White Poppy-wearers really argue these wars were wrong? Either way – that is not the point. The point is that making political points about the morals of war and whether or not it should be celebrated is not acceptable on Remembrance Day.

Where do the profits from selling White Poppies go?

We’ve already established that they go towards funding the PPU’s “work for a culture of peace”, but what does this exactly mean? As one might expect, there is more than meets the eye.

On their website, there is a very small link to a page which explains that

“Money raised over and above the cost of producing, publicising and distributing the poppies goes to fund our education and campaigning work, thus promoting nonviolent approaches to conflict and challenging militarism. Such work regrettably does not attract much funding and so we rely heavily on the generosity of people like you.”

There are a few interesting mind games with which they attempt to fool us within this quote. Firstly, they start the sentence by pointing out all of the costs which they must adorn in order to produce the poppies, implying that this is a significant amount. Of course, the cost of producing and distributing items – which cost a mere few pence to produce – and then selling them on for £1 each is absolutely minuscule.

Secondly, they use the word “education”, implying that they are helping to teach people about Remembrance Day. In fact, they are doing no such thing. They are actually spreading pacifist propaganda in the name of education and making many claims that are not only unsubstantiated but extremely disrespectful.

Thirdly, they implicitly admit that much of their finance comes from the White Poppy sales where they say that their work “regrettably does not attract much funding and so we rely heavily on the generosity of people like you”, by which they mean that they are not able to sort out their own finances like most political campaigns but instead they rely on fooling people into wearing a political symbol on Remembrance Day to make money.

Kipper Central wrote to the PPU to get full details of what the money is spent on, and we were told:

“Most of the money raised by the PPU through the sale of white poppies goes towards the production, distribution and promotion of white poppies. We do not sell them for the sake of fundraising but to promote the message of remembrance and peace. Money raised over and above this goes towards our education and campaigning work. This may include, for example, our educational resources that help young people to explore issues around conflict and violence. It may also help to fund our campaigns against militarism and for active nonviolence.”

This is slightly more helpful than their website, as it does quantify the claims to some extent by saying “most”, though again this is a very ambiguous term. It could still mean that 40% of profits go towards propaganda and political campaigning.

They went on to clarify that they only have 6 employees, each of whom earns no more than £30,600 per year. This, in all fairness, is not an unreasonable salary and therefore I have no accusations of personal financial greed on the part of any individuals involved.

However, they did say something which I found very interesting regarding funding. The annual turnover for the organisation is around £150,000 per year, and they claim on their website that they sell around 100,000 White Poppies each year. Now I’m not a Maths Professor, but by my calculations, that means that two-thirds of their annual turnover come from the sales of White Poppies, which are supposedly non-political. If they are non-political, why do they represent and fund two-thirds of a political movement?

What does their “education” consist of?

They use the funds from White Poppies to fund their “education” program, which aims to put the following into the school curriculum:

  • They imply that “lest we forget” is a “message of support” from those who want war to financially benefit.
  • They claim that “No cause, not even a defensive one in which possessions, territory or life are threatened, can ever justify fighting and killing.”, therefore that every war in history was wrong.
  • They argue that children should not be encouraged to join the army
  • Children’s stories which contain political points should be taught at school. They promote one particular story in which a big frog (presumably representing Bush/Blair) tries to invade a pond and is stopped by 2 newts (presumably representing Iraq), who are very kind to him and give me good in an attempt to win him over. Of course, what the story fails to point out is that the two newts try to kill the big frog and make a public campaign of it.

These are just a handful of the hundreds of political opinions which this disgraceful group want to see taught to our kids. I’d say this not education but indoctrination. And this is all funded by White Poppy Sales.

Why do people wear a white poppy?

This is a question which was what first got me gripped on researching White Poppies. I have always had my suspicions but I decided I would be open-minded and do a little research into what they represented, then commented my thoughts on a friend’s status on Facebook where he’d shared the PPU’s video promoting White Poppies. I was asking the question about what the money went to and why it was appropriate to make a political point of Remembrance Day.

However, I was met with a barrage of comments from Labour members who seemed to think that Remembrance Day is not only an acceptable day to be making the political argument for pacifism, but that by not doing so you are disrespecting the fallen soldiers. Of course, once I started making valid points, they became very abusive and bigoted, as has become the norm for many on the left.

 

As you can see, it would appear that many poppy-wearers are unashamed of making Remembrance Day political, and proceed to abuse those who disagree. As you can also see, none of them would address the funding issue which I repeatedly brought up.

Sadly, this is the case among many White Poppy wearers, though of course many will be wearing them out of confusion over what they represent.

What can you do?

Of course, very little can be done at this late stage but I would urge you to write to your local council/authority to request that the laying of white poppy wreaths be banned on Remembrance Day, as would a wreath bearing any other political symbol (other than the party logos which each lie in the middle of one wreath donated by that party).

You can also confront those who disrespect Remembrance Day on the day, by speaking to them after the ceremony (of course, in a respectful and non-distruptive manor) and tell them the truth about White Poppies and perhaps even refer them to this article.

And finally, make sure to share this article so that everyone on your social media is aware of the dark aims of the White Poppy!

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Reece Coombes

As a 16-year-old member of UKIP with a cardboard Nigel Farage cut-out in his bedroom, Reece is hardly your bog-standard student, but he cherishes his independent thinking as his greatest strength. Reece is the founder and owner of Kipper Central, a UKIP community blog with thousands of daily hits and is also the Deputy Chairman of Young Independence, UKIP's youth wing, where he works hard to promote Brexit and radical thinking to young people across Britain.

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13 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    I suggest you remove this post and do further research before creating ludicrous political propaganda again. I hope your warmongering politicians are as you are about the death of civilians.

  2. Ian edwards says:

    Interesting article though I’m neither red or white poppy myself. Many Brits and others have died (uniformed and civilian, us and them) due to unnecessary politically contrived wars and (to me) sometimes ghastly methods of prosecution such that I find that the poppy appeal somehow seems to sanctify or legitimise, and that’s a hard thing to say I realise given the losses to patriotic families caught up in war, yet ‘remembering’ sadly does not appear to reduce the number of these political acts and the resultant growing industrial accident list following each implementation. Nor am I pacifist, not fighting back against gun toting bullies who bear down on my kith and kin and property is not my way. I’m therefore a ‘red AND white’ poppy man. Red to remember the fallen, I’m lucky that all my relatives that have fought managed to somehow survive, and White to state that we should never fire the first shot and should seek to avoid conflict where at all possible – including no political contriving of it on some false pretext or other whilst paying pure lip service to peace – whilst so doing. And where possible use force only in direct proportion to force used against us, and in that I include the nuclear weapon choice if necessary. Happy to debate. I know I represent a minority here but it is not a Red vs White issue for me, I represent a shade of grey that would be represented by a Red and White poppy. I don’t promote it as it would take some financial backing, and would likely be a hard sell, especially amongst politicians who appear to enjoy all kinds of wars including the shooting ones, but that doesn’t mean this third choice shouldn’t exist, and one day I’ll bet it will materially exist as well, alongside the other option/s. Perhaps it may be a question of waiting for the right timing.

  3. John Wright says:

    It hardly surprises me that, particularly some Labour supporters deem it necessary to emphasise their bigotry & anti social beliefs when all that is required from them & everybody else is simply attending a commemorative occasion to honour the far too many who have died serving this Country! There should be no political inferences, since people from the whole World over from Sikh to Buddhist to Hindu to Muslim to Anglo Saxon & Jew plus dozens of other faiths, gave their lives seeking the end of tyranny. The white poppy has no place in this arena since it does not represent the true meaning of commemoration, but seeks to fund it’s own views & aspirations by selling these white poppies, simply to provide a salary for just six people?

    • Mick Bolton says:

      Well said John!

    • Anonymous says:

      The red poppy symbolises the British dead and the white symbolises everyone else’s dead. Are you claiming to not want to commemorate those French, American, Canadian, Herman, Austrian, Indian, Australian, New Zealand, Spanish, etc. Dead who also died protecting freedom? If this isn’t a political thing then why seclude other countries from rememberance. All countries have the right to be remembered. You have no right calling yourself a patriot if you don’t agree.

      • Angry Dude says:

        Utter rubbish, Australia and New Zealand both use the red poppy as a symbol of remembrance. White poppies are political propaganda from a pacifist organisation.

  4. MIKE MAUNDER says:

    Put simply, because at heart I am a simple fellow, the red poppy was started due to the awful waste of a generation in WW1 and anyone that saw the poppy display at the Tower of London, will understand the vastness of that loss. That loss was not enough, and in just 20 years, it all started up again for WW2, so in my opinion, war solves very little.
    I come from a strange family. My Grandpa was a conscientious objector in WW1 and ‘Thou shalt not kill’ was for him an absolute that he took to our market square, on his soap box as early as 1912. He was a lay-preacher for Baptist Union. My Father heard Chamberlain on the radio with his ‘Consequently we ARE at war with Germany’ and he ran to Dover Hall and signed up for the RAF. He was sent to North Africa, Ceylon, India, Normandy, Belgium, Holland and Germany. He was sent as a Senior NCO to witness Belson Camp.
    Two very different men. One with a firm belief, which he had to pay for, from a Co-Op Manager to a Farm Labourer. The other, subject to being known as the Son of a conscientious objector through his school days, did his duty on a grand scale.
    Which one was right ? Which one would you respect ? I would never wear a white poppy. I always wear a red poppy. I sincerely respect those who gave their lives, so that I have never had to go to war. At remembrance, I do not believe there is any place for white poppies, only red are correct. For those who buy white, please refrain from showing them during remembrance, Thank you. I do remembrance on behalf of my late Father, to one of his school mates who joined the RAF Bomber Command and was lost over Holland and body never found. His stone is in our local cemetery in the war graves section. Some would say I’m daft for doing it. ……….

  5. John Carins says:

    It’s time for reciprocal action. When Corbyn step up to lay his wreath at the Cenotaph all the assembled veterans should turn their backs.

    • MIKE MAUNDER says:

      I know what you mean John, but we saw Blair and did nothing. Wreaths are laid by the good, bad and ugly, and those of us that want remembrance, must concentrate on that fact.

  6. Estelle says:

    I strongly suggest editing your example of “creating a purple poppy” – because there already is one and it is a full proper decent recognition of the sacrifices made by service animals and provides funds to help support retired animals. Be it the horses, dogs, pigeons or any other animal serving they deserve recognition. The article above not only demonstrates ignorance of this but implies the purple poppy to be a throwaway made up thing only fit for demonstrating a point.

  7. Peter Sefton says:

    The key words in this article are those that state that the White Poppy organisers “claim that “No cause, not even a defensive one in which possessions, territory or life are threatened, can ever justify fighting and killing.”, therefore that every war in history was wrong.”

    Do these people really believe that Mr. Hitler could have been stopped by our simply making a polite request for him to do so? How, then, would they have stopped him?
    The only alternative is that they would have refrained from any form of fighting and that they would have allowed the Nazis to conquer Britain, unopposed.
    I’d be very interested to hear their response to that question. (I’ve asked such people before and have never had a response: it seems that they don’t like to deal with any of that nasty ‘reality’ business.)

  8. Rena love says:

    I think the white poppy people should also carry a white flag

  9. James says:

    Interesting article on many different levels, including the age of the author, political leanings and the view on an idealistic stance.

    Firstly I hadn’t heard of the white poppy before reading this article, so it proves the slogan that even bad publicity is publicity – too ignore something you disagree with or promote it by condemning it?

    In terms of the pacifism, you could say the white poppy is a counter balance to those who the liberals would accuse of glorifying war – the timing whilst distasteful is when you would do it because that is when it has the most attention.

    If you wanted to campaign against (say Christmas for example), you wouldn’t do it in the middle of June, you would do it in December.

    You have to be bloody brave to sign up to the army and fight for your country, most would do it if you were forced too but it wouldn’t be my first choice of career and soldiers rightly deserve respect the respect from civilians they fight on behalf of.

    That said some of the wars we have most recently been involved with have been unjust and frankly disgraceful, political power flexing, raiding countries for resources and money, regime change from one bad (uncooperative) ruler to bloody anarchy. Some wars definitely should have had resistance against them, particularly the ones since 2000. Japan has adopted a pacifist regime since WWII although even that is only supported by their militaristic allies. Like nuclear disarmament, communism and the welfare state it is a fine and noble sentiment, and if as a world we could achieve it (and enforce it) then we would inflict a lot less horrors on each other.

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