Welcome To Zelo Street!

This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Richard Kemp’s Poppy Meltdown

And so to November, that time of the year when days get shorter, temperatures fall, the pavements are strewn with fallen leaves, and those who do not prominently display a poppy as they go about their business are subjected to routine abuse from our free and fearless press. In this, that press can call upon its reserves of shock troops to knock the doubters into line, one of whom is former soldier Richard Kemp.
O'Brien! Insolent man! Get back in line! And have a shave, dammit!
You're ... let me get this right ... first time caller Richard from the Officers' Mess ...

Even better for the press, Kemp is an intolerant bigot who shares their deep suspicion of all those Scary Muslims™. Moreover, he is particularly intolerant when it comes to wearing the poppy. So when author and LBC host James O’Brien expounded on the subject live on air yesterday morning, and his conclusions did not meet with Kemp’s approval, the former Colonel decided to put the bounder on a charge. And I don’t mean his iPhone.
Those cheering on the likes of Donald Trump, Viktor Orbán and Marine Le Pen have no right to wear the poppy this year says James O’Brien" told the LBC Twitter feed. His argument was that these, like the Axis powers, the Greek colonels, Francisco Franco and António de Oliveira Salazar, were fascists, and it was to defeat fascists that Britain went to war. Kemp was deeply offended and instantly decided to indulge in a little projection.
What gives you the right to say someone should not wear the poppy because their political views are different from yours? Do you say the same about those who cheer on Jeremy Corbyn, arch supporter of terrorism? Stop politicising the poppy”. Smearing the Labour leader as a terrorist supporter? Check! But O’Brien’s point about fascism was well made - he also mentioned Jair Bolsonaro - yet Kemp just ignored it.
It rhymes with weedom of meech. I’ll give you another clue tomorrow” responded O’Brien on the subject of what gave him the right to say what he did. Kemp didn’t have to agree with him, or even understand the irony of his situation, which Otto English summed up succinctly: “If Britain was a third world country. Kemp is the sort of strong man fool who'd seize power”. Kemp wants freedom of speech, but only that which is acceptable to him.
This was demonstrated as he went off the end of the pier in no style at all at one Tweeter who asked “How is the poppy not political? Forcing someone to wear it is political”. The effrontery of that man! “Who forces anyone to wear a poppy? Don’t be absurd”. Politicisation point ignored, as is the right-wing press’ behaviour which effectively forces those on public view to wear one. Remember the abuse of Charlene White?
And whatever you do, don’t mention the white poppy of peace to Colonel Kemp. Light blue touchpaper, stand well back. “The red poppy commemorates thousands who were stretcher bearers, medics, unarmed in the fields of combat. The white poppy is a hard left political campaign intended to undermine British remembrance of our war dead. It commemorates IRA, Islamic State, Taliban, AQ, SS murderers”. Bullshit.

No wonder Richard Kemp took such exception to James O’Brien bringing up the subject of fascism. Because when it comes to poppy fascism, he has no equal.
Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kemp is precisely the kind of colonel who represents a grave danger to democracy. A former Blimp who neither understands or wants to understand the concept of free speech. A tin soldier with a tin ear.

Like many millions of others, my family suffered grievously because of two avoidable world wars caused by mindsets like Kemp's. I don't need to suffer his kind of crackpot one dimensional emotional blackmail, nor do I.

I don't wear a poppy, but I respect those who do. Each of us deals differently with the memories of lost ones.

Kemp is a disgusting individual with disgusting reactionary views. Exactly the kind of mentality that brought on flag-waving genocidal disaster in the last century. And this century too if he gets away with it. A Colonel Blimp of the very worst kind.

Ann Kelly said...

when the PPU brought out the white poppy in the 1920s, "All victims of war" meant the German cannon fodder and civilians . Now in the 21st centaury, "All victims of war" include Isis, Isil, those that gas civilians in Syria, various terrorist groups around the world who have died while taken part in unspeakable cruelty, Nazis and their various groups. Etc. etc. etc. I'm afraid the white poppy has had it's day and time for the PPU to think of some thing else or change it's policy.


I wear the purple animal poppy.

Steve Woods said...

"The white poppy is a hard left political campaign..."

For the benefit of ignoramuses like Kemp, the first white poppies were sold by the Co-operative Women's Guild in 1933, with the Peace Pledge Union (PPU) taking part in their distribution from 1936 onwards.

Neither of these organisations could be described as "hard left".

nparker said...


What a vile specimen Kemp is. Anyone who spouts such evil, ignorant, insulting, fascist, lying tripe should keep far away from me, and from the poppy too. A reminder that people like Kemp are exactly who we have fought before, and we will never let their nastiness, their inadequacy and their hatred tear us apart. Nor will people, such as pacifists, be cowed by Kemp's vile language.


@Ann Kelly

Yet you can show us no evidence of any such thing. It represents the enormous sacrifice of so many, and lets us remember that they should not have had to. That we should strive to make it so no-one has to die like the Fallen who we should commemorate died. That we promise to try and make their sacrifice not be in vain, to ensure their sacrifices teach us and prevent more bloodshed. I have never heard of the uses in which you claim it to be used, and since no evidence is offered...

I think the idea of the purple poppy is excellent, and can be worn proudly. I would hope you aren't using it just to spite white poppy wearers.


Ann Kelly said...

nparker: What part of "All victims of war" don't you understand? Haven't you heard of the perpetrators of the Holocaust as just one example??

Ann Kelly said...

nparker, I forgot to say about the comment of me wearing the purple poppy as spite: Grow up.

Poppycock said...

Ann Kelly 12:13 14:43
A good example of doublethink
Victimisers are Victims
Up there with
War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery

Putin, Assad and others have moved up a notch to triplethink

Anonymous said...

Poppycock at 10:39.

If so, there's still some way to go to catch up with the quadthink of, say, May, Johnson, Trump, Clinton, Macron, Berlusconi and all their media and banker chums across the world.