Each year the RSA raises money through its Red Poppy Appeal, one of the oldest nationwide appeals, because veterans and their families still need support. The red poppy is a sacred symbol of hope and remembrance and is worn with pride by most people during ANZAC Week. It was worn by nearly all those who attended the 11am service at the Waiheke RSA yesterday.
How sad then that one highly politicised group has chosen to piggyback their own appeal at this time. Worse still, they have chosen a white poppy as their symbol. White the colour of surrender as much as the colour of peace. It has been deliberately designed to dishonour our ANZAC heroes.
I have no problem with peace groups fundraising or raising awareness of their campaign. It is their right. Peace groups have plenty of recognisable symbols of their own including the white dove with olive branch, so the choice of a white poppy and timing of their appeal to coincide with ANZAC Day is deliberate, provocative (some might say belligerent) and unnecessary.
Sadly Michael Tavares, Waiheke’s Green Party convenor and representative of the absent Waiheke resident and hard left Green Party list MP Denise Roche at yesterday’s 11am service, chose to wear a white poppy.
This is what the editor of the Daily Telegraph had to say about the white poppy wearers at the UK Remembrance Day services.
At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, I am sure the thoughts of all Telegraph readers will be with those British and Commonwealth Service men and women who fell in the defence of our liberty.
But spare a thought, too, for the men and women of the White Poppy Appeal. And don't make it a kind thought. This wretched outfit "believes that there are better ways of solving conflicts than killing strangers". That is how they describe the sacrifice of British and Allied lives in the inescapable war against Nazi Germany and the Axis powers.
People who wear white poppies…. not only dishonour our war dead: they also assert their supposed moral superiority over the 40 million Britons who wear British Legion red poppies.
What should you do if you see a white poppy wearer today? At the very least – if I may borrow a phrase from my colleague Alan Cochrane – you should give them a cheery wave not involving the use of all your fingers.