Opinion: The Pantomime Villains of Politics

If believing in maintaining and respecting the traditions and values associated with the poppy appeal makes me a fascist; well then you can just go ahead, give me a dictator hat and call me Mussolini. And I will call you Stalin.

By Catherine Smyth

I am a C-word. A Conservative that is ! Perhaps a Capitalist at a push, certainly the opposite from a Communist. But I tend to keep that quiet. Just because there is something very un-noble about admitting it. It’s not the kind of thing you can wear on your sleeve. It might be mistaken for a swastika.
I would always describe myself as Conservative and not right wing, too many dark connotations. For some reason having left leaning political views is deemed quite forthright and righteous, but if you’re on the other side, you are something of a pantomime villain.
I suppose there is something fashionable about being a hard line leftie, certainly in Europe; occupying stuff, calling for things, reading the independent, berating Boris Johnson, quoting Marx, resenting the system and so on… Perhaps I would be better off in the US..
The amount of ignorance surrounding the vilification of the right is fairly staggering. You certainly don’t have to be a cold hearted, racist, nationalist, homophobic, islamophobic, xenophobic, sexist, wealthy, Nazi fat cat, you don’t even have to be a Daily Mail reader, but you would be surprised at the number of people that assume you are at least a few of those things. I do believe in resisting very radical change, and up holding traditions and values. I do believe in resisting a stifled politically correct culture. I do believe in free enterprise and private ownership, in promoting self help as opposed to government reliance, in recognising, not penalising hard work and competition. I do believe in justice, but not in legal intervention when someone gets their feelings hurt. And to top it off, I’m a good old fashioned patriot too. Just because, you know, I’m a malevolent and immoral kind of girl!
One term that I find terribly ignorant has been cropping up a lot in this past month. “Poppy Fascism” accompanied by a “you can’t force me to respect the war dead, so get off my back Adolf” attitude. It’s true, you can’t be forced to respect anything other than the rule of law which can be backed up by legitimate coercion. I am however conservative enough to believe that if you are an elected representative head of a student body, you should not turn down an invitation to lay a wreath on remembrance day on behalf of the students of London because you would rather remember socialists and poets instead, à la Dan Cooper, Vice president of the University of London student body. You should not ostentatiously refuse to observe your offices two minutes of silence and you should not burn poppies. Having said that, I do not advocate the criminalisation of these acts, I just strongly believe that they should not be treated as noble or principled and should be treated like any other form of intolerance. A blog post about how the young men that died in World War One deserve no respect because they are war mongers etc, should be deemed as about as honorable an opinion as a blog post about how all immigrants deserve be repatriated because they are unBritish and a drain on the welfare system. If you no not want to wear a poppy, that is your choice, but very ostentatious disrespect for other people’s respect is not acceptable.
At the end of the day, the poppy appeal is about remembrance. What is the
alternative? Forgetting?

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