Fake Poppies and the
English Defence League
|EDL poppy badge|
Oh Dear! I was never intending this blog to get political. OK, I may take a pop at the local council from time to time, that's what they are here for after all. But I am going to make an exception for the English Defence League. (EDL).
In the couple of weeks leading up to Remembrance Day you will generally find me out and about with my tray of poppies and other knick-knacks raising money for the Royal British Legion (RBL). This year however, I have found a number of people sporting metal poppy badges with various slogans on them. It seems that others have jumped onto the bandwagon, deciding this is a good little earner and are producing their own fake variety.
|Fake poppy badge|
All the profit from the badges I was selling goes towards RBL projects.
|Genuine RBL poppy badge|
Ebay is also full of sellers offering such treats along with others carrying slogans which I do not intend to display here. I have spoken to many of those wearing fake badges who genuinely believed that the money they paid was going to the RBL and were surprised to discover that the sellers were either keeping the money for themselves or passing it on to what can sometimes be extremist political groups. I can understand why some people would be attracted to buying these, the messages are highly emotive and they might think they are making a valid protest but they should also consider where their donation is going to finish up.
I have always argued that fanatics on opposite sides of any debate, be it political, religious or other, often have more in common with each other that either of them have with 'normal people'. At least, the swivel eyed Islamist nut jobs buy genuine poppy wreaths to burn, thereby donating their money to a good cause. This is more than can be said for organisations like the EDL who con people into believing their donation will somehow help our armed forces but keep the money themselves.
Many of the sellers on Ebay are genuine and selling products for local groups with the money going where it should but you should be very careful before buying and take the time to check the credentials of those selling. The best way to avoid being mislead is to only buy RBL products from their own website here.
Joined up Government
While we are on the subject of politics, I have just read an article on the BBC News Website about how HMRC are going to be targeting employers who use internships as a way of paying employees below the minimum wage or even nothing at all.
The best way for employers to get around the tiresome bother of having to pay staff wages is to sign up for the DWP Mandatory Work Activity Scheme. The local Jobcentre will then send them people who will have to work up to 30 hours a week and the employer doesn't have to pay them anything at all. The DWP tries to claim that most of these jobs are working in some sort of community project. It also says that 'However the work can also include activity that generates a profit for the employer, as long as there is a clear community benefit'. Stacking shelves in Poundland is of course one of those activities.
The Grassy Knoll
We are coming up to the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F Kennedy which occurred on the 22nd of November 1963.
I can remember exactly when I heard about it so, as I am told, can everyone of my generation. I was 14 years old and waiting for friends to come knocking and we would all head off to our school for what was called 'Radio Class'.
|John F Kennedy 1917 - 1963|
I suppose my first feeling was one of disbelief. It was perhaps my first real introduction to the grown-up world where I realised that I could be affected by world events. Only a year earlier, the Cuban missile crisis had largely passed me by.
Over the years, the conspiracy theorists have had a field day where it has been claimed that he was killed by the CIA, the Mafia, Trade Unionists, the Russians, the Cubans, Drug Gangs and the Flying Saucer People. It has even been suggested that he was shot by a lunatic lone gunman with a mail order rifle but that idea is too ridiculous for words.
|Proper Daleks, not multi-coloured ones|
Which leads me on the next 50th anniversary - Doctor Who. Now I can remember exactly where I was when this first came on the TV.
I was sitting on the floor of our living room with my little brother; we were sitting in front of the fire on a rug that we had made ourselves from a mesh frame and little balls of wool cut to size. I can't remember the programme that preceded it but I remember the announcer saying, "and now, Doctor Who.
Monday morning at school and the world was divided between those who had seen it and those who hadn't. Those who had couldn't stop talking about it and it seemed this was repeated all over the country as the BBC repeated the first episode again the following week, such was the demand. No 'On Demand' or video recorders in those days; if you missed it, you missed it. Since then there have been science fiction films with warp drives, death rays, transporters and deadly aliens but no-one, absolutely no-one has ever had a box that was bigger on the inside than the outside and the first time I saw it, I was totally gobsmacked.
|Carol Ann Ford & William Hartnell|
Susan Foreman & The Doctor
William Hartnell was my Doctor Who and was easily the best. Sinister and genuinely alien. I have never been very comfortable with the Messianic style of the latest ones. I prefer the original Daleks, too, proper scary; these multi-coloured ones look like they just fell out of a Christmas Cracker. And whatever happened to Susan? It would be nice to see how she fared after she was left on Earth.
Another Political Statement
For all of those poppy burning bigots and their equally fanatical opponents, here is another chance for you to show your hatred of Britain.
Forget poppy burning, now is your opportunity to show your utter contempt for Britain with this offering from Sainsbury's.
Take the Union Jack, our National flag and the principal symbol of our country, then throw it on the floor where you and your friends can show your contempt by wiping your feet on it. To be fair, you can also buy the same thing from Tesco, where it will 'clean the dirt off the soles of your shoes' and Debenham's who apparently think it will 'add a touch of charm to your room' Invading armies the world over use captured enemy flags in this way so why not do the same with ours? Perhaps they will bring out a toilet roll as well. Actually, one with a picture of Lord Sainsbury's face on it would be good.
p.s. yes I know that it can also be called the 'Union Flag' but either can be used or none at all, just calling it the 'British Flag'. See here if you don't believe me.