Warning: This post was published more than 10 years ago.
I keep old posts on the site because sometimes it's interesting to read old content. Not everything that is old is bad. Also, I think people might be interested to track how my views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have mellowed and matured!
But given the age of this post, please bear in mind:
- My views might have changed in the 10 years since I wrote this post.
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Many thanks for your understanding.
Jon Snow, on Channel 4 News, won’t (he hasn’t in years):
I do not believe in wearing anything which represents any kind of statement … I am begged to wear an Aids Ribbon, a breast cancer ribbon, a Marie Curie flower… You name it, from the Red Cross to the RNIB, they send me stuff to wear to raise awareness, and I don’t. And in those terms, and those terms alone, I do not and will not wear a poppy.
I agree that newscasters shouldn’t wear all sorts of political or charitable adornments. The news studio is not the place for us to declare our commitment to fighting breast cancer or declaring we want to make poverty history by wearing ribbons or wristbands … But I think poppies are different. They are so ubiquitous for the first 11 days of November that not wearing one makes more of statement than having one on … I know Jon Snow has one on in the office – or in the street. But viewers who don’t see him in real life don’t know that. Many assume he’s taking a stand against militarism or the Iraq war. And so I think if we don’t wear a poppy we raise more questions about our personal beliefs than we do if we pin one on.
I have to say I lean more towards Snow’s point of view. I don’t see the point of institutional edicts, like the BBC’s, that state that all presenters must wear a poppy: Surely that’s no more meaningful than none wearing one. For entertainment presenters, I think it should be a matter of personal choice. But if we’re banning all manner of other symbols for news presenters, then why keep the poppy – its no less a symbol of a personal opinion than a cross, after all.