Poppy wars are a seasonal distraction from the horrors of today

Theresa May should worry less about FIFA and more about governing


Every year at around this time, some row or other flares up around Remembrance Day and the wearing of poppies.

Sometimes the rows involve poppy-burning Islamists, sometimes the fealty of a news anchor to the national mood. Any such fracas is guaranteed space in the country’s newspapers and emotive consensus across parties.

So it was with Theresa May’s attack on FIFA today for not letting footballers wear poppy armbands on November 11.

Leave aside how welcome a distraction this is for a PM who frankly has bigger carp to cook, what with the country taking a jump off the Brexit cliff with no plan or public scrutiny.

How brave is it really, and how attuned to the lessons of history, to engage in petty culture wars at a time of rising nationalism, the worst refugee crisis since WWII, and mass death by bombs, torture and chemical weapons in Syria?

This posy nonsense would be trashed as ‘virtue signalling’ by the same hacks eager to second the Prime Minister if it didn’t conform to their own pieties. But yet again May is taking her cues from the very papers she knows will review her performance. How clever.

People are entitled to their views on poppies. FIFA is presumably entitled to set a dress code for its games. (Though I’d love to hear the argument all those corporate adverts on uniforms and stadiums are ‘not political’.)

Politicians, meanwhile, should get on with governing, and should be ridiculed every time they try to change the subject from their actual duties to sport and commemorative badges.

Adam Barnett is staff writer for Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter @AdamBarnett13 

See: Is Theresa May running a government or a Daily Mail column?

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