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James Fox

Published On


Page Range

pp. 21-30

Print Length

9 pages

2. Poppy Politics: Remembrance of Things Present

  • James Fox (author)
In November 2011 a scandal was ignited when FIFA (the international football governing body) refused to allow the English football team to wear remembrance poppies on their shirts for a match against Spain. FIFA had long enforced a universal ban on the wearing of political symbols during its games, but under intense pressure from both the government and the Royal Family it finally relented. British lobbyists had argued that the poppy was a 'universal symbol of remembrance', and had no political, religious or commercial connotations. This essay will explore the origins and development of Britain's rituals of remembrance, and will argue that the poppy is far less neutral than its supporters had claimed. It will show that in fact the poppy had deeply political associations that legitimised the conflict that they ostensibly seemed to condemn.


James Fox