The great poppy debate has been raging for decades with the sight of the red poppy seemingly becoming more of a politically correct statement rather than being one of true meaning.
In recent years we have seen the BBC rush to ensure Huw Edwards was suitably attired with a Red Poppy after a member of the public complained halfway through a show that he had not put one on and another presenter, Jonathon Ross had a poppy superimposed on his suit so as to be sure not to upset anyone.
In Luton on Sunday 11th of November the peace poppy row exploded in a show of aggression by Kevin Carrol of the EDL and Police Commissioner Candidate for the town against a local peace campaigner and his son.
Peace campaigner Marc Scheimann press secretary to Luton TUC, attended with his four year old son Luton Remembrance Day outside Luton Town Hall by the War memorial, after the two minutes silence, religious speeches of commemorance the parade marched away, Marc & Kiran Scheimann approached the rear of the memorial to lay a white peace poppy wreath. Each year since 1989, Marc has laid a peace wreath to remember his German and British grand fathers who both lost their lives on the two opposing sides during the World War Two, the reason for why he wears a red and a white poppy.
For twenty four years Marc has respectfully done this with the understanding of the Luton public without any problem, until this year when English Defence League deputy & far right British Freedom Party candidate for the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commission, Kevin Carroll made the exception. Waving a clenched fist and using aggressive gesturing he shouted at Kevin before speaking to three police officers that he hopes to lead after the November 15th elections.
Two Officers approached Mark and requested his name, address and telephone number, which he gave. They asked Mark to step back for a moment because they felt he was causing breach of the peace by his actions. Mark stated that it was only a very small minority of the public shouting and they were all connected with Kevin Carroll. After a few minutes Mark and his son laid their peace reef flanked by two police officers. They asked him to leave straight away but stated he had the right to have time to pay his respect and talk to members of the council including our two MPs. Mark feared for the safety of his peace reef so stood close by it with the two officers, one at each side.
Kevin Carroll approached Mark pointing with a closed fist and pointed at the wreath laid by Mark and his son.
A twenty something woman suddenly made a grab for the wreath, shouting and made a grab to remove the wreath from the wires. Mark dived forward letting go of his sons’ hand to fall on the wreath preventing its’ theft whilst the officers took no action.
Mr Carroll seeing that his hopes had been thwarted stated shouting again saying many times over: “You’re just a scumbag, you and the Wakehams (fellow peace campaigners) hate troops.
“When I’m police commissioner, I will make sure you are locked up in jail for this."
Mark replied that he hoped Carroll would lose his deposit getting less than 5 % of the vote.
His actions and tirade clearly demonstrate if doubt ever existed that he does not just hate Muslims, but all people what ever the colour of their skin, who dare to hold an opinion different to his.
Is this the democracy that the people who we remember died for?