I refer to your article in CDB regarding the decision of McLean not to wear a poppy in the recent game against Everton. While your article sought to highlight the sensitivities underlying such a decision I fear it overlooked key aspects. Firstly and fundamentally those who died in the Great War and the 2nd World War did so to preserve fundamental freedoms including the right of free speech and expression. James McLean was exercising that right as much as any of the thousands who chose to wear the poppy. Secondly, but I suspect first and foremost in the mind of Mr Maclean, the poppy , so long as symbol of those who died at the Somme, has in the last 10 years been promoted as a symbol of the British Army in all its endeavours including needless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. While I would be proud as an Irish man to wear a poppy in memory of those who gave up their lives in order to preserve European democracy I would be horrified to think that such a gesture would be interpreted as being support for the wholly undemocratic campaigns being waged by successive British governments in the recent past. I suspect that Mr Mclean, as your article suggests, has good reason to disassociate himself with such campaigns particularly those whose sole objective is to defend and maintain an imperial presence in a territory where he sought to eke out an existence despite horrific discrimination inspired by raw bigotry.
For you information I chose not to wear a poppy but, on the 11th of November, I did stand by the grave of my uncle who gave his life in the in 1917.