From: Pat Davey, former Sheffield city councillor and opposition deputy leader (Conservative)
I AM responding to Sheffield’s Lord Mayor Magid Magid’s decision to wear a white poppy on Remembrance Sunday (The Yorkshire Post, November 12) as a member of the British Legion who comes from a family who lost at least three close relatives – all regular time-serving soldiers – in the Great War and a further two in the Second World War.
My mother never knew her brave father who was killed on July 1, 1916, when she was just five months old.
I, and no one that I know in the Royal British Legion, would insist that anyone should be compelled to wear the red poppy.
It is a symbol of peace, it is a symbol of hope, those of us who wear it wear it to remember the sacrifices made by those who fought to preserve our freedom and our way of life – thus giving us the very freedom to wear or not to wear the red poppy of remembrance for those who were unselfish enough to die for us to have that right.
But the red poppy of Remembrance is non-political, unlike the white poppy, and the monies donated for a red poppy go to the benefit of service personnel or ex-service personnel and their dependants who need assistance in a variety of ways.
I, personally, find the white poppy offensive and an insult to the memory of my family members and all the other men and women who died.
But a Lord Mayor is different; during his or her year of office they do not, when representing the citizens of Sheffield, have the right to make a political statement – particularly one in which he manages to offend many thousands of our citizens at a time like this.
He was at the Cenotaph to lay a wreath on behalf of all our citizens and to lead the city’s remembrance to all our citizens who offered their lives for him as well as the rest of us.
As such he should have left his politics behind for one hour, behaved with dignity, led the city’s mourning and not played party politics.
This insult to our city’s dead of two world wars and numerous other conflicts by Sheffield’s leading Green Party politician sits rather oddly with their stance regarding replacing diseased and dangerous memorial trees doesn’t it?
Yes Councillor Magid you are free to wear your white poppy when you are ‘off duty’ – these men bought that right for you – but not when you are there in your official capacity.