I refuse to buy a poppy. While I am prepared to admit this fact in a letter, I would hesitate to state this fact in public – and therein lies the problem.

To present some context: I had grandparents from the First World War generation who were part of my life until they died in my teens. My father fought in the Second World War in various campaigns from Africa to Europe and rarely chose to talk about the things he had witnessed. The prevailing view that I learnt from both generations was that war was tragic, no one wins and everything should be done to avoid another one.

If the poppy symbolised these views and reflected that conclusion, I would be at the front of the queue to buy one, but presently I do not feel that it does.

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To my mind, the poppy is used as a symbol of patriotic/nationalistic remembrance and is openly linked with the pomp and pageantry of militarism. People in public life and the media are clearly compelled to wear one – to refuse to do so is practically treasonous.

I do not doubt the motives of the many who choose to wear the poppy, but having been at public events where ignorant young people have chanted “we won the war” and sung songs about shooting down German planes, I feel that we should look at everything in our society that fuels this malignant, ill-informed view of history.

The millions who died in the trenches in the First World War lost. The millions of all nations who died in the Second World War lost. “We will remember them” and should never forget. But we don’t need to do with through the poppy. 

John Dillon
Birmingham

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1/51 6 November 2019

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2/51 5 November 2019

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South Africa players celebrate after beating Wales in their Rugby World Cup semi-final match. The Springboks will face England in next Saturday’s final following fly-half Handre Pollard’s match-winning penalty four minutes from time. The match ended 19-16

12/51 26 October 2019

Participants from Thailand pose in front of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall as they take part in the annual gay pride parade in Taipei. Some two hundred thousand revellers marched through Taipei in a riot of rainbow colours and celebration as Taiwan held its first pride parade since making history in Asia by legalising gay marriage

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18/51 20 October 2019

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19/51 19 October 2019

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People run to take cover after mortars fired from Syria, in Akcakale, Turkey. An Associated Press journalist said at least two government buildings were hit by the mortars in Sanliurfa province’s border town of Akcakale and at least two people were wounded

29/51 9 October 2019

Policemen climb over a wall close to the site of a shooting where at least two people were killed at multiple locations in Germany, including near a synagogue in the city of Halle

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A devotee dressed as the Hindu deity Maha Kali performs during Navratri festival celebrations in Ajmer in Rajasthan state, India

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A gust of wind lifts the cassock of Pope Francis during the weekly general audience at St.Peter’s square in the Vatican

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Protesters clash with an Iraqi riot police vehicle during a demonstration against state corruption and poor services in Baghdad

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A student protester throws a burning stick at riot police officers during a clash in Jakarta, Indonesia

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43/51 25 September 2019

Participants dressed in traditional attire pose for pictures during rehearsals for Garba, a folk dance, in preparations for the upcoming Navratri, a festival during which devotees worship the Hindu goddess Durga, in Ahmedabad, India

44/51 24 September 2019

A protester fires at riot police during university students’ protest outside the Indonesian Parliament in Jakarta

45/51 23 September 2019

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An anti-government protester sets a fire during a rally outside the Mong Kok police station in Hong Kong

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A pedestrian walks by an advertising installation for the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup in Oita, on the eve of the start of the tournament
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1/51 6 November 2019

Activists from India’s main opposition Congress party shout slogans as they are stopped by police during a protest against what the activists say is economic slowdown in the country, in Guwahati, India

2/51 5 November 2019

Smoke rises from a fire in downtown Lagos, Nigeria. Firefighters worked hard to try and extinguish a fire at the Balogun market. Thick black smoke and flames shot from the five-story buildings as fire trucks attempted to get access

3/51 4 November 2019

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4/51 3 November 2019

Riot police descend an escalator inside the City Plaza mall in Hong Kong after a bloody knife fight wounded six people there. A local pro-democracy politician had his ear bitten off during another chaotic day of political unrest in the city

5/51 2 November 2019

People participate in the celebration of the ‘muerteadas de Jalapa del Valle’, as part of the Day of the Dead in Mexico
Firefighters work to control flames from a backfire during the Maria fire in Santa Paula, California

7/51 31 October 2019

Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights, over the Vestrahorn mountain in the east of Iceland

8/51 30 October 2019

A model presents a creation at the show Heaven Gaia by Xiong Ying during the China Fashion Week in Beijing. The fashion event runs from 25 October to 2 November

9/51 29 October 2019

Hindu devotees collect rice as offerings on ‘Annakut’ or ‘Govardhan Puja’ festival at the Madan Mohan temple in Kolkata. People in large numbers gather at the temple to collect the rice offerings in the belief that it will keep them in good health and they’ll never face poverty or scarcity of food

10/51 28 October 2019

Authorities investigate after a Port Authority bus was caught in a sinkhole in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

11/51 27 October 2019

South Africa players celebrate after beating Wales in their Rugby World Cup semi-final match. The Springboks will face England in next Saturday’s final following fly-half Handre Pollard’s match-winning penalty four minutes from time. The match ended 19-16

12/51 26 October 2019

Participants from Thailand pose in front of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall as they take part in the annual gay pride parade in Taipei. Some two hundred thousand revellers marched through Taipei in a riot of rainbow colours and celebration as Taiwan held its first pride parade since making history in Asia by legalising gay marriage

13/51 25 October 2019

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A fire lorry speeds towards a rampant wildfire near Geyserville, California

15/51 23 October 2019

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A convoy of US vehicles is seen after withdrawing from northern Syria, on the outskirts of Dohuk, Iraq

18/51 20 October 2019

Japan players go over to thank their fans after South Africa beat them in the quarter-final of the Rugby World Cup. Makazole Mapimpi double ended the hosts’ dreams in Tokyo 3-26. The Springboks will now face Wales in the semi-finals for a place in the final

19/51 19 October 2019

Archaeologists remove the cover of an ancient painted coffin discovered at Al-Asasif Necropolis in the Vally of Kings in Luxor, Egypt

20/51 18 October 2019

A protester throws a tire on a fire to block the highway north of Beirut, Lebanon. Protesters, mainly civil activists, started demonstrating in the downtown area on 17 October, condemning proposed taxes in the 2020 budget. An unexpected addition to impose a daily fee for using WhatsApp calls caused outrage. However, according to the Telecommunications Minister Mohamed Choucair, the charge will not make it through the government palace after the impact it has made on the streets

21/51 17 October 2019

Children watch as army tanks are transported on trucks in the outskirts of the town of Akcakale, in Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, at the border of Syria
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un riding a white horse amongst the first snow at Mouth Paektu

23/51 15 October 2019

Protesters create a burning barricade after the Supreme Court in Madrid handed lengthy prison sentences to nine of the detained Catalonian leaders for up to 13 years each

24/51 14 October 2019

Protestors light their torches during a peaceful rally in central Hong Kong’s business district. The protests that started in June over a now-shelved extradition bill have since snowballed into an anti-China campaign amid anger over what many view as Beijing’s interference in Hong Kong’s autonomy that was granted when the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997

25/51 13 October 2019

Japan players celebrate victory after beating Scotland 28-21 to reach the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup for the first ever time. The hosts head coach Jamie Joseph paid tribute to those who lost their lives in Typhoon Hagibis

26/51 12 October 2019

Surging waves generated by typhoon Hagibis hit the seashore in Mihama, Mie Prefecture, Japan. Hagibis is the strongest storm to hit in six decades and battered the country’s main island with torrential rain and violent winds

28/51 10 October 2019

People run to take cover after mortars fired from Syria, in Akcakale, Turkey. An Associated Press journalist said at least two government buildings were hit by the mortars in Sanliurfa province’s border town of Akcakale and at least two people were wounded

29/51 9 October 2019

Policemen climb over a wall close to the site of a shooting where at least two people were killed at multiple locations in Germany, including near a synagogue in the city of Halle

30/51 8 October 2019

This multi-exposure picture shows USA’s Simone Biles performing on the beam during the women’s team final at the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Stuttgart
Extinction Rebellion activists block an intersection in Melbourne, Australia

32/51 6 October 2019

Protesters hold smoke grenades as they gather in central Kiev to demand broader autonomy for separatist territories, part of a plan to end a war with Russian-backed fighters
Anti-government protesters rush to an injured man during a demonstration in Baghdad, Iraq
Footage of a hugely rare polka dot zebra has been captured in Kenya. The foal was photographed in the Maasai Mara National Reserve

35/51 3 October 2019

A devotee dressed as the Hindu deity Maha Kali performs during Navratri festival celebrations in Ajmer in Rajasthan state, India

36/51 2 October 2019

A gust of wind lifts the cassock of Pope Francis during the weekly general audience at St.Peter’s square in the Vatican

37/51 1 October 2019

Protesters clash with an Iraqi riot police vehicle during a demonstration against state corruption and poor services in Baghdad

38/51 30 September 2019

A student protester throws a burning stick at riot police officers during a clash in Jakarta, Indonesia

39/51 29 September 2019

An anti-government protester wearing a mask depicting U.S. President Donald Trump is pushed away by riot police during a demonstration at Causeway Bay district in Hong Kong, China
A Japan fan smiles before the Japan v Ireland Rugby World Cup match in Shizuoka, Japan

41/51 27 September 2019

The Duke of Sussex walks through a minefield in Dirico, Angola, during a visit to see the work of landmine clearance charity the Halo Trust, on day five of the royal tour of Africa

42/51 26 September 2019

A policeman stands on a blocked road in Le Petit-Quevilly as smoke billows from a Lubrizol factory classified SEVESO high-threshold site. Residents of twelve towns including Rouen have been asked to stay at home after a fire broke out according to the prefect of Normandy

43/51 25 September 2019

Participants dressed in traditional attire pose for pictures during rehearsals for Garba, a folk dance, in preparations for the upcoming Navratri, a festival during which devotees worship the Hindu goddess Durga, in Ahmedabad, India

44/51 24 September 2019

A protester fires at riot police during university students’ protest outside the Indonesian Parliament in Jakarta

45/51 23 September 2019

Russia’s Soyuz-FG booster rocket with the Soyuz MS-15 space ship that will carry new crew to the International Space Station (ISS) is transported from its hangar to the launch pad at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. The new Soyuz mission is scheduled on 25 September with Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka, US astronaut Jessica Meir and United Arab Emirates astronaut Hazza Al Mansouri

46/51 22 September 2019

An anti-government protester sets a fire during a rally outside the Mong Kok police station in Hong Kong

47/51 21 September 2019

New Zealand players perform the haka before their opening Rugby World Cup match against South Africa in Japan. The All Blacks secured a 23-13 victory over their rivals

48/51 20 September 2019

Thousands of school students and protesters gather in The Domain ahead of a climate strike rally in Sydney. Millions of people around the world are taking part in protests demanding action on climate issues. The Global Strike For Climate is being held only days ahead of the scheduled United Nations Climate Change Summit in New York

49/51 19 September 2019

A pedestrian walks by an advertising installation for the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup in Oita, on the eve of the start of the tournament
Strong wind and waves roll in at Nordre Strandvej in Denmark

Jacob Rees-Mogg is the one with no common sense 

Has anyone suggested to Jacob Rees-Mogg that there’s actually nothing clever about trying to run down a stairwell filled with choking, toxic fumes?

Ian Hurdley
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It is common sense not to put flammable coatings on high-rise buildings.

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It is common sense to instal fire doors in high-rise buildings.

Mark Vaughn
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By pledging to make the UK carbon neutral by 2025 and 2030 respectively, the Green and Labour parties have demonstrated that they are a joke and not worthy of serious consideration when going to the polls. 

They appear to have no comprehension of the seismic changes that would be needed to make this a reality and have ignored the elephant in the room: it will ultimately make no difference, given that the UK is responsible for only 1 per cent of global CO2 emissions.

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Alison Hackett
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Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

Russian interference

I gather that Johnson’s government is refusing to publish the 50-page report into possible Russian interference in the UK’s 2016 Brexit referendum until after the general election, citing the need for the report to be extensively scrutinised for reasons of national security. One wonders whether this is, by any chance, the same government which was expected to scrutinise Johnson’s 110-page Brexit deal, with 125 pages of additional notes, in a mere three days.

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