The Nolan Show: Jeffrey gets caught in the coils of a poppy.


It never stops, you know. This is March and this morning I was the Nolan Show  talking about The Poppy. The topic wouldn’t have popped up except that one of the new councils has members who don’t see why, if the poppy is sold on the premises, the Easter lily shouldn’t also be sold. Or better still, neither – a neutral space.

Jeffrey Donaldson was on with me and he emphasised that the poppy was a symbol of remembrance and respect for those who fought alongside or in the British armed forces during World War One. Oh, and that many nationalists from the south of Ireland had fought and died in British uniform during WW1. And that the poppy was a non-political symbol and was embraced by “the great majority of people in this country”.

I found it hard to disagree with Jeffrey on any of this except that last sentence. The poppy is indeed an honoured symbol for unionists here but not for nationalists and republicans. Yes, tens of thousands of nationalists died fighting in the British army during WWI, but they did so in the mistaken belief that John Redmond was right when he told them joining up would result in Home Rule after the war. As to it being a non-political symbol: I can still remember a poppy seller coming to our door when I was a child and being politely turned away. The great majority of nationalists and republicans recognise that the poppy is what Jeffrey says, only a lot more as well: it is to honour those who fought in the British armed forces during WWI and in all conflicts since that time. Jeffrey sort of jooked  away from that one and you can see why. If you didn’t think Bloody Sunday was a good idea or that the Ballymurphy Massacre was a good idea or sundry acts of collusion by the British army here during the recent conflict were a good idea, you’d be unlikely to want to wear a poppy that indicates support for the same army that’d been involved in these events.

But then Jeffrey dug a a very big hole and jumped into it. In his eagerness to confine discussion to WW1, he made the  mistake of saying that the poppy was for all those who died in conflict, not just the British army. Well. Old Stephen was onto him like a rat up a drainpipe: “Are you saying, Jeffrey, that the poppy represents the Nazis?”  The sound of Jeffrey stumbling and digging in that hole he’d created could be heard all the way to Lisburn.

Check it out – it’s the first thirty minutes. There’s even a man who calls in and manages to prove himself a liar. Some days, you know, that Nolan Show can make educational listening.

15 Responses to The Nolan Show: Jeffrey gets caught in the coils of a poppy.

  1. Am Ghobsmacht March 4, 2015 at 4:50 pm #

    Can’t-see-the-wood-for-the-trees-unionism strikes again.

    There are no end of places that sell the poppy.

    If I was a unionist politician I’d quietly ask the legion/Haig Fund for poppy sales to be quietly withdrawn from places like council buildings and suggest that a willing volunteer sell them nearby e.g. should I decide that I absolutely positively need a poppy whilst ranting at the planning permission people then I could run outside and buy one off a street vendor.

    Done deal; no poppies, no lilies and the availability of them is unaffected for anyone who wishes to buy them

    If Jeffrey sticks to his guns on this one he’ll find Easter Lillies for sale today and dear knows what else in 40 years time once the historical whitewashing job is further advanced.

    I’d happily nip it in the plastic bud.

  2. PeadarW March 4, 2015 at 5:04 pm #

    My grandfather like many Irish men fought for the British in WW1,was left for dead only to be rescued thankfully,he lived with a scar on his chest the size of my fist…the thanks he got was to be burnt out of Bombay Street in 69 by a rabid loyalist mob waving whats euphemistically called the “union flag”.
    When it comes to poppies and rememberence of britains sordid and violent past fact and truth has been replaced by romanticism and lies.

  3. Freddy Mallins March 4, 2015 at 5:24 pm #

    I heard part of it, Jude but could bear no more of Jeffrey’s sanctimony. I buy a poppy every year because I do feel sorry for all those young men who died in France. It was a god awful sacrifice, but I never wear the poppy that I purchase. It remains in my drawer at work. It’s by no means the perfect way to deal with things but it’s the way I feel most comfortable.

    • Jude Collins March 4, 2015 at 5:45 pm #

      You’re obviously a decent and fair-minded man, Freddy – perhaps putting the rest of us to shame.

  4. Perkin Warbeck March 4, 2015 at 5:58 pm #

    Woof Justice

    Jeff’s wee retriever mutt has ears so floppy
    He barks at Croppies inclined to be stroppy
    Like King Billy
    Loathes e-Lilly
    Wears each year -soon all year- the poppy.

  5. Sherdy March 4, 2015 at 6:33 pm #

    Jude, you were filibustered!
    I have advised you before – for the sake of your self-respect – stay well clear of that ignoramus Nolan.
    Wee Jeff has acquired the art of non-stop speech without stopping for breath, and once he starts, he is very difficult to stop, not that Nolan ever tries to stop him.
    Then George from the Shankill called in, and it transpires, he got more air time than you who were invited on, presumably to speak, but when you tried to answer Jeff, Nolan went to another caller and then ended the debate.
    The money collected on poppy days goes to benefit the British soldiers who murdered so many people, and gave so many others a hellish time here in our own country.
    The idea of paying money to benefit those, who probably include UDR and Irish Rangers members, is totally reprehensible, and for unionists to think we have forgotten the damage done by their military, they must think we have very short memories.
    Again, they think only their flags, symbols, culture and practices are the only ones with any validity.
    Changes are coming, and such slow learners will find the future difficult.

  6. michael c March 4, 2015 at 6:38 pm #

    Nolan is severely compromised by the poppy.He and every BBC journalist on TV wears one and thus remember all British soldiers from all conflicts.The next time he grills Barry McElduff about the offence caused by remembering “killers” and goes on to describe “men ,woman and children being blown to bits”, perhaps someone will remind him that he and his colleagues remember the British army killers of millions.

  7. paddykool March 4, 2015 at 6:43 pm #

    Although Jeffrey actually sucked all the air out of his own argument, he still has a point about the childrens’ playpark. Sinn Fein should have avoided that home- goal, entirely , instead of giving their detractors a stick to beat them with …they need to neutralise this kind of nonsense for the sake of a republican future.There is no future by constantly creating rows… The unionists have been making hay with that one for a while now.
    That said , there is no doubt that the poppy has been grabbed by unionism as a symbol, not just of britishness but of unionism too.That makes it a symbol of division in a divided society , whether we like it or not …just as naming the playpark was a divisive act too ..No question. no ifs. No buts. We can’t have it both ways. The banning of selling any symbols in a council designated for everyone and every creed , in that divided place is a right one then.Either all symbols or none.
    The caller ,Harold, of course ,claimed the poppy as his symbol too .He figured his freedom was being eroded because the poppy was representative of him and his unionist community and their adherence to Britain. Jeffrey is saddled with all of this of course…. even the poppy representing the fallen Nazis of the second world war …..trying to square a circle. Jeffrey can’t have it both ways either.

  8. Iolar March 4, 2015 at 7:17 pm #

    Do not mention the war, or collusion.

    Jobs are at risk. Public services are at risk. There is no money for routine maintenance of roads. In 2011 it was revealed that Kleshna, one of two businesses selling its own poppies on the British Legion website, gives only 10% of its sales to charity. The price of medication is now under the microscope, and another sham battle is being fought out over the poppy. Sham fight, yes as within seconds a caller cut to the chase when he said,

    “They got rid of the B Specials, the RUC and the UDR…”

    I thought we were discussing the poppy. The most recent allegations made on ‘Spotlight’ (3.3.15) concerning collusion would appear to confirm that getting rid of discredited security personnel was no bad thing. The broadcast continued with Mr Donaldson speaking for everyone who lives in Lisburn,

    “There is no need to sell the Easter Lily in Lisburn…no one in Lisburn wants them…”, retorted Jeffrey.

    Raymond McCreesh, go ndéana Dia trócaire air and the Irish language also featured in this broadcast about the poppy.

    The Irish Tricolour and the Union flag were on display when The President of Ireland met with Queen Elizabeth. That was leadership. When individuals and groups squabble over flags and poppies, it suits elected representatives as their political careers are grounded on the principle of divide and conquer, careers that thrived and continue to thrive on the hidden hand of British intelligence (?), the partial administration of justice and inequality. If anyone remains in doubt, consider the amount of time well paid politicians have devoted to the naming of a park in the past week. I guess it means they may avoid addressing complex social and economic issues. No votes there.

  9. michael c March 4, 2015 at 10:32 pm #

    Jude, I am not very computer literate but maybe you could access Danny Morrison on Twitter and go to “Britain- a state in denial ” and let people see why it might be ok to refuse to wear a poppy.It outlines the horrors inflicted on thousands of people by the Brits in the 1950s in Kenya.

  10. RJC March 4, 2015 at 10:34 pm #

    Priorities to the fore as ever with the DUP. Whilst Jeffrey and his cronies get red faced and apoplectic about plastic poppies, another generation of Protestant boys underachieve at secondary school leaving many in our society with little hope and fewer opportunities.

    Máirtín Ó Muilleoir highlighted this issue recently – if anybody can point me towards a DUP member doing similar I’ll be heartened to read about it. Is there anybody within the DUP who possesses an ounce of statesmanship, wisdom or even common sense? This is getting ridiculous.

  11. Antonio March 5, 2015 at 12:15 am #

    My Grand father fought in world war 2 saving that lot over there from ze Germans. 25 years later the same army burst into his home and grabbed two of his sons and put them in jail for 18 months with out charge or trial or conviction.

    So Jeffrey shove your poppy where the sun don’t shine

  12. ANOTHER JUDE March 5, 2015 at 12:59 am #

    I listened to the `debate` and got the impression that the big man turned your volume down whenever you tried to speak, anyone listening in would think Nationalists were a tiny little minority, not half the population of the six and a majority of the whole country. The basic premise of the Unionists was that the poppy is good (because it is sponsored by the ROYAL British Legion) loads of `good` Catholics died in the (totally pointless and stupid) war, (because it was on BRITAIN`S side) and because some in the unfree state deem it appropriate to lickspittle their Brit masters the uppity northern rebels should follow suit. No chance. I detest the poppy, I detest all it stands for and to paraphrase the late Kieran Nugent POW, the only way I would wear one is if you nailed it on me.

  13. Ryan March 5, 2015 at 3:23 am #

    When it comes to the poppy I believe and, crucially, accept that Unionists have the right to wear the poppy. But I also expect the same acceptance from Unionism that I and many others have the right to wear the Easter Lily.

    When it comes to selling poppies and Easter Lily’s on council property it is only fair that both are available to be bought or none at all. Its the same on the issue of flags, the policy of both flags (Union flag and the Irish Tricolour being displayed/flown respectfully) or no flags at all (neutrality) is the best policy and the way to go.

  14. fiosrach March 5, 2015 at 1:26 pm #

    I had an elderly female relative who used to buy a poppy every year from the hawkers. It was consigned to a drawer and thrown out later. I asked her why she did it and she said that she didn’t want to offend her Protestant neighbours!!! Imagine that situation reversed?