Just passed a young guy selling poppies at King's Cross tube station, with the words: 'Poppies! Getcher poppies! All profits go to the armed forces!'
Er... no. No no no. To an armed forces charity. That's probably an important difference. I mean, it's not that I'm such a hopeless leftie I don't think we should have an armed forces, or even that they should be adequately funded, but I do think maybe buying a symbolic representation of a Flanders Fields poppy to help get the Royal Tank Regiment a new Challenger 2 might be ever so slightly missing the point.
Or so I thought. The above is what I composed in my head between hearing the guy and getting to my computer, but to my shame I realised I couldn't remember who wrote 'In Flanders Fields'. I assumed, however, that it was one of the Owen / Brooke / Sassoon / Graves gang, and I was absolutely sure - it didn't even occur to me to doubt - that the sentiment was of the 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' variety. Not at all, as I'm sure everyone but me knows. 'In Flanders Fields' is by the Canadian John McCrae, and ends:
Those don't sound to me like the words of a man who'd be unhappy if we all chipped in for a tank.
(The tattered remains of my original point still just about stand, though. That's not what we're doing, and I'm glad about that.)