Wearing a poppy was a pledge of peace. Now it serves to sanitise war.
What an irony it will be when at 11 o’clock on Remembrance Sunday, British troops on war exercises find themselves wearing poppies and listening to The Last Post as they face Russian troops across eastern Europe.
The current buildup of forces by Nato and Russia in eastern Europe is frighteningly reminiscent of the military escalation before the first world war. Either side, at any moment, could find a pretext to turn a dangerous standoff into a fullblown conflict.
Despite the extensive recent retelling of the history of the 1914 war and detailed analysis of its causes, governments appear to have learned nothing. There have been warnings that we may even be on the brink of a third world war.