Out on the road this morning, my heart was lifted by the sight of a posse of Vespas, the lead one carrying a flag bearing a poppy emblazoned on a white background. They deserved a salute at the very least. But wait. Our diversity commissars must find the scene disturbing to say the least. The microaggressions were legion. The red poppy on a white background, red on white, England and St George, the crusades – what is this but a celebration of whiteness? As for mods and vespas – think working class, skinhead, white supremacist – and the connection is plain to see. Ever seen a BAME on a Vespa? For that matter, ever seen a BAME Hell’s Angel? Nor have I.
Later in the morning, I walked with my youngest, who is a cub, to the assembly point for our local remembrance parade. What pride one feels to see the young cadets of all three services being martialled in for the parade and march past. Their officers and NCOs, some bemedalled, would pass muster on any regular parade ground. I was amused that the wreath laid by the local ladies’ bowls club took precedence over the wreath laid on behalf of the 8th Tank regiment. But we are all in this together. The address by the padre was outstanding. The woman next to me wiped away a tear. No well-intentioned mumbo jumbo about the poor, the disposed, the excluded and marginalised. We were here to remember those who had made the ultimate sacrifice.
But looking around, where were the BAME residents that throng the streets on all other days? Yes, there were a few – and it is good to see some black faces in the cadets. Maybe one will be a future Johnson Beharry. But the crowd is overwhelmingly white. The white English were out in force – the diverse British conspicuous by their absence. One might be back in the 1960s. Again, a disturbing scene to our diversity commissars and the craven political class who pander to their every whim, safe in the knowledge that their virtue signalling comes at no personal or cultural cost to their cosy lifestyles, or to their financial assets. Where is the diversity? So much symbolism that excludes ‘the other’. So many microaggressions. The prayer and references to Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross can hardly have helped matters.
Years ago, a Nigerian chieftain attended the service of remembrance at the Albert Hall and what he witnessed was curiously familiar. The tribe had gathered. There was the chief, there were the warriors, and here were the rituals of remembrance being enacted. The purpose was simple: to bind the tribe together. The emotion was more controlled, but it was the more powerful for that. He was deeply moved.
Walking home with my son, I followed two young naval cadets, both girls, accompanied by their parents. What pride they must feel.
Time surely to hit the enemy for six.
Long live the tribe.
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