A third of 18 to 24-year-olds are likely to shun wearing the poppy this year, as a growing number of young people say the Remembrance Day appeal “glorifies war”.
While four out of five people in Britain overall will wear poppies this year, support for the Royal British Legion’s annual appeal seems to be waning among the nation’s youth, according to research by Consumer Intelligence.
More than one in five 18 to 24-year-olds told researchers they will not be taking part in the appeal, which raises around £43 million each year for service personnel and veterans, and a further one in 10 people under 25 said they are unsure if they will or not.
Overall, just 11 per cent of the wider public said they will not be wearing the poppy, with 9 per cent of respondents unsure.
While the most common reason for refusing to support the campaign was the belief that people are bullied into wearing the poppy, the study found that young people rejecting the appeal will do so because they feel it “glorifies war”, or they object to current military action carried out by the armed forces.
There was evidence in the research which suggested some opponents of the Poppy Appeal have been targeting its supporters for abuse, with one in 12 respondents having experienced hostility for wearing a poppy.
A further one in 20 parents said they would not want their children to sport a poppy, as it could attract negative attention from people who object to the remembrance of Britain’s war dead.
Ian Hughes, chief executive of Consumer Intelligence said: “The Poppy Appeal commands widespread support and raises huge sums but not everyone agrees with it or backs it.”
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A Royal British Legion spokesman said: “We take the view that the poppy represents the sacrifices and contributions our Armed Forces community have made in the defence of freedom and so the decision to wear it must be a matter of personal choice.
“If the poppy became compulsory it would lose its meaning and significance.
“The Legion will always defend the rights of individuals who choose not to wear a poppy, and we oppose those who attempt to coerce or criticise people who make this personal choice.
“We are thankful for every poppy worn, every shop that allows poppy collections, and every employer that permits the poppy to be displayed, and we ask that those who wear a poppy have that choice respected.”
Earlier this week, Breitbart London reported on the brutal beating of a Pakistani Christian in Derby, who said his Muslim assailants were triggered into launching the assault after they were angered by the poppies and cross he displayed in his car.
Slammed as “racist” in the Independent last year, the poppy has become controversial in some circles in Britain, especially on the political left and among Islamists — with the latter group having previously protested at Remembrance Day ceremonies, burned poppies, and urged fellow Muslims to reject the Royal British Legion’s appeal.