Meanwhile, At The Tower Of London


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An cascade of ceramic poppies commemorating the dead of WW1 by ceramic artist Paul Cummins.

Entitled Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, the work (still under construction) will ultimately comprise 888,246 red ceramic flowers planted in the dry moat around the Tower Of London.

The final symbolic poppy will be planted on November 11th, at which point the display will end.


71 thoughts on “Meanwhile, At The Tower Of London

        1. Nigel

          What makes you say that an anti-imperialist struggle is incompatible with jingoism? The opposite is usually the case.

    1. Spaghetti Hoop

      The Brits have a tendency to ‘celebrate’ war and their role in it – but in fairness this artwork is commemorative and respectfully solemn. Great work. I’m involved in something similar in October over in Flanders.

      1. Steph

        I was in London last year for the first time since I was a kid. I was struck by the sheer number of war memorials. All beautiful, all respectful and all struck awe in me.

        But I can’t help but feel that at some point they should stop memorialising war and simply stop making war at all.

        1. H

          They certainly didn’t start either of the world wars which is what most of the commemorate o I think your comment is a bit harsh

          1. Spaghetti Hoop

            ‘Starting’, ‘winning’ and ‘losing’ are really insignificant words when discussing warfare.

      1. Helen

        empire apologists like you make me sick. you insult the memory of those men who died as cannonfodder.

        1. Don Pidgeoni

          Helen, given that you object to laying wreaths, public ceremonies and art installations commemorating the memory of WW1 soldiers, how do you propose we honour their memory in a non-jingoistic, non empire-apologist way?

          1. Helen

            after WWI, returning soldiers wore white poppies to protest the barbarity of the war. They delivered lectures stating that they had been sent out as cannonfodder. They held rallies, etc., calling for those who sent the boys out to be tried. We could easily frame a commemoration that doesn’t involve the British or Irish military establishment, but involves people who recognise how futile WWI was, how barbaric it was, and that would honour the men who died as cannonfodder.

          2. Don Pidgeoni

            None of those are suggestions of how to commemorate their memories.

            People already wear white poppies. There have been quite a few documentaries already about men sent off to war to die in a hole somewhere. And while you may not agree with them, things like this are seen by Joe Public as a recognition of the futility of war and the barbaric deaths of millions.

          3. Helen

            you trying wearing a white poppy on BBC or UTV or Sky News and see what will happen to you. Of course those are ideas to commemorate the men – we should hold commemorations, I agree, but it should involve the people, not the Duke of Kent and other empire supporting turds.

          4. Don Pidgeoni

            you trying wearing a white poppy on BBC or UTV or Sky News and see what will happen to you.

            I wouldn’t now but that’s because the poppy has become tied up with support for soldiers sent to Iraq and Afghanistan – NOT British foreign policy as you claim. It is all about support for the troops not the wars. I work in this area so I know what I am talking about.

            Of course those are ideas to commemorate the men – we should hold commemorations, I agree, but it should involve the people, not the Duke of Kent and other empire supporting turds.

            White poppies and lectures are already done as discussed. I am sure you would find some problem with these anyway. This event explicitly involves ‘the people’. There are no royals, no bigwigs, people are free to view it and come to their own opinions about it. Yes, they would have it somewhere big so it is eye-catching and makes it point so the Tower has been chosen. It is for the public and for tourists etc. Still you are against it for being “jingoistic” but have no other suggestions beyond what is already being done.

          5. jungleman

            @ Don. Support for the soldiers and support for the foreign policy are inextricably linked, no matter what way you look at it.

          6. Don Pidgeoni

            @jungle – nope. Maybe in America, where because of partisanship politics is much more black and white. But people in the UK aren’t. Support for the wars was never that high, particularly for Afghanistan, maybe for Iraq but that was because Saddam was the big villain so there was a clear aim. People are very very clear that they support the troops but not the wars.

          7. jungleman

            Yes, you are repeating that same rhetoric. But it doesn’t matter. Those are empty words. You cannot say “I don’t support the war, but I do hope my husband Joe Bloggs, the human killing machine, is successful over there”. It’s indirect support for the policy. I don’t expect you to agree with me, but surely you should be able to appreciate that many people will see it this way. Also, support for the Iraq invasion was not very high in USA and it very quickly became minority support after the invasion.

          8. jungleman

            I’m not telling you what you are thinking. As I said it is indirect support. You do not consciously support the foreign policy, but your support of the troops amounts indirect support. It’s like in criminal law mens rea: there is no intent, but there is recklessness.

          9. Don Pidgeoni

            I meant the public, not me.

            It is different. You may think its indirect but that is a level of association that is scrambling for links that are not there. Otherwise, how can you have support for British personnel which is through the roof and support for the missions that isnt?

          10. jungleman

            Scrambling for links that aren’t there?! They’re the guys going out doing the killing! They are a vehicle for the foreign policy. I would not work for the British military, not because of any Irish republican sentiment, but because I disagree utterly with British foreign policy. Are you really saying that if I become a cog in the wheel that I am not in some way complicit?

          11. Don Pidgeoni

            I am not talking about what you think jungleman, I am talking about what the public think.

          12. jungleman

            Well if the public don’t think the way I do on this, then they most likely support British foreign policy or are apathetic about it, which is just as bad really.

        2. kurtz

          Oh the irony.

          So how do you propose we remember them? If the use of red poppies to look like rivers of spilled blood is somehow ‘jingoistic’ in your opinion. Or would you rather we honour their memory by forgetting they ever existed?

          1. Disasta

            I think Helen makes a good point.

            The rest of you seem to be missing the point, which is funnily enough what you are accusing her of.

  1. Buglebum

    I recognise you Helen. You’ve had lots of other usernames on here haven’t you? Very distinctive blend of strident self righteous but not nearly as smart as you think you are trolling. Why are you pretending to be female though. Bit hypocritical to be hiding like that if you’re setting yourself up as the big bully boy of broadsheet comments no?

    1. Spaghetti Hoop

      Not worth bothering with, Mr. Bum. Helen is all about opposition for the sake of it.

  2. Buglebum

    Ah now chap that’s not true is it? You’re lying. If you lie, how can we give any credence to your many strident opinions? Fess up ye should

  3. Buglebum

    ah come on fella. you DEMAND credence. you scream for attention at the top of every comment thread with your pronouncements.

    Again, how can we give any credence to your strident opinions if you continue to lie about being a woman when you are in fact a man?

    1. Helen

      if it makes you happy to think of me as a man, that’s ok. i’m not sure if you can demand credence, but again, i wouldn’t give credence to any anonymous poster, so i’m not going to expect if of others.

    2. Huppenstop

      You can be anything you want in the internet. Even if Helen really were a man, it would bother me that they use “Helen” as a username given we all (or a lot of us) use makey-up gender neutral ones :)

  4. The florist

    Beautiful, Helen I think foreign countries should be aloud to commemorate THEIR history what ever way they want on their own lands as long as it doesn’t insult anyone.

      1. Don Pidgeoni

        Given that these were planted by volunteers, I suspect that there is at least some backing for this particular event.

        1. Helen

          opinion poll after opinion poll in Britain shows that the majority subscribe to what has been called the ‘blackadder’ version of WWI, ie. that the men were cannonfodder and that WWI was an inglorious chapter of slaughter. We should commemorate it in that manner.

          1. Don Pidgeoni

            Which is what this is! You may not get the symbolism here but that is exactly what it is doing! You may not support the red poppy but the British public does!

            I’m not sure if you are trolling me now or being wilfully ignorant. I suspect the former so good luck to you.

      2. Don Pidgeoni

        And not just for British soldiers either – half are for soldiers from other countries

      3. Nigel

        It’s possible the people who commissioned and made this have a better idea than you do about English attitudes to their history.

          1. Nigel

            To put it differently, I would expect them to be more accepting that the attitudes of the English people towards past wars and their military history might be more complicated and nuanced than you want them to be.

  5. Buglebum

    Of course H, just calling out a hypocrite. ‘Helen’ is such a self righteous and opinionated troll who pretends to demand such high standards of everyone else. And here he is lying about being a woman and lying about never having commented under another username.

    His fake broadsheet persona would NEVER let anyone else away with that kind of sleazy oul codology

  6. RF

    “The final symbolic poppy will be planted on November 11th, at which *pint* the display will end.”

    Someone in Broadsheet is already raring to go!

  7. shitferbrains

    George Orwell said that the stuff put out by the Peace Pledge Union – the white poppy mob – was indistinguishable from Nazi propaganda.

    1. The Old Boy

      The PPU’s rather inglorious role in appeasement during the 30s is damaging to the pacifist movement even to-day.

      1. Formerly known as

        The British Government’s role in their empire is damaging to the British Government, even today.

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