Sunderland footballer James McClean's decision not to wear kit featuring a red poppy in Saturday's game at Everton has whipped up a Twitter storm.
Similarly, students' union representative Daniel Cooper's polite refusal to participate in a wreath laying at the University of London remembrance service has prompted a Facebook page demanding his resignation.
Those criticising Derry man McClean might wonder whether his stance has anything to do with the Bloody Sunday massacre in which 14 unarmed citizens of his home town were mown down by Parachute Regiment troops.
It could also be that, as an Irish republican, McClean's awareness of British armed forces' conduct in his country over centuries does not inspire unalloyed admiration.
Cooper made it clear to University of London chaplain Reverend Stephen Williams, in a letter declining his invitation, that he would "pay respect to the millions slaughtered in the first world war and the many more maimed and killed since."
But he rejected orthodox assessments of this war as "an act of liberation or self-defence from despotism, as our leaders today preach."
Cooper noted that David Cameron is already looking forward to 1914, the centenary of the start of the first world war, to organise a massive eulogy to that conflict "to capture our national spirit" and display "national pride."
He concluded his letter to the chaplain by stating: "I mourn and remember the dead. But my mourning is mixed with bitter anger against the rulers and the system that create such bloodshed."
The first world war was not about defending "plucky little Belgium," standing up to aggression or defending democracy. Britain had not even adopted universal suffrage at that time.
It was a war concerning which imperial powers would benefit most from colonial plunder in Africa and Asia.
Today's wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya have similar motivations. They are about control of oil and gas, as well as cementing the military hegemony of Nato major powers.
Forget myths about combating "terror," whatever that means, women's liberation, girls' education, economic development, human rights and democracy.
These are the tinsel trimmings on the Christmas tree of imperialist conquest, designed to assuage humanitarian consciences at home.
Wearing a poppy in early November is portrayed as a spontaneous welling up of public gratitude for an essential job done by the armed forces.
But Establishment pressure to force sportspeople, TV presenters, participants and others in the public eye to do so lays bare the desire to equate human solidarity towards those killed or wounded at the state's behest with support for the aggressive military campaigns unleashed by our ruling class.
Cooper referred in his letter to the short-lived National Federation of Discharged and Demobilised Sailors and Soldiers, which campaigned after the first world war for "justice not charity" for ex-combatants.
The government, which promised demobbed squaddies "a land fit for heroes," washed its hands of them, getting the very generals who had sent millions to their deaths to head the red poppy charity to tackle needs that should have been shouldered by the state.
Wearing a red poppy, a Peace Pledge Union white poppy or no poppy at all is a personal choice.
It is not up to Establishment politicians who create the wars to order the rest of us to wear a badge of their choice to signify national unity behind their military adventures.
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