Pesioner banned from wreath laying

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Poppy, Nov 7, 2006.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:


    A PENSIONER who served with the Royal Navy in the Second World War has been banned from laying a wreath at a Remembrance Day service because he is a member of a political party.

    Philip Greengrass, who lives in Felixstowe, was told by the town council that because he is part of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) he will not be able to join the ceremony on Sunday.

    Mr Greengrass said when he asked if he could lay a wreath during the service he was told that it was policy that no political parties were allowed to take part.

    The 80-year-old said he has been left saddened by the town council's view as it was preventing those who served in the armed forces to pay their respects to friends and loved ones.

    “I am not angry about it, just very sad because it is difficult to understand,” he said. “I served in the forces during the Second World War and to be told that I am not allowed to put a wreath on the local memorial is outrageous.

    “At one time I thought I would just have to keep out the way and be quiet but I think it's wrong because there is no reason why any group - whether it is a bridge club, football club, school or political party - shouldn't be allowed to pay their respects.

    “The memorial doesn't belong to the town council it belongs to the people of Felixstowe and it's not right that they chose to exclude us in this way.”

    Mr Greengrass, who worked on cable ships laying lead pipes across the Channel during the Second World War to keep the allied forces supplied with petrol, said he was able to take part in last year's service without any problems.

    “I've been able to lay a wreath in the past without any difficulty but this time around things are different,” he said. “Many people who are members of political parties will have served with the armed forces or have friends that will have done so and it is a chance for them to pay their respects.

    “Unfortunately this opportunity has been taken away and it is a real shame. As yet I don't know their reasons but I expect it is in the interest of political correctness and they don't want to offend anybody.”

    Susan Robinson, Felixstowe town clerk, confirmed it was tradition that no political parties were allowed to lay a wreath during the memorial service.

    “It is custom and tradition that it is not a political occasion,” she said. “Unfortunately I think last year when Mr Greengrass was able to lay a wreath we were not aware of what was happening.”

    I don't understand why his political views should mean he is banned from this ceremony? Am I missing something here? :?
  2. blue-sophist

    blue-sophist LE Good Egg (charities)

    I assume that no members of Felixtowe Council will therefore be attending, as they are probably all members of a political party (except for Independents, of course).
  3. If they didn't understand what was happening last year then he couldn't have made a political fuss over it.

    All major parties are represented at Cenotaph.

    On these occasions anybody and any group should be allowed to lay a wreath. If the message on the card is viewed as Political then the card should be retwritten. RBL &/or vicar the best arbiters on that front.
  4. Is he attempting to lay a wreath as a member of a political party and to make a political stateme t? or is he trying to lay a wreath as an act of rememberance?

    I'm truly shocked and disgusted at Felixstow councils decision
  5. Our Country has gone bonkers!!! Who are these bloody idiots who have these idiotic ideas?
  6. I think the people enforcing this rule need a good talking to. I can understand that they dont want politics interfering with Rememberence, and it should'nt. But the man is a veteran, served his country in time of need. I could understand if the ceremony orginisers thought Mr Greengrass was going to hijack the podium for a political rant...but do you really think he will?!

  7. I'm not so sure, and will be the first to admit i don't know the local situation well enough but:

    not everybody gets to lay a wreath, it is mainly reps from groups such as Army, Navy, RAF, cadets etc, You can't just turn up and join in!

    If his only proviso for being able to lay a weath is that he is a member of a political party then i actually agree with the councils decision and actually applaud them for having the balls to make sure it is an apolitical event.

    I realised that he served in the war, but again, not every ex forces member is allowed to lay a wreath otherwise there would be a very long queue!

    Just my humble opinion

  8. So a war veteran who has fought for his country is being denied the right to pay a silent tribute to his fallen comrades because of his politics?

    Makes you wonder what it was all for doesn't it?

  9. I can understand where the council is coming from but I think it is misapplied. It should be that members of political parties cannot take part unless they have served in the armed forces. (and then apply that across the whole country and no longer have the PM at the cenotaph)
  10. This is patently absurd, but it is not helped by the newspaper article describing him as "being part of the UKIP". What does this mean exactly?

    Any serving member of the Forces is allowed to be a member of a political party - even the BNP - so any veteran should not be excluded for this reason. If, however, he wished to attend as a representative of the UKIP, that is different and the council would appear to be within their rights to stop him from doing so in that capacity.

    I suspect the long (and misinterpreted) arm of the ODP at work here. Local councils are bound by Prescott-defined rules about ensuring that their work (which presumably includes Remembrance ceremonies) is not influenced by vested interests. Hence in one well-publicised case, councillors were not allowed to vote on planning permission for a park-and-ride car park if they owned a car, on the grounds that they couldn't be objective, even though those that didn't would obviously lean towards the creation of such a scheme.
  11. Perhaps he should ask to lay a wreath AS a member of a political party and when told he cannot MAKE A FUSS when the labour, conservative and lib dem reps lay theirs.....
  12. oldbaldy

    oldbaldy LE Moderator Good Egg (charities)
    1. Battlefield Tours

    He was indeed doing that.
    If you have a look at the photo the centre is the UKIP badge.
  13. Does anyone have anymore info on this? Is he wanting to put down a wreath on behalf of his political party or just personally and he just so happens to be part of that party?

    No matter what the case I dont see why he should be stopped, if you want to rremember lost friends from the war then you should be aloud too as long as it isnt a PR stunt, which it sounds like it isnt. Just an old chap wanting to remember his lost comrades.

    This country is going to pot.

    Still no poppys in Glasgow today either ???!!!!
  14. I think before taking any sides on this we do need some more information, is the gentleman in case effectively the local face of the UKIP, then perhps it could be seen as a political statement, did he realy try to lay the wreath on behalf of UKIP. Who else is allowed to lay wreths this year, are they all deamed to be apolitical. Usully in these things the story we get is not always quite as those nice chaps in the press would like us to believe.

  15. There is a clear distinction: is he an ex-serviceman laying a wreath who happens to be a member of a political party? Or a representative of a political party laying a wreath (and possibly seeking to make a political point out of it.

    The former would mean Felixstowe were acting like fools. Unfortuantely looking at the picture in the EADT, it is a UKIP wreath and it would appear that he is trying to make a point for the party and not simply and old guy laying a wreath to remember his old comrades.