Poppy protocol

Had lunch with the Bishop of London at St Paul’s Deanery. There were about five MPs and then a clutch of clergy who had had real input on the day of the July 7 bombings. Truly interesting conversations and get the feeling that the Church is so much more engaged than it was a decade ago with the real issues. There was virtually no comment from the Church during the years of the IRA bombings in London – but now they rush in not fearing where angels used to fear to tread. It is much healthier for all of us.

Sods law, I have been drawn as Question No 6 on the Order Paper for a question about Human Rights in Turkey today – so I will be unable to attend the Memorial Service following the lunch and will have to leave the lunch early too. The Bishop of London is very interested in the question – which he already knew about – and makes some helpful suggestions as to a supplementary. My supplementary will be on whether, whilst we have the Presidency of the EU, the Government has any plans to discuss minority rights in Turkey with the Turkish Government? Whilst I am really pleased that negotiations for Turkey’s accession to the European Union are now opened – and in fact am arranging to meet key members of the Turkish community in the next week or so – I am very keen to ensure that nothing will stand as an immutable barrier to their final and full entry to the EU.

So off I go – and ask my Turkish question to the minister. He doesn’t really answer the supplementary – so I guess that the Government isn’t going to use this opportunity to help Turkey!

There is some follow-on after my question to Blunkett yesterday. Opinion is hardening against his being able to stay – but I doubt whether my question will have registered on the Richter scale of his imminent destruction!

On a lighter note – I am having etiquette lessons from the Secretary to Mr Speaker (by email correspondence) – for which I am grateful. I had no idea that when I wore my Poppy on my right lapel that England might fall!

I love it!

Remembrance Day Poppies
– not worn before 1 Nov and not after 11 Nov unless the Cenotaph event falls on the following Sunday or you work for the BBC
– normally worn on the left hand side but sometimes this is not practical (never worn in the hair)
– if the poppy has a leaf it should be in a vertical position between 10 to 2 (bit like driving) (Scottish poppies have no leaf this year to catch out those Scots who were hoping last year’s poppy would do)

which leads to:

-always buy a new one each year
-always buy two (one is bound to fall out somewhere, indeed they are designed to fall out in order to force you to buy another one )
-never lend a poppy unless you can be sure the borrower will put money in the box