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Jeremy Vine: Fierce debate erupts over whether BBC presenters should wear poppies

Is The Poppy Appeal an example of virtue-signalling?

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Tuesday’s Jeremy Vine on Channel 5 included a fierce debate about poppies worn by BBC presenters.

Activist Femi Oluwole argued that as new BBC rules disallow ‘virtue-signalling’ by BBC presenters and stars – surely wearing a poppy in support of The Poppy Appeal should be banned too.

He initially tweeted: “Dear @bbc,Why are your presenters wearing poppies?

“Your rules ban ‘virtue signalling no matter how worthy the cause’.

“If presenters can support war-related campaigns on the news, surely they can show they believe in equality for black & gay people? Or is that against BBC values?”

femi on jeremy vine
Femi on Jeremy Vine (Credit: Channel 5)

What happened on Jeremy Vine?

He then reiterated his point on Jeremy Vine with: “I am equating [poppies] with the push for racial equality and the push for the rights of gay people. I’m saying that if you’re going to call those things ‘virtue-signalling’, why is wearing a poppy any different?”

But fellow guest Carole Malone argued: “No one in this country is forced to wear a poppy

“They wear it if they want to and they wear it for a specific reason.”

Meanwhile host Jeremy claimed: “You can surely then wear a Black Lives Matter insignia, without virtue signalling. Can’t you?

carole malone
Carole hit back at Femi’s claims (Credit: Channel 5)

How did viewers react?

“So it is the same as the poppy then?”

But Carole remained unconvinced, declaring: “I don’t think it is no…some people do see it [Black Lives Matter] as contentious.”

An infuriated Femi said: “You see racial inequality as an issue that is up for debate…”

To which Carole erupted: “No! Stop telling me what I say and what I think. You don’t know what I think….what I said very clearly is that Black Lives Matter, as a movement, is a political movement.”

jeremy vine
But Jeremy barely managed to get a word in (Credit: Channel 5)

Jeremy finally argued that politics and Black Lives Matter can no longer be ‘disentangled’.

Viewers appeared to disagree on whom won the heated debate.

Some took Carole’s side.

One viewer tweeted: “I agree with Carole. Our military aren’t ideologically driven. They do as they’re told to do & risk their lives for the government whether or not they agree with the politics. Recognising their sacrifice has nothing to do with support for the campaigns they were in.”

And another user argued: “I totally agree with Carol, we wear poppies out of RESPECT for all our fallen heroes! They died for us who are on the earth now.”

Whereas others completely sided with Femi’s stance.

With one user praising: “Femi, you put yourself in the line of fire, speaking truth to power, ignorance (and Carole Malone) every day. I don’t know where you get the stamina from. Long may you continue.”

And a further user claiming: “He is right. Why is outwardly displaying one thing (pushing for racial equality) deemed virtue signalling, but outwardly displaying another thing (remembering those lost in war) not?

“Either they both are, or neither are.”

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