Michelle Thomson says ‘no offence was intended’ after use of overt political symbol was described as distastefulSNP’s Michelle Thomson criticised for ‘tacky and tasteless’ pro-independence poppy
A Scottish nationalist MSP has been criticised for politicising remembrance commemorations after she wore a pro-independence “peace” poppy at Holyrood.
Michelle Thomson, the SNP backbencher, attended a hearing of Holyrood’s finance committee on Tuesday morning wearing a white poppy to which she attached a pin badge depicting the official logo of the Yes campaign in the 2014 referendum.
Pro-independence campaigners have continued to use the logo since Scots voted in favour of remaining in the UK, as Nicola Sturgeon – the First Minister – continues her drive to hold a second referendum next year.
Ms Thomson said that she had not intended to cause offence and that she had only attached the Yes badge as a makeshift solution after she found herself without a safety pin.
However, veterans claimed that her decision to use an overtly political symbol was distasteful and offensive.
“This is an insult to veterans,” said Bruce Wilson, a former Royal Marine captain and veterans spokesman for the Scottish Liberal Democrats “It seems like there is nothing the nationalists won’t slap a Yes sticker on.
“Regardless of whether you choose to wear a white poppy or a red one, this is a symbol of solemn remembrance, not a stunt to publicise your narrow-minded political cause.”
‘No offence intended’
White poppies are distributed by a pacifist body, the Peace Pledge Union. The organisation says the white poppy represents the victims of all wars, rather than just members of the British Armed Forces.
Some anti-war campaigners have claimed that the red poppy has become associated with militarism and that its original meaning has been subverted.
A spokesman for Ms Thomson claimed that she had only attached a political symbol to the symbol as her previous white poppy had disintegrated.
“Michelle wore a white poppy all last week, and its message of peace is something she strongly believes in,” said the spokesman on Tuesday.
“Unfortunately this poppy, being made of paper, came apart at the weekend. Upon arrival at the committee, she asked a colleague for another white poppy and received one – but without a safety pin.
“She used her Yes badge to affix it prior to obtaining another safety pin after the committee. No offence was intended.
“Her white poppy, promoting the message of peace, will be affixed in the usual manner in the Scottish Parliament after committee today.”
This is beyond tacky and tasteless from an SNP MSP👇
It beggars belief that Michelle Thomson would politicise our fallen war heroes to push her independence obsession.
She must urgently apologise for this disgraceful stunt. pic.twitter.com/eGzDVsaK7B— Scottish Conservatives (@ScotTories) November 8, 2022
Sharon Dowey, a Scottish Conservative MSP, said: “This is beyond tacky and tasteless from Michelle Thomson.
“To stoop so low as to politicise our fallen war heroes to push her pro-independence message actually beggars belief.
“It’s clear that her obsession with separating Scotland from the UK trumps everything – including her sense of decency.
“Imagine the outcry if a company sought to co-opt the poppy for advertising purposes. Well, this is the political equivalent of that – it’s shameful and yet shameless.
“Remembrance is a solemn time of the year when the nation unites to pay tribute to those who gave their lives for our freedom. Whatever their political beliefs, all right-thinking Scots will be appalled by Michelle Thomson’s cheap stunt.
“She must urgently apologise for this disgraceful lapse of judgment.”