The Cost of Remembrance

There is much debate on the Scottish blogosphere about the decision by the Scottish Parliament that poppy wreaths laid by MSPs today can be claimed for out of parliamentary expenses. Most think that claiming for wreaths is insensitive and a shame on those who do so.

Others make the counter argument that an MSP isn't laying the wreath in his own right but in an official capacity as a representative of the people, and therefore the people should pay.

I could accept the public service on behalf of the constituents argument if only one wreath was laid on my behalf by one of my public representatives. But it appears that the chair of the parish council, my county councillor, the mayor of the county council, my constituency Assembly Member, 4 regional AMs, my MP, four euro MEPs, the First Minister, the Secretary of State for Wales, the Prime minister and the Queen (and possibly others) can all lay wreaths on my behalf out of the public purse. This is over representation.

The parish council should lay one wreath on my behalf as a parishioner. Any other public representative who thinks that laying a wreath is the right thing to do should do so in his or her own name and out of his or her own pocket*.

* NB I should point out, in fairness, that despite the fact that all of these people CAN claim the cost of wreaths, because they are laying them as representatives of the people few actually do so.


  1. i am sure that one or two AM's claimed on thier expenses for wreaths for rememberance day a few years and some people got very worked up over it.

  2. With this post, atrocious though its semtiments are, at least you are honouring the title of your blog!

  3. One notices two points about the "ceremonies".

    1) Few if any of the memorials show the names of generals/admirals etc or politicians, which signifies an abscence of their involvement "at the front line".
    2) Wars kill more civilians than service personnel, surely, in a civilised society the focus of remembrance should fall towards the innocent, and not those who killed them.

  4. Remembrance thoughts:


  5. The Royal British Legion, a registered charity sell the poppy wreaths they start from around £20 and go up to around £50 each.If you are "expected" to lay a poppy wreath on behalf of an organisation such as a council or voluntary group who should foot the "donation"?