The Ministry of Defence has come under savage criticism from the Royal British Legion after sending too few uniformed troops to collect small change and distribute poppies at mainline stations.
‘We’ve got millions of people desperately in need of poppies,’ said a Royal British Legion spokesman, ‘but the MoD keeps telling us they can’t send us any more uniformed officers because they’re too busy in Afghanistan or somewhere. It’s a disgrace.’
The MoD has denied that its decisions have caused chronic underresourcing of the Royal British Legion’s effort. ‘We do feel we should prioritise the actual fighting,’ said an MoD spokesman. ‘It’s all very well being accosted by a uniformed soldier with a gun and a poppy appeal collecting-tin when you’re on your way to work, but we think the public would be perfectly happy to buy their poppies from the Royal British Legion’s huge army of crusty old fogeys wearing thick winter coats and war medals instead. That way we can send all these khaki-wearing eighteen-year-olds off to fight in our extremely successful war in Afghanistan, and make sure that the Legion needs to keep on selling those poppies for a good few years yet. Everyone’s a winner. Well, especially the Taliban, of course.’