Burning poppies

Arresting someone who posted a picture of a burning poppy to Facebook may please the mob, but I find it more than a little disturbing and authoritarian.

From the Kent Police website (emphasis theirs):

A man is due to be interviewed by police this morning following reports that a picture of a burning poppy had been posted on a social media website.

Officers were contacted at around 4pm yesterday, Sunday, 11 November 2012 and alerted to the picture, which was reportedly accompanied by an offensive comment.

Following an investigation by Kent Police a 19-year-old, Canterbury man was arrested on suspicion of an offence under the malicious communications act. He is currently in custody.

It may be a tasteless and provocative thing to do, to burn a paper-and-plastic Remembrance poppy. It may even release a small amount of noxious fumes into the immediate vicinity. But arresting someone for it? That feels like the heavy-handed suppression of political dissent. Even if it is the poorly-articulated inchoate dissent of a teenager. Even if it’s stupid.

We’re better than this.