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Former UTV man reveals how he sidestepped poppy decision


Professional dilemma: Jamie Delargy

Professional dilemma: Jamie Delargy

Professional dilemma: Jamie Delargy

A former UTV journalist has revealed how he employed a "ruse" to dodge wearing the poppy on screen for years.

But when Jamie Delargy finally took the decision to wear the symbol it taught him a lesson in how to influence people without using a "battering ram".

The broadcaster, reflecting on the Stormont impasse on the Slugger O'Toole blog, revealed that "as an off screen producer and editor, I wasn't asked or expected to wear a poppy".

But when he started to appear on camera, "reporters and presenters were left to choose whether to wear poppies or not".

"That freedom left me with a bit of a dilemma. I could wear the emblem and alienate one section of the audience or not wear it and annoy another group. So with no personal or family reason for wearing a poppy and anxious not offend anyone, I tried to sidestep the problem by the simple ruse of trying, as far as possible, not to appear in vision on TV during periods when poppies were due to be worn."

He said this tactic came to a head one November while preparing to appear on screen when a colleague asked if Mr Delargy realised he was not wearing a poppy.

He said his "instinct was to stick to my guns and pass on the poppy-wearing, and then for whatever reason, it just dawned on me that these workmates, that I could see out of the corner of my eye, would like me to make a concession".

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"And so, not as a some grand gesture - but simply because I wanted to oblige those who over decades had obliged me with small acts of generosity - I asked to be supplied with a poppy, versions of which I would continue to wear until I retired from the company."

He added: "The silence of my colleagues had proved more eloquent and effective than anything anyone might have said to me."

Mr Delargy said politicians here could learn from his UTV colleagues, as "it surely would make sense to change tack and abandon the battering ram tactics".

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