You know what time of year it is, don’t you? Yes, it’s poppy outrage season when people, especially those in the public eye, don’t appear to be wearing a poppy. Twitter went into meltdown earlier on when the England cricketer Moeen Ali appeared in a team photograph at Heathrow Airport and he was the only player not wearing a poppy. The shame of it.

Here are some of the angry tweets:

Someone explain to me why @MoeenAli has chosen not to wear a poppy, shouldn’t represent the country if not willing to respect our views #ENG

Come on @MoeenAli and @ECB_cricket why wasn’t you wearing a poppy? What is your reason?

I don’t know what’s worse.. the fact Moeen Ali didn’t wear a poppy or the fact so many people are trying to excuse him

There are many more. The poppy police are livid and they’re wrong.

As the anger flooded cyberspace, Moeen simply tweeted, “Poppy fell off”. And there are pictures of him arriving at the airport wearing a poppy. It fell off. There is no story. But hang on: there is a story.

I always buy a poppy and nine times out of ten I manage to lose my poppy or I forget to transfer it from coat to coat. Or I won’t wear it because I don’t want to stick a pin through my nice leather jacket. I buy a poppy partly because of familial connections with World War Two and because I greatly admire the work carried out by the Royal British Legion. I choose to do that. I choose to buy a poppy because I am grateful to those who gave service. They ensured we stayed free, but freedom means we can have other choices, like choosing not to wear a poppy. Whether Mooen wore a poppy which subsequently fell off or if he had chosen not to wear one is of no consequence to anyone else.

I suppose there is a hidden agenda with Moeen. He’s very obviously a muslim and doubtless there will be those with a different agenda sniffing a conspiracy. The fact that there was no conspiracy will never satisfy them, so we must speak out on Moeen’s behalf.

To be fair, there were some supportive tweets, as well:

Why isn’t Moeen Ali wearing a poppy? Easy, because we live in a free society where we can choose to do things without being forced by others

Couldn’t give a shit if Moeen Ali wears a poppy or not. If he takes 10-for at the SCG I’ll be happy and he’ll be a hero.

Does everyone in the England cricket team really want to wear a poppy? I don’t know the answer to that but with the exception of Moeen everyone else wore one for the photograph. The reality is that the actions of the poppy police necessitate that all public figures must wear one. Strictly judges, Match of the Day pundits – I expect the accident victims on Casualty will be forced to comply soon, as well as the creatures featured in Blue Planet 2.

Today, the FA has contacted FIFA requesting that poppies be worn during the forthcoming England games after the ludicrous sanction placed on the FA after players wore them this time last year. I like the idea of players wearing poppies, especially given that football is our national sport. I would like it better if the FA didn’t need anyone’s permission and better still if players were allowed to decide for themselves if they wanted to wear them. I’ll wager that a lot of players go through the motions and wear them to avoid the barrage of criticism which would otherwise come their way if they didn’t. The Mail and Sun would be livid.

Freedom comes at a price and it is right that we remember the sacrifice of others. How we remember is up to us. I am afraid we are losing that argument because of faux poppy outrage. Pathetic, really.