Felling the Statues

Like some eastern European state freshly liberated from Communism, crowds in Britain are toppling the statues of their oppressors. First to fall was Edward Colston, philanthropist and slave trader. He was thrown into Bristol harbour, though he has since been dredged up and is now in a secret location, from where he’ll go to a museum along with some Black Lives Matter placards.

Next to go is Lord Baden Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts, from his place by Poole Quay. He must have had some views the local mob disagree with. Robert Milligan, another slave trader has disappeared from the Museum of London. The statue of Sir Francis Drake in Plymouth is also due for removal as councils up and down the country vie with each other to be seen to act. One might wonder if the removal of statues is such a judicious and wise thing to do, they weren’t doing it before the shouty-brigade forced their hands?

Much as I hate the slave trade, I cannot but think current events are also pretty ghastly. Where do we draw the line? To what extent must depictions in public art only represent the most virtuous folk with no skeletons in the cupboard? At what point does a subject’s moral failure become sufficient to arouse the throng’s fury or to shake a council from indifference? As a republican, might I not be offended by the statues of kings and queens and call for their demolition? As a capitalist, might I go and deface Karl Marx’s memorial bust in Highgate Cemetery? Perhaps the Bristol rabble will pop over to Egypt and demand the pyramids be removed on account of their construction's dubious labour practices.

I’m not opposed to the removal of statues per se, but it must be done via elected representatives and not as a knee-jerk reaction even then. I think that statues of fools and villains remind us of what our race is really like. Maybe one of Jimmy Saville should go up on Trafalgar Square’s fourth plinth- not for all his philanthropic work and volunteering, but a reminder that human perversion is so incredibly wicked and that we get away with it for so long. The Colston statue reminded Bristol that we humans put filthy lucre before human wellbeing. Well, that reminder is now gone, so we can they afford to feel righteous again.

We may not be proud of every aspect of our history but whitewashing it and removing its symbols will do no more than make us feel better. Mobs throwing public art into the sea does nothing to feed the hungry or clothe the naked. The 9.5 million lost in Britain’s abortion genocide since 1967 are neither mourned nor commemorated- they are celebrated as a liberation of women. So while idle students, woke councillors and far left activists congratulate each other on their civic reformation, the cries of the unborn reach to the Lord of Sabaoth.

Image by Heidelbergerin from Pixabay