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What is the intellectual framing of the UK statues debate? Show more Show less

In June 2020 Bristol protestors rioting against the murder of George Floyd tore down a statue of Edward Colston. Having hauled it from its plinth, they eventually abandoned the statue in the city's harbour. Hundreds of onlookers gathered to watch, viewing this as a momentous step in the fight against racism. Colston is known as the man who built Bristol. He bequeathed his enormous fortune to the city upon his death. 300 years on, the scale of his legacy is visceral in Bristol's landmarks and architecture, and the names of its schools, concert halls, streets, restaurants, pubs and cathedral. Yet, his fortune was built on slavery, leading many to argue that the statue props up institutional racism in the UK. Since Colston's toppling, activists have circulated lists of hundreds more controversial statues they say must be removed to end racial inequality. Others call this type of campaigning problematic. They view the destruction of monuments as historical whitewashing. For them, this trend is an affront to British history that does not confront the real issues at play. So, who are these groups, what do they think, and why?

"This crisis is an attack on the state!" Show more Show less

This is not a fight about history. Nor one about injustice. The battleground here is the nation, and how it is being systematically undermined by a vigilante mob. If we give in to this brutish idealism, we lose our most precious possession: Britishness.
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The crisis is an affront to the British values we hold dear

The events unfolding now are a direct attack on the noble values the UK stands for. Tolerance, free speech and a plurality of opinion are at the very heart of what it means to be British. The fanaticism fuelling this campaign of terror is not. Reducing our long and complex national history to a story of oppression is dangerous. It it not only a false understanding of the past, but it suggests a world in which things can only ever be right or wrong. This passionate historically illiteracy is overturning British ideals. And replacing them with a wilfully ignorant culture of fear. Proponents include Director of the Free Speech Union Inaya Folarin Iman.
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    This page was last edited on Tuesday, 23 Jun 2020 at 13:11 UTC