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

"Taking the statues down is an 'iconoclasm of the Woke!'" Show more Show less

We should not celebrate the destruction of our history. Taking this approach is reductive. Blaming statues for perceived "injustice" is unproductive.
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This is the latest battleground in the West's desperate fight for moral authority

The West has been in decline for over a century. The Empire where once the sun never set, is now a tiny island nation frequently in thrall to those it ruled over. This has been a long time coming. We are now in the midst of a culture war between those who still hold an imperialist vision of Britain, and those who see it for what is now is. We are now at the climax of this battle. Removing these statues forces us all to acknowledge our struggle for Western moral and cultural authority. Hopefully, it will be the wake up call we need to adapt our current positions, and claw back what we are fast losing. Proponents include author Frank Furedi.
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This page was last edited on Tuesday, 23 Jun 2020 at 09:15 UTC

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