Iconoclastic fury in the UK: Khan’s Orwellian commission threatens London’s memory

Following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, a demonstration of support for the Black Lives Matter movement, defined as "widely peaceful", was held in London. Despite this, 27 police officers were attacked and some statues, including those of Churchill and Abraham Lincoln, were vandalized. Not even the cenotaph commemorating the fallen of the two world wars was spared, defaced with the abbreviation ACAB ( All cops are bastards ). A group of young people from Household Cavalry, the cavalry of the royal house, promptly intervened to clean the monument, obtaining the praise of the conservative public on social networks .

Meanwhile, in Bristol, the statue of Edward Colston, a philanthropist involved in the slave trade, has been overturned and thrown into the city harbor. The University of Liverpool will remove Prime Minister Gladstone's name because his father had been involved in the slave trade. The accusation is absurd, if you consider that the four-time Prime Minister Gladstone was a great supporter of the home rule , that is, Irish self-government, and author of important reforms – from the Education Act of 1870, which made education compulsory at 12, the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland and in general the promotion of the free market. In Manchester, Preston, Leeds and Glasgow, four statues of Sir Robert Peel – founder of the police – are likely to be removed. Sir Peel is accused, in the interactive Topple the Racist map , of voting against the abolition of the slave trade in 1806, but activists, apparently, have confused him with his father, his namesake.

Also at risk is the statue of Cecil Rhodes in Oxford, who at the end of the nineteenth century was one of the most powerful men in the British Empire, owner of the De Beers mining company and sponsor of Oriel College .

Meanwhile, on 9 June, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced the establishment of a commission – Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm – made up of historians and community leaders, which would guarantee the "diversity" of the British capital, through a review of city monuments, names of public buildings and decorative plaques. At the same time, the labor boroughs of the capital, England and Wales have announced a thorough investigation of all the statues to verify the absence of links between the characters represented with the slave trade. In the borough of Tower Hamlets, the statue of the slaver Robert Milligan has been removed.

On the New Statesman , Stephen Bush suggests that Khan, in order to avoid the wave of acrimony following the removal of the statues, should instead focus on new statues to be erected that unify the community. If this proposal is constructive, and the mayor of Bristol has promised that the Colston statue will be recovered and placed in a museum, to start a rational city discussion, we can only remind ourselves that without respecting the laws and democratic procedures society can only self-destruct.

Several commentators expressed firm opposition to the erasure of memory, such as Mark Wallace on The Independent . The executive director of Conservative Home stressed that, if the historical-archaeological finds tell us something about the society that created them, certainly the way we interact with them tells us something about ourselves. It follows that in a society founded on the rule of law, relying on the angry crowd rather than democratic decisions is a bad choice.

Douglas Murray on the Spectator sums up the week with a defense of the principles of classical liberalism, first of all his humility and openness to forgiveness in contrast to the purism of the progressive masses, for which an error, albeit a serious one, deserves the cancellation from memory. If the liberal knows that the characters of the past have acted with the knowledge then available, Murray continues, the demonstrators continue to believe in the zero year of civilization, before which they were all hopelessly bigots.

Black Lives Matter does not hide his desire to destroy capitalism and state structures; but inevitably, according to the old (and frustrating) conservative adage, it is much easier to destroy than to rebuild. Murray therefore hopes that people of all backgrounds and ethnicities can firmly oppose the drift of reason in place. To quote San Tommaso Moro in the film "A man for all seasons" , we must guarantee the protection of the law also to the devil, because if we abolished the laws to chase him, we could no longer defend ourselves once attacked. The UK cannot surrender to intimidation and give up the rule of law tradition right now.

The post Iconoclastic fury in the United Kingdom: Khan's Orwellian commission threatens the memory of London appeared first on the Daily Atlantic .


This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Atlantico Quotidiano at the URL http://www.atlanticoquotidiano.it/quotidiano/la-furia-iconoclasta-nel-regno-unito-la-commissione-orwelliana-di-khan-minaccia-la-memoria-di-londra/ on Fri, 12 Jun 2020 03:58:00 +0000.