I decided to take some time to think about the situation regarding our monuments and why the cry of demanding the removal of the statues is the wrong thing to do, and the Labour councils virtual signalling is not helping as theirs is for political gain and nothing more, otherwise they would have removed the statues a long time ago if so offended.
You see those statues are part of our British Heritage and whether good or bad they still belong to the people of Great Britain, and to attempt to erase it has caused concern from people such as me who normally just go about our law abiding lives doing nothing more than our usual routine that others view as boring. You see without our history we cannot own the past and yes there was times in our history that bordered on evil, but we cannot just be dictated to in getting rid of our history as though we are starting at year Zero, nor will we accept our beloved military monuments being desecrated by people who have no idea of what it means to serve this country.
A country that has no past is guaranteed to make the same mistakes again and can we really afford that? Can humanity just ignore the bad side of history as though it has not happened, if you destroy everything then history will disappear, and then what?. How far do we go back? Roman history as the people were subjugated across the known world…. We should be working together to educate the next generation and showing them the good and bad that humanity commits against each other, to ensure we do not repeat it.
I was a child of the 70s and 80s and growing up my parents always installed in me a sense of pride in the United Kingdom. Pride in this beautiful country and pride in everything we stand for now and understanding the sometimes enlightened and sometimes brutal way we came to be what we are…a tolerant nation where we just want to get on with our neighbours, and I remember listening at school to the history of Lord Nelson, The Duke of Wellington, the 1st and 2nd World War, Victorian Britain and the middle ages and I grew a love of history.
I also learnt about the evil that men do and yes that includes WW2 but also learning about the slave trade, and yes it sickened me to my stomach to think that one person could do that to another, and I have made regular visits to the Albert Dock in Liverpool to see the history of the slave trade as it is not something you can take in in one visit, and even though the barbarity is bordering on the most evil of things….it is still our history and one that we should learn more about through education.
The men who took part in the slave trade were both sides of the coin, evil in so many ways, yet they were recognised for their philanthropy and helping the poor, because as most people have forgotten the 18th, 19th and early 20th century was not great for a lot of people particularly if you had no money as life was viewed as cheap.
You had the highest number of deaths born to people who were poor in the UK, and this was accelerated in Victorian Britain. One in 3 children never made it past the age of 5 and whole groups of children dying in a family was quite common. If there was no money then there was no food, and certainly no housing and poor people were often found living on the streets in the harshest of conditions because they would sooner have that than the workhouse.
There are written accounts of people dying from the brutality in the workhouse, and older people being worked to their deaths because they had nowhere to go. Prostitution was rife as that was the only way some women could make money, and education for children was not something the poor of this country could access and whilst the rich got richer, the poor get poorer and the only way to escape it was to either go overseas to another country, or join the British forces, and more often than not the poor was punished extremely harshly for the most minor of offences. There was no welfare state, no state housing, no social benefits or free schooling or health care, and this way of life was right up until the first world war. It was very much a case of you are on your own jack and step forward these same men to make their lives better, and whose statues are now being threatened with violence.
Can you imagine how terrifying it must have been to watch your child become unwell and knowing that you cannot afford a Doctor or health care, and instead you had to watch your child die and quite possibly there siblings. Stomachs were never filled and going to bed hungry was the norm, along with children being forced to work down the mines or cleaning chimneys. Where your death counted for nothing but where the suffering was made somewhat easier by wealthy people giving to the parish to help. I do not know whether the contributions were made because of the evil they committed and trying to ease their awful deeds, but they helped the people of Great Britain and this is what we remember in the men whose statues were put up..
A country can only move forward if we do not hide the bad that has been committed, and you cannot judge things of yesteryear by today’s standards. We all know it is wrong and abhorrent what happened to the Africans during the slave trade, but our times and standards have changed through education and common knowledge, and that must be the standards we set our children and their children.
I grew weary with the Churchill is a racist mantra, and one person compared Churchill to Hitler was just about as offensive as you can be. Professor Kehinde Andrews overstepped the line in doing so and quite rightly those of us who know the history of our country, and who love our country know he just jumped on the leftist band wagon. It is not clever and certainly not smart to compare a man who led a country through the darkest of times was viewed by some in the same vein as the evil man who was responsible for the murder of millions of Jews, political opponents, gypsies, disabled people, prisoners of war, homosexuals, resistance fighters and anyone who disagreed with his fascists views, along with enslaving millions and who worked these people death as slaves. It is offensive to decency and one of the reasons why I decided to write this. This is the history of us and our leader he was trashing, and I for one was extremely offended.
Sir Winston Churchill was not perfect, no man ever is but he succeeded in bringing the nation together as one and help Europe to rid itself of a monstrous tyranny that would have far exceeded anything the world had seen especially if he had won, and to have a man insult the memory of a man who is one of the finest Britons was the reason why so many of us were outraged at the vandalism of his statue.
I was brought up with living history because my dad served in WW2 and he has seen the evil that men do when his unit liberated a concentration camp, and never have I seen my dad weep like that before. It was moving and upsetting when he explained that because of a difference in religion millions were murdered, and it was a scene that lived with him all his life. He explained how the rise of tyranny was never going to be stopped until someone did something about it, and that man was Churchill and he is the darling of the British along with Nelson, Wellington, Bomber Harris and all those other people who fought a cause that was evil, and that will not change to the British people.
Germany themselves and other countries affected by the reign of Nazi terror have kept the camps so that people can be educated, and yet we know that not all Nazis were evil. Herman Goering’s brother Albert was responsible for rescuing Jewish people and getting them out of the country and we do not hold all of Germany responsible, but rather that they and us have learnt from history and do not make the same mistake again and there is no call to tear down the camps. Yet evil brutal things were done there.
If you have no history then you have nothing and how do you explain to future generations that this country went from the Middle Ages to nothing? Where will the enlightenment be? How will you explain everything that has happened good or bad as it will not stop with the statues, and we have seen this with the taking down of Faulty Towers episode, the refusal to play It Ain’t Half Hot Mum and all those other shows that are deemed disrespectful, yet calling another person by the most awful, disgusting swear words is supposed to be funny and can be shown…where is the common decency in that? Those with some say in our lives are offended just for the sake of being offended such as the BBC. .
I like millions of others were appalled at what happened to George Floyd and I commented about it almost immediately because as a mother it broke my heart especially finding out he was calling for his mum. That would have done me in as the mother and it was racist and it was evil and the way the policeman had his hands in his pocket not caring showed real evil, an inhuman person who should never have been in uniform who but what does that have to do with our statues? Maybe the USA should ensure the people they employ as police can pass psyche tests as not every policeman is bad, and it is wrong to say that they all are.
Why now? The statues have been with the country for hundreds of years and people have walked past them daily. Nelson Mandela himself advocated violence towards White South Africans as a young man and hundreds died, yet his statue is one of the few that is not on the list. Mandela himself came out of Robin’s Island a changed man and changed history, and he showed us that we are all people and that no one should be defined by the colour of their skin, and that respecting each other is something that is not impossible to achieve.
I myself joined a march to free Nelson Mandela at a time when so few knew him in the country and where he was being called a terrorist by the Government, and Mrs Thatcher acknowledged the difference of the Nelson Mandela of old and the great man who stepped forward in front of the cameras years later. The whole world cheered when he was set free and even today the world is a sadder place at his going, but he did not have his history changed and his statue stands in the same place and so he should as great men are complicated, but they have the ability to change the world.
I am not even sure as to why they are demanding the removal of the Duke of Wellington as he fought the French and put an end to the dictatorship demands of Napoleon and that is still celebrated today……
Is the aim to put an end to the history of my beloved country whether it be good or bad, or just trying to impose their will by force? Either way it is not acceptable to us and that the long heritage of this country must be left alone.
After all, do we demand reparations from the Normans for their invasion and taking over our land? Especially as they went about systemically stripping England of anything of value and putting the people in slavery for them. Do we ask for reparations from the Vikings for destroying our churches and murdering our priests in the 8th and 9th century? The pyramids of Egypt were built by slaves….the children of Israel and they have had more than their fair share of hatred, and they are still getting it…..after all we only have to see the disgraceful antics of the Labour party to see that the hatred for Jews for some people never disappear….the Germans worked Jewish people to death in the war and murdered those who were of no use….that evil still affects some people alive today as they lived through it, but the best thing you can do is educate against ignorance and hatred and by doing that you will have won.
People need to educated not only this country but all countries and only through education of the more unpleasant history can we ensure that those who have suffered, and who continue to suffer as there are 21 million people still being enslaved are not forgotten and that they matter, and that the vile trade of human life stops for good.