I suspected one day something would happen that sufficiently piqued my ‘interest’ and prompted me to write once again.
Events in the last 48 hours in Bristol have done just that; but, it is perhaps more the debate being had on the back of it which is challenging me.
Last month, it is alleged Black Lives Matter (BLM) campaigners removed the statue of Edward Colston, which stood in the city of Bristol, and threw it into the harbour. Whilst Colston had been commemorated in the city for his philanthropy and magnanimous gestures to the general community in Bristol, it was his involvement in the slave trade which enraged people.
In the last couple of days, the statue has been replaced by another, created by a local artist, to champion the BLM activist Jen Reid. The debate which so riles me is whether it is correct for Bristol City Council to now remove the statue of Reid.
Of course, it is correct!
We live in a democracy. I can understand the argument that if it is the people’s will for Colston’s statue to be removed, then it should be. But, it should be done through a democratic process. The same principle applies to any proposed replacement. It MUST be done democratically. If many people were offended by the Colston statue, is it not conceivable many may be offended by a statue arbitrarily erected by someone else? Mob rule is not acceptable.
So, there must be a proper process for selecting any replacement, and appropriate due diligence carried out on any individuals so proposed to be commemorated. Who has done the due diligence on Jen Reid and determined she is entirely appropriate to be commemorated?
If it was inappropriate for Colston to arbitrarily enter the slave trade, it is entirely wrong for someone to now arbitrarily declare that Reid’s statue should be erected.
I have also heard it stated one of the problems with the City Council determining what the replacement should be, is minorities would not be represented.
Well, maybe people should take a little more interest in local politics then. I would also be interested to know how many of those responsible for falling Colston’s statue were members of the Bristol electorate!
There is a body of opinion that people’s views are disregarded. Well, take time to vote and elect someone who will represent you. The turn-out in local council elections is rarely higher than 40%. If the other 60% got off their backsides and bothered to vote they could clearly influence the result.
So, I am fed-up of listening to people bleating on about not being represented, when they cannot even be bothered to cast the vote that others have fought so hard to get for them.
Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I once, when young, declined an opportunity to help my professional body, because I didn’t wish to be seen as just another white male in a grey suit. I reversed that decision, as soon as I realised I should get involved, as it was the best way of bringing about change…from the inside.
Maybe now is the time for BLM to become a bona fide political animal and seek election to local council’s through the proper process. Or even do it at a national level. Mob rule is not acceptable!
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