Nelson’s toughest fight yet?


Nelson’s toughest fight yet?

Rory Broomfield believes the Left are trying to rewrite history for their own expediency. He fears their tactics could destroy our understanding of nationhood and self. They need to change – for their own good, he says.

It is happening across the world – from America to Australia – and has previously been seen with the Rhodes Must Fall campaign in the UK. However, with The Guardian publishing an article calling on the statue of Nelson in Trafalgar Square to be toppled, the Left are looking to rewrite history and, by doing so, destroy the notion of togetherness within the UK.

The strategy is a clear one: to promote the notion that they are marginalised, oppressed and belittled in some way by wider society. To achieve this, many have turned their attentions towards statues and institutions throughout the world that, they say, glorify individuals who have owned slaves, colonised the world or promoted unequal rights between their ancestors and others. This, in their minds, is a way of suggesting that both they and their particular groups deserve special treatment.

What is missing is a realisation that the statutes are of men (statutes, I admit, are predominantly of men) who are remembered for acts beyond the protesters’ anger.

Take Princeton University and the school of public policy that is named after the 28th President of the United States of America, Woodrow Wilson. At the university, there has been a campaign to rename the school not because the protesters didn’t like Wilson’s foreign policy, but because they didn’t like his ‘racist legacy’. What the protesters didn’t seem to understand though is that the school was not named after Wilson to glorify the reasons behind their hatred. On the contrary, according to the school’s website, it was named “in the spirit of Woodrow Wilson’s interest in preparing students for leadership in public and international affairs”.

And so, to the statue of Nelson. For, whatever Nelson’s views were on the treatment of others (and I understand he treated his ship’s crew very well by the standards of the day), he has a statue on top of a column in Whitehall because he helped save this nation, its values and its traditions for future generations in the United Kingdom to cherish and to build on. He is not celebrated and commemorated for whatever The Guardian journalists are now saying, but for his heroism and leadership in the face of adversity.

There are plenty of legitimate ways to point out real problems faced by certain groups in the UK – and elsewhere. Whether they are campaigns concerning income, academic attainment or access to public spaces, there are multiple ways of raising the issue without resorting to the rewriting of history or the destruction of property.

An alternative approach, for example, may be what many have tried and achieved in the past: the building of more statutes, not the destruction and / or replacement of those that already exist. What this would achieve is a positive recognition of those within a particular community that they believe in the values of that individual. It would not mean that we discount our past and look to rewrite it.

What might happen though is, through the targeting of statues of men like Nelson, the positive qualities that we remember – and teach our children about – could be lost. By pursuing this tactic and looking to topple Nelson, some basic values which we understand to be shared throughout society could be undermined.

However, these protesters should be very careful in this regard. First, they come for Woodrow Wilson. Why should, therefore, the statutes of former US President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) still stand? Then, they come for Cecil Rhodes. Why should, therefore, statues of Gandhi still stand?

Both FDR and Gandhi were human, like we all are, and made comments and decisions that can be criticised in hindsight and that some people today would not agree with. For instance, I learn through my friend and historian, Dr. Stephen Thompson, that FDR signed Executive Order 9066 leading to between 110,000 and 120,000 Japanese-Americans (62% of which were as American as the people guarding them) being incarcerated after Pearl Harbor was attacked. I also learn through others that a statute of Gandhi was to be removed in Ghana through protests at “alleged past racist comments”. If Wilson and Rhodes, why not FDR and Gandhi?

To be clear, I do not wish for any of these statutes to be brought down. I find the whole exercise ridiculous – and dangerous. The activity allows governments to rewrite history in a way to suit them. It is the way of statism – and the former Soviet Republic. It is not the way of an open, democratic society with different ideas that can be discussed, debated and celebrated. I’d rather live in the latter if you don’t mind.

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  • Rory Broomfield
    Rory Broomfield
    Rory Broomfield is Director of The Freedom Association and the Better Off Out campaign. He is an authority on the EU and has written a number of books including his latest, co-authored with Iain Murray, Cutting the Gordian Knot: A Roadmap for British Exit from the European Union. He has previously worked in the City of London and in Westminster for a number of Members of Parliament, including the current Prime Minister, Theresa May; the current Chairman of the 1922 Committee, Graham Brady; and Sir Richard Shepherd.
    • abx

      Not sure if the Statue of Cecil Rhodes has been removed. If so , could it be installed on the empty Plinth at Trafalgar Square?

      And while we are on the subject, let’s erect a statue of Kipling next to that of Ghandi and one of Ridder Haggard next to that of Mandela.

    • forgotten_man

      These people obviously think that ‘1984’ is an instruction manual..

    • Dodgy Geezer

      …There are plenty of legitimate ways to point out real problems faced by certain groups in the UK – and elsewhere….

      Using technology, we have created a world where the vast majority of people can live lives of exceptional comfort, without wanting for anything.

      Many people actually WANT to be annoyed – to be offended, to fight against injustice. But there is very little injustice left, and what there is is rather dangerous to fight against. You would be going up against real violent inner-city gangs, terrorism and rich powerful countries like Saudi Arabia and China. Using ‘legitimate’ ways to point out problems here can lose you friends and get you killed.

      Much easier to gather taxpayers money and create a series of things to be offended about here at home. And, since we’re running out of ‘safe’ things to get offended about, the list of reasons to be angry gets ever more threadbare by the day…

    • Catesby

      I read a good blog yesterday about this rewriting of history and twisting it around to blame whites for everything –

    • hugodegauche

      Until people understand that there is a common agenda between the liberal left/the authoritarian state and big global business interests, then all these words are not going to stop anything. The ‘left’ are not interested in reforming themselves. They already know they are wrong but the means justifies the end as far as they are concerned. But without the State enforcing their demented ideas and without big business going along for the ride, the liberal left are exposed for what they are: forever toddlers screaming at anything that upsets their self regarding mindset.

    • Dacorum

      Anyone who supports the removal of Nelson from Nelson’s column is an ignorant and stupid traitor.

      Nelson was a national hero who saved us from invasion and who was much very much loved by the entire country, rich and poor alike. His state funeral was attended by everyone of note and attracted crowds the like of which London had never seen before or since. Huge crowds attended five days of ceremonies in Greenwich, on the River Thames, in the streets of London and in St Paul’s Cathedral. It was a demonstration of the widespread affection in which the dead hero was held. Form what gutter did the Guardian spring from to question all that?

      I believe we should be just as protective of other statues like that of Major General Havelock whose statue is also at Trafalgar Square and which I admired, along with that of Nelson’s, on my visit to the National Gallery this last week. Havelock’s plaque reads “Soldiers, your labours, your privations, your sufferings and your valour will not be forgotten by a grateful country”. Sadly they have been forgotten but we must be true to them and their memory by defending them from attacks from totally unworthy ignorant scumbags such as the person who wrote the article and newspaper that printed it.

    • Andrew Mitchell

      I watched some woman on TV saying that Nelsons statue should be dropped, and she too said this was because Nelson once owned or worked within what was a huge business at that time, slavery, I was annoyed that the interviewer nor the other person on the show had the brains to ask this woman if she and her friends are planning on protesting and demanding that some Muslim Mosque’s are dropped because, unlike Nelson who was involved a few hundreds years ago when people didn’t know any better, ISIS are today, right now, buying and selling woman and girls from 8yrs old and up, into slavery, some used as cleaners, cooks and general dogs body’s for these scumbags, many including children, sold as sex slaves, again this is happening today, so will they be protesting outside some Mosque’s? I doubt it some how!

    • SonofBoudica

      The Left is destroying our history as a deliberate way of destroying our sense of self and national identity. Mass immigration, multiculturalism, political correctness and now revision of history is all being done as a means to an end. Only by removing our sense of belonging, and national cohesion, can the Left create the necessary revolutionary conditions for a “new order” in which one party rules and the population is subservient to it. Milne and McDonnell are the architects. Corbyn is the ignorant puppet.

    • Alan Beresford B’Stard

      This tells us everything we need to know about the Left & modern politics :-
      – In the UK, The 52% who voted for Brexit are labelled by the Liberal/Left as “jihaddi’s” for wanting the democratic result to be obeyed and not watered down
      – So called ”Liberals” are then deathly quiet about the lunatic actions of the left for wanting to remove historic statues.
      – However where had this type of mindless action most recently been displayed ?,,, Why the middle east of course! . Most recently by ISIS who destroyed countless sites and antitiquities. Also the Taliban destroyed the Bamiyan Buddhas shortly before 9/11. All of which again, the left were curiously silent about. No doubt taking notes!!!

    • ethanedwards2002

      Oh how I laughed at the film idiocracy. Now I find it’s becoming a freaking instruction manual for young morons.

      This hang up about inanimate monuments is just plain bloody daft.

      Morons against Monuments.

    • The Raven King

      Travelling across Arizona some years ago, I met up with several Navajo guides. Many were former US Army trackers in Iraq. They told a different story about American hero FDR. Apparently he sent in the National Guard into Navajo lands & reservations in the 1930s & pursued a policy of mass extermination of all of their livestock – sheep & cattle – to enforce dependency by the tribe on the US government. It’s a different view of the socialist New Deal hero. But very telling. The story of the treatment of the native American is a tragedy few talk about. Neither are they the fashionable “victims” of current identity politics. Interestingly, today when you travel across their lands you have to turn your clock back an hour from the rest of America,

    • MiffedBrigade

      When can we start the book-burning, please?

      • Journeyman

        When the temperature reaches 451 degrees Fahrenheit. (Not long to wait if you believe the global warmist fear mongering)

    • Terry Mushroom

      I’m rather hoping that someone will propose that Marx’s head in Highgate Cemetery should be removed. Millions upon millions of corpses, countless lives ruined…

      • MiffedBrigade

        How about the demolition of the slave-built pyramids?

        • Dr Evil

          They were not built by slaves. These workers were paid.

          • Dacorum

            But as Enoch said above “They were built by people who owned slaves, therefore EVIL RACIST SCUM. DESTROY!” and by the same logic as the author of the idiotic Guardian writer, should be destroyed.

        • Jenni Wren

          They weren’t built by slaves

          • Enoch Powell

            They were built by people who owned slaves, therefore EVIL RACIST SCUM. DESTROY!

    • Owen_Morgan

      It’s “statues”, not “statutes”, for heaven’s sake. Otherwise, I agree.

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