Friday, 12 June 2020


UPDATE 13/06/20

Eeek, I now find myself on the same side as the far Right, htf did that happen?  My saving grace is that my desire to preserve statues and landmarks comes from an entirely different perspective.  I see them as educational, what school child hasn't stood in awe at the granite manifestation of the dreary old Admiral they were forced to read about.  Times have changed, so too have our heroes.  The dark sides of most of the characters immortalised in marble and granite are now widely known, this generation know that much of what these 'heroes' did was wrong.  They are not idolised, they are warnings from the past, if we can no longer see them, isn't there a danger their evil deeds will also be forgotten?

The Far Right of course, are posturing, they went to London today for a fight but unfortunately for them, the peaceful marchers of Black Lives Matter, had the day off.  Now hyped up on cans of lager they are fighting with the police and urinating on the landmarks they had sworn to protect.  For them, this not about preserving art and history, it is about hyping up the symbolism these statues represent.  The Cenotaph represents the fallen of World Wars I and II, all those who died fighting Nazism.  What do they think their hero Winston Churchill, would make of their salutes to his enemy Hitler in front of the Cenotaph? Perhaps they don't know Churchill had a 'V' for victory sign and that the antifascists won.  The sorrow lies in the fact that most of those marching in London today, have no idea what they are defending.

My hope, more of a prayer right now, is that the character of London is never changed, that all those wonderful old buildings and statues remain as they are.  Our history is rich with characters both good and bad and we have always acknowledged, accepted and learned from that.  Erasing those characters who were bad simply takes away chunks from the bigger story and allows their atrocities to be too easily forgotten.


What a shame police brutality and Black Lives Matter, has now become 'the Battle of the Statues' and that removing statues and renaming streets and universities has now become the central issue. We should be talking about the massive reform needed within the police and the entire dominant ideology that allows police brutality towards people of colour to exist.

The battle of the statues and the street names can wait another day, it's waited hundreds of years thus far and there are far more pressing matters. People are out in their millions all over the world because society will no longer turn a blind eye to black men and women being killed and assaulted by the police.  That's the issue, let's stay focused.  

Like a lot of people, I too chuckled, as the statue of Edward Colston was thrown in the river where he docked his slave ships.  It was symbolic, it was the physical manifestation of our shared hatred of his despicable trade.  Around that time I shared a tweet from a guy who said, school children learned more about Edward Colston and the slave trade with that one act, than from an history lesson.  Indeed.

But after that I started to panic, because now all historic figures and landmarks are under threat, so too, I assume, all forms of Art, they have even withdrawn 'Little Britain' and 'Gone with the Wind' will also soon be cleaned up.  Will 2020 be the '1984' George Orwell warned us about.  Is history about to be erased?  Will those visiting London find that the 'Sights' have gone because the statues of those who expanded the empire did so by colonising and suppressing other nations.  Maybe it will begin with Queen Victoria.

I would ask, how can destroying history, ever be a good thing?  I am not talking about the destruction of statues by angry mobs, but the removal of statues and renaming of streets by local authorities without any discussion with the people they represent.  It feels like an authoritarian move, even though it is supposedly on the part of the good guys.  

As I explained a few days ago.  Statues are often the target during marches and protests, because they represent the 'Institution', the ideology of the ruling classes.  They represent a time when the elite chose our heroes for us, usually regal, military or political.  True most of them do not represent heroes in the moral and humanitarian sense, but they represent a country's history, warts and all.  Most of us are sophisticated enough to form our own opinions on those characters from history, we might despise what some of them represent, but they are constant reminder of our past.  They are a learning tool, Oliver Cromwell becomes far more interesting when you look at his elevated statue outside Parliament.  He was the scourge of the Irish, ergo offensive, but are his atrocities more likely to be forgotten if his statue is removed, than if it remained with a placard giving a potted history?  

It is only now, whilst the whole world appears to be marching, that attention has turned to these relics of the past.  Statues we have walked past and streets we have walked on for centuries, now represent the hated colonialism of our past.  Are we the first 'woke' generation to see this?  Why here, why now?  Swallows blue pill.  I'm scared.  Where will it end?  This mass worldwide  'Movement' has become so large that they are taking power, and not necessarily the sane ones.  Like the #MeToo movement, it's either opt in, or be a monster.  The entertainment industry and the celebrities are already rushing to distance themselves from anything that could be perceived as racist, from the past.  

Erasing history is where I part company with the far Left.  I simply cannot get on board with this culture of being offended.  Who decided we should all now be offended by statues and landmarks?  And how will tearing them down make anyone feel any better?  If the bad guys are forgotten, won't the things they did be forgotten too?  Isn't the history of what they did an incentive to make sure it never happens again?  History is one of those 'it is as it is' subjects, it can't be changed, but we can learn from it.  Edward Colston for example, has probably been one of the most googled names this week, ergo thousands of people, some for the first time, learned about the slave trade in England.  That's a good thing.

Whilst they have the power, the movement should focus on things that can be changed right here and right now, institutional racism and police brutality.  The public are no longer willing to tolerate it or turn a blind eye, particularly in the USA where gun violence from the police takes so many black lives.  Finally, the power of the masses when they unite is beginning to mean something.  And the fact that they are uniting in the middle of a pandemic shows the strength of feeling.  Trump won't 'give in' to people power, so will probably spend the rest of his presidency under siege if he can't start a Civil War but Biden is listening, and big changes will come.  When historians look back on 2020, let's hope the worldwide marches will mark the year the people said no to racism, and not the year history started to be erased.


  1. Hello Rosalinda and others

    “Khan told Sky News that the ‘Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm’ will review all London’s landmarks, including murals, street art, street names and other public memorials”

    I find this topic most interesting to discuss, but also very scary.

    My God, what is happening in the UK? This is flagrant history distortion and history revision, which is very much like what happened in the former Soviet Union, when the towers of the churches were torn down and names of streets and cities were not allowed to be reminiscent of the Tsar era. In addition, the art and the literature, that was considered politically reprehensible were forbidden as were irony and satire (ref the recent removal of fawlty-towers-German satire episode)

    What about the prehistoric Stonehenge. Does that monument represent diversity? If not, why not replace it by a multicultural artwork, depicting all the different races and genders working towards the complete utopia of eternal diversity.

    I’ll read your post tomorrow Rosalinda and I’ll be back Sunday evening to further discuss it. Yes there’s really a lot to say about denying, erasing the past or making up stories about it.

    Have Nice Weekend Rosalinda


    'It was the first time Macron has spoken on the issues since George Floyd’s death in the United States unleashed protests around the world, including several in France, where demonstrators have expressed anger at racial injustice and police brutality, particularly toward minorities from France’s former colonies in Africa.

    Unusually for a French leader, Macron acknowledged that someone’s “address, name, color of skin” can reduce their chances at succeeding in French society, and called for a fight to ensure that everyone can “find their place” regardless of ethnic origin or religion. He promised to be “uncompromising in the face of racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination”.

    However, he insisted that France will not take down statues of controversial, colonial-era figures as has happened in some other countries in recent weeks.

    Amid calls for taking down statues tied to France’s slave trade or colonial wrongs, Macron said “the republic will not erase any trace, or any name, from its history ... it will not take down any statue”.

    “We should look at all of our history together” including relations with Africa, with a goal of “truth” instead of “denying who we are”, Macron said.

    Macron also said that the fight against racism became distorted when it became exploited by what he described as “separatists”.

    “It is necessary to unite around Republican patriotism. We are a nation where everyone — whatever their origin and religion — can find their place,” he said.'

    1. Thank you 14:36 for posting that very pertinent news item and thank you Bjorn for responding to it.

      I too agree with Macron and kudos to him for laying out his views unambiguously. That is the leadership we here in the UK are lacking. By pussyfooting around the issue, Johnson is keeping the matter live and up for debate. Many of those statues have been up for centuries, it is crazy to make decisions about them during civil unrest with a gun to your head. Once the wrecking ball comes out, that's it, they're gone. Again, many thanks 14:36 for posting that.

  3. @14:36

    Nice one. Many thanks.

  4. Hi Rosalinda and others (especially anon 15 June 14:36)

    Here's my view on banning statues, books etc, very much the same as Macron's.

    The more Art and literature become banned for moral reasons, the easier it’ll be to distort history and make room for the creation of all kinds of future totalitarian regimes.

    Having said that, it’s almost inevitable to overlook Ray Bradbury's “Fahrenheit 451” from the 50s and its main message to “the children of the future”(if I may use your words Rosalinda), which was a warning against a passive lifestyle, with no critical thinking, that could lead to the loss of a whole nation’s collective historical memory, making its people susceptible to any political rule regardless of ideology.

    Stasi in the former DDR is a good example of an institution in a totalitarian state, which by all means tried to separate the new state from its past. The understandable denial of the Nazi era among the DDR citizens, also became the denial of traditional Germanism and the Kremlin exploited this deception by supporting the DDR regime's ambition to build its socialism on a history-free basis. Thus, the DDR nationalism wasn’t really rooted in any historical context and therefore not genuinely embraced by the people. Yet we must not forget that there was in fact a DDR culture in its own right beyond the political reality and apart from the growing cruelty of the repressive regime. A kind of paradox, I’d say.

    For some strange reason, a lot of East German books, one of which was “Der Geteilte Himmel” freely translated “Separated Worlds” / by Christa Wolf, ended up at the university library in our city (Linköping), after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the DDR embassy in Stockholm had been closed down. I then took the chance to read some of this "treasure of literature" and discovered a world of idealism and search for a better world outside the western culture, but unfortunately we all know it failed, and that needs to be discussed on many levels.

    The cultural era of the DDR has become as much forgotten as the country in which it originated.

    When I recently read Andrea Hünninger's novel "Meine Jugend nach der Mauer / My youth after the Wall", I was reminded of how easy it is to distort or make people forget about the past. Andrea H., who was only a child when the wall fell, describes the cultural emptiness, her ambiguous national identity and her parents' silence about the utopian society, which they once so enthusiastically embraced.

    I would like to summarize this by saying; Keeping history alive doesn't mean that you share all the values from the past, but it definitely helps you in understanding the present

    1. Thank you Bjorn for your reply. I should quickly add for my fellow Brits, that DDR is the German version of GDR - German Democratic Republic 1949-1990 - more commonly known to most of us as East Germany. And yes, I did have to look it up!

      I'm afraid I fell into the trap of forgetting that Germany was once divided into East and West and of course the many years of Cold War. I never liked Reagan, but I will give him that, he did bring the Wall down.

      I suppose you could compare the East/West divide of Germany to the stark differences between North and South Korea. That is those living under the dictatorship of King Jong Un, can only look longingly at the lives of those living in South Korea. As you so eloquently pointed out Bjorn, totalitarian regimes erase history, perhaps because they don't want their people to remember that it was better before.

      I agree with your final statement, it shouldn't need to be said, but keeping history alive does not mean that you share all the values from the past, it means you are aware of them, you know about them. Knowing about your past is all part of being enlightened.

      I think Bjorn, history has proven time and time again, that there is no such thing as a Utopian society. As writers from Voltaire to Orwell, to Huxley, and many others since, special mention for Philip K. Dick here, even perfect societies are filled with people trying to escape. The main problem of course is individualism and free will, something even the harshest dictatorship can supress.

      But our capitalist system is no great shakes either. Like third world countries, we still have a massive divide between the rich and the poor, and that's not looking to change anytime soon.

      These huge marches all over the world will probably be recorded by history as a rise in socialism, it might even be the beginning of a Revolution, with this century's Stalins, Lenins and Trotskys leading the attack on the statues. But these are different times, the authorities have the forces, firearms and water cannons should things get out of hand, toppling a government these days, would take some pretty complex war planning, so I doubt anyone will seriously try, but then again Louis XV1 may have thought the same thing.

      Regardless that we will have a different world when we emerge from this pandemic, civil unrest and forthcoming depression, capitalism will survive because it's so darn popular. Most people like to buy cheap things, they don't care about the exploitation or suffering of those who make and produce those 'cheap things'. It's the 'I'm alright Jack' culture (a Brit thing Bjorn), an ingrained selfishness that maintains the status quo.

      But, thank you for your very interesting post, take care.

    2. Rosalinda Hutton16 June 2020 at 14:49

      Congratulations, Ros!

      “I should quickly add for my fellow Brits, that DDR is the German version of GDR - German Democratic Republic 1949-1990 - more commonly known to most of us as East Germany.”

      That was mercifully quick indeed! So you think your ‘fellow Brits’, your readers, are as knowledgeable (Not) as yourself?

      “And yes, I did have to look it up!”

      I wish you did the looking up more often so as to get your facts straight even if only occasionally. Mind you, ignorance might be bliss, particularly for a Hollywood scholar: why the hell let facts get in the way of a stream of consciousness…

      “I never liked Reagan, but I will give him that, he did bring the Wall down.”

      Of course, give Reagan that which is not his, he’s part of Hollywood.

      “Knowing about your past is all part of being enlightened.”

      Yes, you would know about that from Hollywood films and being enlightened, wouldn’t you?


      But, thank you for your very interesting post, take care.


    3. Good heavens W, what an unpleasant character you are. You bring to mind the scowling, gurning, old dad in Steptoe and Son.

      You have called me out for getting facts wrong, yet have not mentioned a single instance or example to support your accusation. Again, you are ignoring the content of the blog to attack me personally. Sad.

      Aah Reagan, you think I supported the Wall coming down because Ronald Reagan had been a Hollywood actor? How absurd. I actually did a long essay about Ronald Reagan while at university, ergo, I researched him in great depth. Did you know for example, that although Reagan often appeared during the War wearing US Airforce/Marine uniforms, he never enlisted and never left California. This did not stop him saying, that like every other returning soldier, he looked forward to going home to his wife and family. A tad disingenuous, no?

      He was also involved with Joe MacCarthy in HUAC, House of Un-American Activities in rooting out communists and blacklisting. Hollywood was put on trial with many talented actors and writers having their careers destroyed - ergo, do you honestly think my 'Hollywood bias' perceives RR as the good guy?

      Your scorn for Hollywood films makes me sad W. My love of movies has enriched my life and led to many happy family times and many loved and valued friendships. I hope I never get to the stage where I am not in awe of great movies, I think if that happened, I would have given up on life. This doesn't mean that I do not know the difference between fact and fiction, again absurd.

      I doubt at this stage of your life W, you will even dip a toe into the Arts, which is a shame, there is so much to learn, yet you are missing it all. But while I am handing out Hollywood trivia, do you understand that films represent the culture that existed at the time, but writers and actors worked hard to get their subversive messages across and past the draconian censorship of the Hays Code. It's quite amusing looking beneath the storyline out for the snippets and the nods from stars to their superfans. On a broader scale, artists since time began have used the arts to convey messages, through paintings, music and literature. See Charles Dickens, who's fictional works (also made into movies) drew attention to the plight of the poor and the underclasses, more so, some might say, than a long, boring speech from a self-righteous politician. Do you see how it works?


    4. “Do you see how it works?”

      I see very well how it works: you haven’t published my reply.


    5. You insulted me. I insulted you. We're done.

      If I had wanted to spend my life bickering, I would have stayed married.

    6. Ros, and you haven’t published mine 17 June 2020 at 23:48

      Z (not Ziggy)

    7. Hi W 17 June 2020 at 12:30

      “Yes, you would know about that from Hollywood films and being enlightened, wouldn’t you?”, you spitefully says to Rosalinda, yet I claim that anyone can always learn something from Hollywood.

      I remember so well how I as a teenager felt, when I saw the film based on Boris Pasternak's novel "Dr Zhivago". It was a Hollywood production. Of course, it wasn’t possible for any American film company to film any scenes in Russia, so Karelia in Finland, old districts in Turku and Helsinki became substitutes. Anyway, I got a feel for Russia and a more nuanced description of Russian people and Russian culture than the Swedish cultural media conveyed at that time.

      What I am surprised at today after so many years is how well the director and the actors managed to capture the underlying reality of Pasternak’s narrative as well as the Russian soul, given how difficult or impossible it must have been to communicate with any free-thinking Russian cultural personality, let alone with Pasternak himself.

      I have seen the movie so many times since then and I have only found one small scene, that a Russian film director would’ve done a little differently and it’s a scene in which Dr Zhivago writes a love letter to Lara and uses big Cyrillic Russian print letters. A Russian would always use Russian writing style letters. Apart from this, the film is a masterpiece.

      Please, watch this film some time and you'll learn about the русская душа/the Russian soul.

    8. Rosalinda Hutton 19 June 2020 at 15:27

      I think you are being unfair to ‘W’, Rosalinda dear.

      What can be said about the scholarship of someone who says “he [Ronald Reagan] did bring the Wall down”* and, on the same page, in justification, “I actually did a long essay about Ronald Reagan while at university, ergo, I researched him in great depth”?

      Also, I don’t think you use the expression ergo correctly.



      *Ronald Reagan did not “bring the Wall down

    9. I don't want my blog filled with bickering posts and spiteful pedantry T. W doesn't even mention the subject of the blog and actually neither did you.

      As for the word 'ergo' - it is currently one of my favourite words and it worked exactly as I wanted it to in the above sentence. Think 'ergo = therefore'. That is the beauty of the English Language T, it is fluid.

      Your final sentence about Ronald Reagan is interesting, would you like to expand?

      Kindest wishes.

    10. Hi Bjorn, my apologies for the delay in replying, I hope you are well.

      I agree Bjorn, Dr. Zhivargo was an awesome movie on so many levels, maybe the Russian equivalent of Gone with the Wind. But even with the Hollywood gloss, it gave millions a glimpse into the Russian character. So too did the Siege of Stalingrad - Russians do not give up!

      I am currently watching and enjoying enormously, Ekatarina on Amazon, it is a drama about the life of Catherine the Great produced by the Russian Federation. I have to say in costume, design and scenery, it is just as lavish as anything produced by Hollywood and even though I have to read the subtitles, the actors are so good, I can fully understand their characters and motivation.

      Fortunately, or unfortunately, a lot of people learn about history through 'the movies'. Unfortunate because film makers use artistic licence, sometimes altering facts to make their production fit into a 90 minute production. But the point, or the hope, is that the audience may research the topic a little further.

      But using entertainment as a learning tool is not a new concept. I remember having a random conversation with my younger son when he was 9ish, about Greek Mythology. I was astonished by his knowledge which all came, apparently, from watching Hercules the cartoon!

      I often joke, but tis true, that my own interest in history was sparked by the 'Carry On' films. These were a series of English comedy films in the 1960's and 70s with a regular cast of oddball characters recreating history amongst other things, in their own unique, often slapstick way. For me, it was my first introduction to the Roman Empire (Carry on Cleo), Henry VIII (Carry on Henry), the French Revolution (Carry on Don't Lose your Head), British Imperialism (Carry on Up the Khyber) and the Wild West (Carry On Cowboy).

      Some people believe that looking down their noses at movies, Hollywood or otherwise, makes them appear elite and academic, like the highest Judges in the land who know nothing about popular culture. Presumably, we must assume they always have their heads buried in multiple volumes of obscure books. But here's a thing, there is nothing to say those books, no matter how old they are, are any more accurate than the movies. Spin wasn't a 21st century discovery. I don't see ignorance of popular culture as a sign of intelligence, what I actually see is a closed mind.

      Anyway, rant over, enjoy your day Bjorn and take care.

    11. Rosalinda Hutton 23 June 2020 at 11:41

      Rosalinda dear, first thing first.

      You might remember a couple of years ago you learnt, from my comment, about onus probandi - whoever makes a claim carries the burden of proof. In this instance, the obligation is on you to provide sufficient justification for your giving credit to Ronald Reagan for his bringing down the Wall. You researched him in great depth, ergo, it is reasonable to suppose that naming the source of your knowledge with regard to his bringing down the Wall shouldn’t be a problem for you.



    12. I'm not sure 'onus probandi' applies to a blog - this isn't a Court of Law, and if it were, I have it all pretty much covered with the word 'musing'.

      What concerns me more T, is your motivation here, it's as if you are trying to embarrass me? Surely not. Did I make an error in giving Reagan credit for the Wall coming down? I don't know, and I'm not going to spend any time going back over it, it is not a subject I am interested in at this time.

      This clearly bothers you far more than it does me T, so please do go ahead and clarify why my remark about Ronald Reagan was wrong. Kind regards.

  5. Nazi Headstones and Confederate Statues Should Be Treated the Same

  6. Good morning England. These are the people who are going to write your history, rule your children of the future, educate them and preserve your culture, statues and all. Welcome to the brave new world. Good luck.

    He's holding a sign that literally just says "the right to openly discuss ideas must be defended."

  7. Knocking ‘statues’


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  11. Thank you to all who sent links, but I would honestly prefer to read your own opinion.

  12. Roosevelt [Theodore, not FDR, for those who know the difference] Statue to Be Removed From Museum of Natural History

  13. Police say NO crime was committed when Burnley fan flew 'White Lives Matter' banner over match at Manchester City - but club vows to 'root out these racists' and hand lifetime bans to those involved

  14. Calls for redesign of royal honour over 'offensive' image