So Cecil John Rhodes’ statue managed to survive the night but for how much longer? Protesters blocked the streets of Oxford yesterday demanding that the statue be taken down but so far the authorities have not caved in.
I certainly hope they do not. Yes, Rhodes was an Imperialist but he was a man of the times, as were the other ‘targets’ that the Black Lives Matter rioters have picked out to have their statues removed from the towns and cities of Britain. These men were proud of being British.
The nearest town to me is Tavistock, a peaceful market community that is dominated by a statue of its best known son, Sir Francis Drake. Drake has long been considered a hero in this part of the world, but he too was associated with the slave trade, as were most of his famous contempories, so according to the rioters – and I really can’t bring myself to call them protesters – all memorials to them should be removed.
Yes, Rhodes was an Imperialist but if he was a racist, it was according to the customs of the time. He went alone into the Matopos hills to parley with the Matabele Chiefs and halt a burgeoning war and when he died, the funeral procession leading up into those same Matopos was lined with many thousands of grieving Matabele. Would they have mourned his passing if he was indeed a racist?
And believe it or not, the current protests in Oxford are being led and directed by a former Rhodes scholar. Ndjodi Ndeunyema, a law student whose education has been partially funded by a trust set up by Rhodes told the world last night that ‘The statue remaining is an affront on the university’s support for movements such as Black Lives Matter. Rhodes is not worthy of veneration or glorification because of the racism and subjugation he represents.’
Rubbish Sir! If you do go on to succeed in your legal career, I wonder will you ever think about who funded your learning. Somehow I doubt it and I don’t suppose it occurs to you that the revered – and I have never been sure why – Nelson Mandela had no hesitation in having his name associated with that of Rhodes in the Mandela/Rhodes Trust for further scholarships.
What these rioters cannot seem to grasp is that racism in one form or another has always been part of Society and their increasingly violent and vociferous protests in some sort of twisted support for George Floyd is far more likely to inflame racism than ease it. Floyd is dead and the policemen who killed him will be tried and if found guilty, sentenced to imprisonment. Only a few years ago in the same city of Minneapolis, an Australian lady called Justine Damond was shot dead in her pyjamas by a police officer called Mahomed Noor. Nobody rioted over that. Noor was duly tried and went to jail but the incident was quickly forgotten. Damond was an honest lady trying to help the local community so I suppose her death wasn’t news. Plus of course, she was white!
I am sorry, but the sheer hypocrisy of it all makes me angry.
Of all the images – and there were thousands – displayed in the British Press about the ‘demonstrations’ last weekend, the one that sickened me most was a photograph of uniformed police officers running away from angry rioters. Where was their pride in their uniform damnit? When you join the police, you know that you will be required to put your life on the line from time to time, but you do it because you are proud of your uniform. Most coppers have shown raw courage at various points in their career and regarded it as part of ‘The Job.’ Some have lost their lives, others have had their bravery recognised with medals and citations but I have never, ever witnessed a bunch of policemen fleeing from yelling yobbery like that lot.
My own pride at having been a cop both here and in my home country took a serious knock I’m afraid.
And yet, playing politics seems far more important than proper policing in this crazy modern era. The tone was set for this latest copppering fiasco by an official statement most folk will have missed.
It was issued last Thursday by all Britain’s Chief Constables, the chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, the chief executive of the College of Policing and the President of the Police Superintendents’ Association. The statement read:
‘We stand alongside all those across the globe who are appalled and horrified by the way George Floyd lost his life. Justice and accountability should follow.
‘Officers are trained to use force proportionately, lawfully and only when absolutely necessary. We strive to continuously learn and improve. We will tackle bias, racism or discrimination wherever we find it . . .’
What on earth was that about? Why should the most senior coppers in Britain feel it necessary to pass comment on an incident which happened on another continent? What the hell has it got to do with them? I can’t remember a similar statement condemning police brutality in Russia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, or anywhere else for that matter. Where is the official British police reaction to Chinese repression in Hong Kong or the ongoing torrent of police brutality taking place in South Africa, Zimbabwe and a host of other African countries?
So why now?
A silly question I suppose. These Tinpot Twonks never miss an opportunity to burnish their ‘anti-racist’ credentials so they thought they’d get their pathetic virtue-signalling in first. The ‘woke’ Left were always going to hijack the death of George Floyd for their own purposes, even though most of them couldn’t point to Minnesota on a ruddy map.
I am sure that many of those who attended the weekend protests were sincere, but there is a time and place for everything, and this wasn’t it. We are currently in the middle of the greatest civil emergency since the second World War. As part of the efforts to combat the Coronabug, gatherings of more than six people have been banned. We can argue about the wisdom of that decision – and many of the Government’s other restrictions – but most people have happy to comply and many of those who have not done so have been prosecuted and fined.
Black Lives Matter shattered that sense of national unity. Thousands flooded into London, Cardiff, Bristol, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh in open defiance of social distancing rules.
We are told that members of black, Asian and ethnic minorities face a greater risk of dying from the coronabug, yet here were black (and white) citizens rubbing shoulders with complete strangers, regardless of the risk of transmission. Were they not worried that they could take the virus that has killed so many people back to their own families and communities? Why were they allowed to flout the rules so blatantly in any case?
Yet despite the fact that the demonstrators were breaking the law, they were cheered on by the usual turnips on the Left. Kneeling among the crowd, like an embarrassing disco-dancing uncle at a gay wedding, was the ridiculous Corbynite MP, Barry Gardiner – last seen leading the lynch mob against Dominic Cummings, the PM’s adviser who drove his family to Durham for the duration.
For a week, the self-righteous Left railed against Desperate Dom and all those Brexit-voting plebs who took their families to the seaside during the hot spell. But none of them has uttered a word of criticism about the people, whether sincere or not, breaking the lockdown in their thousands to join Black Lives Matter.
The police have threatened to fine anyone caught entertaining more than six people in their back garden so why did they allow the ‘protests’ to go ahead? If these were football fans, protesting about not being let back into grounds when the Premier League resumes, the Yard would have sent in the armed response units. If you or I decided to turn up at Downing Street, let off flares and throw a bicycle at a police horse, our feet wouldn’t touch the ground and quite rightly so. But if you’ve got a ‘cause’ – be it anti-racism, or climate change – the modern Plod are happy to let you get on with it.
We’ve been here before, most recently with Extinction Rebellion being allowed to bring London to a standstill for a week. Remember the skateboarding constable and the pink yacht in Oxford Circus? Was anyone surprised that Bristol police stood back and watched a gang of thugs demolish Edward Colston’s statue? This is the force – sorry ‘service’ – which gave that preposterous Thunberg adolescent a police escort in an electric car to address thousands of schoolchildren playing truant, just as we were becoming aware of the Coronabug threat.
Meanwhile, back in Whitehall, it was only a matter of time before ‘peaceful protest’ turned into violent anarchy – just as it did before during the student fees protests, the anti-globalisation protests, the anti-capitalist protests and virtually every other occasion when London mobs were allowed to do as they wanted.
Churchill’s statue defaced, the Cenotaph violated, frontline coppers attacked and so on and so forth. Some things just don’t change.
Only this time the craven posturing of Scotland Yard’s self-serving, careerist top brass – in thrall to all things diverse and fashionable – ended up with forty nine coppers injured and a young woman officer hospitalised with cracked ribs, a broken collarbone and a collapsed lung.
The British Police used to be regarded as the finest police force in the world but that is a title it has long since forfeited.