Over the weekend while a number of BLM events were taking place I saw several debates and even entered into a few that were focused on BLM and involved people who argued that campaign was in error for a number of reasons, one of which was because of the large number of crowds that had gathered in locations such as London, Brighton and Bristol with a huge risk to people suffering from or carrying COVID-19. On the other hand other people expressed views that although this was a high risk approach, that the death of George Floyd was a tipping point and his death followed on from many more deaths and abuse and our nation along with the USA needs to make changes to the way they treat black people and that is something I fully agree with, even though I would never have gone into a large crowd in the ways they were assembling. Of course by the time the events got to Bristol this needed to also reflect the thousands of black people who were murdered during the 300 year process of slavery which tragically still exists today, albeit in a very different format. Having been born and brought up until I was 18 in Liverpool and with a number of family members still there I can fully understand why Bristol is critical along with London, Liverpool and Manchester when it comes to Slavery and although our Parliament did eventually bring the formal part of slavery to an end, that took many years and involved a great deal of resistance from other people in the same Parliament. The pulling over of a Statue may seem very concerning to some people and clearly it is not a very British way of doing things as made clear by Johnson and Starmer albeit led by Priti Patel. It was particularly concerning that Priti Patel overstepped her role as Home Secretary by stepping over the role and responsibility that Sue Mountstevens has and going straight to the Chief Constable demanding that he should have behaved differently. Let us hope she gets reminded of the real role of Home Secretary in the next few days. It would of course also make a great deal of sense for them all to reflect on how our neighbours have pulled down statues of Lenin, of the Confederates and of Hussein all of whom our Governments applauded at the time and although a concrete wall is not a statue we were just as delighted to see that come down in Berlin a few years ago.
It seems vital that we find ways of separating the legitimate anger towards Colston based on the economic gain he achieved for Bristol along with my historic city and Manchester along with anger towards Cecil Rhodes for the same reason whose statue is also under threat compared to the very inappropriate attack on Churchill and War Memorials which are not in the same category, even though our previous Prime Minister and our wars did do many things wrong as we all do. The residents of Bristol have campaigned for many years to remove the Edward Colston statue and not succeeded, even though the School that was named after him had its name changed and the signs removed in the past as people sought to end the sense of applauding him. So given all of this when the photos appeared of the Lewes event which took place recently and organised by my friend Anthony Kalume I decided I could finally write a few words and in doing so promote his fantastic work. Then reading his piece on LinkedIn another person wrote about a similar event in Peterborough and one wonders how many other places chose to take a much more appropriate event and if the people who opposed the London, Bristol and Brighton event could instead promote the Lewes and Peterborough events? The simple fact is that in our nation