UK Government Criticised For Plans To Protect Statues While Pandemic Worsens
The UK government has come under fire for plans to introduce a law protecting statues from being removed ‘on a whim or at the behest of a baying mob’.
Communities secretary Robert Jenrick announced the plans in an article for the Sunday Telegraph, in which he said generations-old monuments ought to be ‘considered carefully.’
It comes after protesters pulled down the statue of slave trader Edward Colston last year, as part of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Four people were charged with criminal damage in relation to the removal of the statue, while six more were handed conditional cautions for their part in it.
The incident sparked conversations about what we as a nation should do about statues that represent the troubled history of our country; however, Jenrick has said we should not try to edit or censor our past.
‘Our view will be set out in law, that such monuments are almost always best explained and contextualised, not taken and hidden away,’ he wrote.
‘We live in a country that believes in the rule of law, but when it comes to protecting our heritage, due process has been overridden. That can’t be right.’
Local people should have the chance to be consulted whether a monument should stand or not.
What has stood for generations should be considered thoughtfully, not removed on a whim or at the behest of a baying mob.
However, Jenrick and the government have come under fire for the timing of their proposals, considering the current plight of the pandemic, which continues to claim thousands of lives, driving many more to poverty and starvation.
‘Glad to hear government has time to legislate about statues, now that it has solved the pandemic, economic crisis, child poverty, climate change, and all our other challenges,’ one person tweeted.
A second wrote:
The mishandling of the pandemic response has caused widespread economic & social fallout, the UK is in its 3rd national lockdown, the official death toll is nearly 90K, yet UK government ministers are busying themselves tweaking planning law to protect statues eulogising empire.
‘When a government cares more about protecting colonial statues than frontline workers,’ another wrote, while a fourth added: ‘Just why would the government want to talk about this now?’
Meanwhile, a COVID patient is being admitted to hospital every 30 seconds in England, as cases continue to rise.
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