Last week I was deluged with email messages for having called out rioters, looters and arsonists, but this week I’ve been inundated with messages demanding more robust police action against marauding mobs that are defacing public monuments.
Constituents have expressed their anger at watching the Police standing by (or even kneeling). My solidarity however, is for the vast majority of our police who have a very difficult balance to strike and end up being seriously injured for taking the trouble.
Values and standards change, and every generation has the right to reappraise the actions and attitudes of its predecessors, and that this might even extend to the removal of monuments if that is done by consent and lawful means.
What is completely unacceptable is to have people taking things into their own hands.
There is a proper democratically controlled planning process for the removal of listed monuments and changing the name of a street requires the formal consent of two-thirds of local taxpayers who reside in it.
It is a measure of the mindlessness of the mob that they take out their anger on monuments rather than put their energy into addressing, through our democratic system, the injustice of which they complain. The truth is that these anarchists have no interest in consent and democratic politics, like the fascists from whom they differ so little, they want to impose mob rule without consent.
The attacks on the Cenotaph and on the statue of Sir Winston Churchill show that the mobs are determined to outrage public opinion.
Our history over centuries is bound to have thrown up both great achievements and terrible horror stories. As Historic England puts It
“We cannot pretend to have a different history. The statues in our cities and towns were put up by previous generations. They had different perspectives, different understandings of right and wrong. But those statues teach us about our past, with all its faults. To tear them down would be to lie about our history, and impoverish the education of generations to come.”
I’d put it a little stronger: seeking to erase the past in this way is no better than Daesh when it destroyed the standing Buddhas in Afghanistan, and ancient ruins of Palmyra in Syria.
If we followed the absurd mindset of the mobs we’d erase every remaining trace of Roman civilisation in the our Island and the Egyptians would tear down the pyramids.
Some of the emails to me have been so despondent about mob behaviour that I have had to try and cheer them up. I tell them that the hysteria will pass, it usually does.