Return of the Statue-Wars

David Olusoga reported, recently (in The Observer, I think) on how the council in Newcastle (I think) was proposing to add plaques to its Boer War memorial, to explain the colonial context and history of that conflict. This is the very solution to the statue-wars that some conservative commentators had suggest, as an alternative to removing and/or destroying embarrassing celebrations of past colonial crimes. Of course, this proposal is now being attacked by the conservative press as another example of the left’s attempt to destroy British culture and Heritage.

I suppose such a push-back was inevitable, but the right has been able to absorb this perfectly reasonable suggestion into their narrative of the culture wars with ease, because the radical left has collaborated with them in creating a landscape of conflict in the first place. The left were the people who conceived of society as being made up of alienated and unequal tribes who were at each other’s throats. If you emphasise our differences and turn resentment and revenge into virtues, you will create an environment of hostility and entrenched prejudice. How, then, will you persuade the privileged elites and majorities to relinquish power and foster hostility? By telling all white people they are privileged and racist, you are enacting a massive recruitment drive for the real racist organisations and attitudes.  

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