Labour council sparks fury with plan to cancel war memorial for links to colonial abuses

Cancel culture slammed by radio presenter Patrick Christys

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Newcastle City Council is planning to give a new “suitable interpretation” to a monument honouring the 370 local British fatalities in the Boer War. The decision was made following the wave of Black Lives Matter protests which took place across the UK last summer.

Council documents claim the Second Boer War was a “colonialist enterprise” and the monument in its current form is no longer appropriate.

The statue, officially called the South African War Memorial, has stood proud at the Haymarket for more than 100 years.

Members of the public paid for the 1908 memorial to commemorate those lost in the 1899-1902 conflict.

The column is 24m tall and depicts Nike, the Greek goddess of victory.

It lists the names of those who died in the war on its side.

The conflict was fought between the British Empire and Dutch settler forces in the South African Republic.

Settlers demanded the British stop sending more troops to the area and conflict broke out when the ultimatum was ignored.

Scorched earth tactics and concentration camps were used as tactics during the conflict.

The Labour council reassessed the statue as part of a review of “colonial abuses” commemorated in the city.

It said the war “does not reflect well on the history of Britain”.

The document warned of “current concerns about the appropriateness of commemorating” certain aspects of British history.

Under reforms proposed by the council the memorial will be sandwiched by two panels which will give extra context about the war.

But the plans have angered campaigners, who accuse the council of”virtue signalling”.

Free speech campaigner and fellow at the Policy Exchange Institute, Calvin Robinson, told “This particular monument was funded by British subjects of the time, to commemorate our fallen soldiers.

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“Who are we to re-assess that loss of lives based on our contemporary liberal progressive views and find them unworthy or memorialising?

“Yet another example of re-writing the past in order to virtue signalling.

“Oh, how tolerant we have become.”

Mark Lehain from the Campaign for Common Sense added: “History is complex and messy, and we shouldn’t pretend otherwise.

“We should also be wary of judging our ancestors by today’s values.

“It is essential that any review of historical monuments takes into account context, not just seek to condemn.

“After all, it’s the future and not the past that matters most, and that we can still change for the better.”

A council spokesman said: “In response to the anti-racism protests which began in Bristol last summer, the city council conducted an urgent review into statutes in Newcastle.

“To widen public interpretation of the South African War Memorial at Haymarket, we intend to install two information panels, one to interpret the statute and the other to shed light on its local connections in the city.”

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