Edward Colston statue pulled down

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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by Little waster » Mon Jun 07, 2021 4:18 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Mon Jun 07, 2021 4:04 pm
Campaigners try to block Edward Colston display at Bristol museum. These 'campaigners' are apparently booking up all the tickets so no-one else can go, and then not turning up. It's all a bit silly, as M Shed are now saying they'll accept walk-ups. I was a bit worried about a Streisand Effect and other people mass-booking but that doesn't seem to have happened yet. I've booked a ticket for next weekend.
Something something something Cancel Culture.

There's a sliver of a defensible argument regarding not wanting to take down a historic monument erected to an individual who in hindsight shouldn't have never been commemorated but to go from that to actively supporting the erection of such a monument, even with the benefit of that hindsight, takes a true c.nt.
This place is not a place of honor, no highly esteemed deed is commemorated here, nothing valued is here.
What is here was dangerous and repulsive to us.
This place is best shunned and left uninhabited.

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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by Tessa K » Tue Jun 08, 2021 11:04 am

Good comment on the presentation of the statue on its back in the museum

https://twitter.com/KojoKoram/status/14 ... 5323070470

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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by Tessa K » Fri Jun 11, 2021 8:15 pm

I haven't watched it yet but there's this BBC programme on iPlayer about the year since the statue came down.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m ... in-bristol

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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by Fishnut » Sat Jun 12, 2021 11:52 am

I'm going to see the consultative display in about an hour's time. If anyone has any questions or things they want to know about the display ask now and I'll do my best to get answers for you.
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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by Fishnut » Sun Jun 13, 2021 12:21 am

The consultative display has been visited, and a blogpost has been written. The use of the passive voice in the display was noted and the implications of this is discussed.
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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by Tessa K » Sun Jun 13, 2021 10:52 am

Fishnut wrote:
Sun Jun 13, 2021 12:21 am
The consultative display has been visited, and a blogpost has been written. The use of the passive voice in the display was noted and the implications of this is discussed.
Good piece, Fishnut. It's like having Our Own Correspondent like they do on the news.

I watched the doc last night (link in my previous post). It follows Bristol's mayor and his office for the year since the statue was taken down, looking at all the complexities of the event. He's the first black mayor in the country so he has additional pressures and has had serious threats made against him and his family. It also interviews various Bristolians both pro and anti removing the statue and brings up the class issues as well as race ones. All in all, it attempts to be balanced and does a pretty good job although of course more could be said.

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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by Tessa K » Wed Jul 07, 2021 12:09 pm

A slight tangent but it is the same part of the world. Rural racism - and not just in Dorset:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-dorset-57611781

(Mods: if this warrants its own thread, please do)

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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by Fishnut » Tue Aug 10, 2021 9:28 am

This piece has really pissed me off. It's the typical "both-sides" journalism that is so prevalent among people who want to be seen as radical but actually just want to maintain the status quo. It's incredibly reductionist to the point of being factually inaccurate. For example,
Colston’s statue was dumped in the water because in 1689, he became deputy governor of the Royal African Company, which held the monopoly on the British slave trade.
I wrote about Colston's history here but the TL:DR is that Colston held a prominent position in the Royal African Company (RAC) for the 12 years that he was a member. He made a fortune from dividends, from internal trading and from leasing ships (possibly as many as 40) to the RAC to be used for slave trading. He was also involved with the Society of Merchant Venturers, a Bristol-based group and one of several trying to break the RAC's monopoly on the slave trade, who were ultimately successful.

The people who have been campaigning against the city's valorisation of Colston are well aware of this context and have done a lot to share this information with the public. That the author of this piece, a supposed journalist, is either not aware of this context or sees nothing wrong with reducing it to "he was high up in the RAC for a year" is deeply concerning.

The piece also makes the claim that,
That gift [money left in Colston's will], worth $22 million today, is what Colston Hall (a concert venue since renamed Bristol Beacon because of the protests)... once commemorated.
This is wrong. Colston Hall was named because it's on Colston Street. The street was named after Colston as he owned property on it but the concert hall was named because of its geographical location, not because it wanted to commemorate the man.

It is also wrong to say that the name was changed because of the protests. There had been decades of campaigning to get the name changed and it was announced back in 2017 that the name would be changed when it reopened following refurbishments.

The piece also claims that M Shed were "forced... to abandon timed-entry slots" for the Colston consultative display following the sabotage I mentioned here. Now, maybe the author spoke to the people at M-Shed and found out this information but my recollection at the time was that they did some behind-the-scenes stuff but maintained the timed tickets. I definitely booked a timed ticket for the exhibition when I went around the time of the "sabotage". Looking now the M-Shed timed ticket includes access to the Colston consultative display and I suspect what has happened is that as demand to see the display has fallen they no longer need to manage it separately from the rest of the museum and the author has interpreted this change incorrectly.*

You could argue that these don't change the substance of the piece, though I do think they betray the author's lack of understanding of the subject she's extemporising on, but let's look at the substance. It mostly offers a potted history of statues and memorials and somehow manages to highlight how their erection, maintenance and removal has always been a political act and a source of discussion and debate, while giving the impression that we really should just come to some agreement.
Some activists on both sides don’t seem to want the city to find a peaceful compromise, because the Colston statue’s symbolism draws attention to their cause. They want a live debate, not a resolution.
Er, yes. Debate is what is wanted. We have been living with the legacy of slavery, un-debated and un-discussed for centuries in the broader public sphere and it really would be nice if we could have a proper discussion about its impact for once, without people constantly asking us to just quieten down. I find myself reaching for that quote from MLK's Letter from Birmingham Jail about the white moderates,
"First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can't agree with your methods of direct action;" who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a "more convenient season."
To both-sides this debate about statues is to miss what it's actually about. It's not really about the statues. They are symbolic and symbols are important, but the thing they symbolise with their continued presence is our inability to reckon with our past. We prefer to maintain the status quo, the "order" and are willing to give up justice to achieve that. I don't want everyone to come around a table and agree and sing kumbaya right now. Eventually that would be wonderful but right now we need to have a debate, we need to be open and honest about our history, because without it a proper and just resolution cannot be achieved. What is really being asked is that those fighting for change give up and capitulate to the status quo. f.ck that.

* I couldn't let this lie. I know it's a tiny error, if it is an error, but it's gnawing at me. So I've emailed M Shed and asked them if the portrayal in the article is correct.
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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by Brightonian » Wed Jan 05, 2022 6:14 pm


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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by Tessa K » Wed Jan 05, 2022 6:24 pm

Brightonian wrote:
Wed Jan 05, 2022 6:14 pm
Not guilty.
Very good news. This will no doubt stir up the gammons

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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by Bird on a Fire » Wed Jan 05, 2022 6:32 pm

Fantastic news!
You can shove your climate crisis up your arse!

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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by Fishnut » Wed Jan 05, 2022 7:16 pm

I'm hugely relieved. I was really worried they'd be found guilty given they admitted they were involved in pulling the statue down. I'm so glad their argument that their actions were justified was accepted by the jury.

I'm also deeply concerned having read this from one of the defence barristers, Raj Chada,
“The Home Office has confirmed that records exist of contact between the Secretary of State and the Crown Prosecution Service and Avon and Somerset police on this matter. What we don't know is what it was, and how often. It goes against all constitutional conventions for a politician to be involved in an ongoing case in this way. The huge significance which the government has put on this trial is quite astonishing. We know that it has led to the government putting into the Police and Crime Act new legislation which says that if you damage a monument, you can serve ten years in prison.”
It's clear the government has been putting pressure on Avon & Somerset police - their response to the Kill the Bill protests were obviously a response to the bollocking they must have got for their sensible hands-off approach that they took during the BLM protests. But I'm now wondering if the decision to prosecute wasn't made locally.
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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by discovolante » Wed Jan 05, 2022 8:00 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Wed Jan 05, 2022 7:16 pm
I'm hugely relieved. I was really worried they'd be found guilty given they admitted they were involved in pulling the statue down. I'm so glad their argument that their actions were justified was accepted by the jury.

I'm also deeply concerned having read this from one of the defence barristers, Raj Chada,
“The Home Office has confirmed that records exist of contact between the Secretary of State and the Crown Prosecution Service and Avon and Somerset police on this matter. What we don't know is what it was, and how often. It goes against all constitutional conventions for a politician to be involved in an ongoing case in this way. The huge significance which the government has put on this trial is quite astonishing. We know that it has led to the government putting into the Police and Crime Act new legislation which says that if you damage a monument, you can serve ten years in prison.”
It's clear the government has been putting pressure on Avon & Somerset police - their response to the Kill the Bill protests were obviously a response to the bollocking they must have got for their sensible hands-off approach that they took during the BLM protests. But I'm now wondering if the decision to prosecute wasn't made locally.
Sorry to be a massive pedant, but Raj Chada isn't a barrister, he's a solicitor with higher rights of audience. It's probably not apparent from the article so maybe this is a clarification rather than a correction, and isn't really that relevant but hey at least I've contributed :oops:
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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by discovolante » Thu Jan 06, 2022 2:06 pm

Anyway on a more technical note, here's a blog about the arguments put forward by counsel for one of the defendants, which might or might not shed some light on how they came to be acquitted (which we don't know for sure of course!) https://www.doughtystreet.co.uk/news/ed ... -defendant
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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by lpm » Thu Jan 06, 2022 2:14 pm

Rogue juries are fun but we don't really want too many of them.
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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by lpm » Thu Jan 06, 2022 2:19 pm

discovolante wrote:
Thu Jan 06, 2022 2:06 pm
Anyway on a more technical note, here's a blog about the arguments put forward by counsel for one of the defendants, which might or might not shed some light on how they came to be acquitted (which we don't know for sure of course!) https://www.doughtystreet.co.uk/news/ed ... -defendant
That reads more like inventing plausible fig leaves than actual legal reasoning. "Consider if the statue constituted an ‘indecent display’ ". Come off it!
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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by discovolante » Thu Jan 06, 2022 2:24 pm

It's bold, I'll give him that. It's the sort of argument I like to fantasise about putting forward whenever I get a bit of an 'interesting' case before I bottle it. But why not eh, might as well put it to the jury and see what they make of it.
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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by FlammableFlower » Thu Jan 06, 2022 2:37 pm

Seeing as they were clearly filmed doing those things, I guess that there's no "it wasn't me" defence, so another line had to be taken.

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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by Fishnut » Thu Jan 06, 2022 5:03 pm

discovolante wrote:
Wed Jan 05, 2022 8:00 pm
Sorry to be a massive pedant, but Raj Chada isn't a barrister, he's a solicitor with higher rights of audience. It's probably not apparent from the article so maybe this is a clarification rather than a correction, and isn't really that relevant but hey at least I've contributed :oops:
The 19:03 update refers to him as a lawyer but the 17:04 update where I took the quote refers to him as Defence Barrister. His wiki page calls him a lawyer and a criminal solicitor (and a Labour politician).
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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by Fishnut » Thu Jan 06, 2022 5:52 pm

The Avon & Somerset PCC has made a statement.

He recognises that "due process has now taken place" but says that people should "follow democratic routes to make changes" rather than taking "the law into their own hands". The fact people had been trying for literal decades to get something done about the statue seems to have passed him by. Democracy requires those in charge to engage with it too.
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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by Fishnut » Thu Jan 06, 2022 8:22 pm

David Allen Green has a good post up about the verdict,
...the constitutional importance of juries is not so much for the decisions they make, but for the decisions they take away from others.

The State may arrest, charge and prosecute a person – but they cannot convict and punish a defendant pleading ‘not guilty’ to a serious offence without a jury trial.
This is an interesting thread. While their acquittal isn't unprecedented, it does have the potential of being more common if the government continues along its path of criminalising peaceful protest.
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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by jimbob » Thu Jan 06, 2022 8:26 pm

Not Colston but the four Confederate statues in New Orleans

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YeaoU7T46k


Were they racist?

TLDR - at least three were unambiguously so
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by Woodchopper » Thu Jan 06, 2022 8:27 pm

Brightonian wrote:
Wed Jan 05, 2022 6:14 pm
Not guilty.
Good, that's a sensible verdict and one reason why having juries is a good idea.

There's lots of excitable people on social media warning of the breakdown of the rule of law. But this verdict isn't unprecedented (for example, or another example) and the previous cases didn't herald a descent into anarchy.

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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by Woodchopper » Thu Jan 06, 2022 8:32 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Wed Jan 05, 2022 7:16 pm
It's clear the government has been putting pressure on Avon & Somerset police - their response to the Kill the Bill protests were obviously a response to the bollocking they must have got for their sensible hands-off approach that they took during the BLM protests. But I'm now wondering if the decision to prosecute wasn't made locally.
Yes, I suspected something like that at the time.

As for the decision to prosecute I suspect that the issue isn't so much about who formally made the decision, but whether they were leant upon. The governing party in Britain has much scope to influence how nominally independent decisions are made (eg using honours or getting their chums appointed to board positions).

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Re: Edward Colston statue pulled down

Post by Woodchopper » Thu Jan 06, 2022 8:34 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Thu Jan 06, 2022 5:52 pm
The Avon & Somerset PCC has made a statement.

He recognises that "due process has now taken place" but says that people should "follow democratic routes to make changes" rather than taking "the law into their own hands". The fact people had been trying for literal decades to get something done about the statue seems to have passed him by. Democracy requires those in charge to engage with it too.
To be fair, a senior police officer has to say that.

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