Vandalism by Chequebook
I’m sure health and safety officials would have a lot to say – I doubt anyone completed a risk assessment form. But the toppling of the Edward Colston statue looked peaceful. And remarkably well organised. I wasn’t there, but I’ve seen no reports that anyone got hurt. No looting, no arson. No riot. I have seen reports that the police handled the matter with great tact and sensitivity – well done Avon & Somerset Constabulary.
Edward Colston oversaw the kidnap and enslavement of around 84,000 people, including 12,000 children. 19,000 died in the crossings from Africa to the Americas. Their bodies were dumped into the water, unmarked, unrecorded. For years campaigners have tried to get a plaque on the statue to state this truth. Richard Eddy, a local Tory councillor objected to the idea of a new plaque, and said he would not condemn anyone who vandalised it. The protesters who pulled it down are now being criticised for taking non-violent direct action.
So what’s the criticism based on? It’s that “they” didn’t play by “our” rules. The correct, establishment, way to commit vandalism is with lawyers and a cheque book. And do it properly. Underfund and privatise the NHS. Oppose laws that require landlords to maintain houses fit for human habitation. Slash and burn your way through the economy, so literally millions of people need foodbanks. Reverse eco legislation for housing. Strangle our public services with austerity while letting tax dodgers get away scot-free. Legalise fracking. Pump megatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Do the vandalism properly, and you might get rewarded in the honours list.