Thursday, 27 April 2017

Flying Slaves

Another flying object makes a debut, but this tie something that makes a bit more sense - a flying boat (if you could call it a boat).

Bristol's Colston Hall, a music venue / concert hall, is to be renamed after a refurb. Edward Colston, who was a local philanthropist in the 18th century, is commemorated all over Bristol with a school and various other amenities named after him - but he was a slave trader. Some of the Bristolian Afro-Caribbean inhabitants took exception to the name Colston appearing on the music venue and Massive Attack have actually refused to play there till the name is changed.

Yes, Edward Colston was a slave trader, but you can't simply rewrite history and eliminate people from the civic roll. I'm sure the Irish would love nothing more than for Cromwell's name - wherever it might appear - to be consigned to the history books alone, but that ain't going to happen; there's even a statue of him outside Parliament. It's basically a rerun of last year's campaign for the removal of Rhodes' starue from Oriel College Oxford.

If historic slave trade associations are anathema, we'll have to close the vast majority of stately homes too. One of our nob neighbours here is the Duke of Beaufort; one of his ancestors voted against the abolition of the slave trade, so are we to rename every Beaufort Arms pub here in South Gloucestershire and in Monmouthshire as a consequence?

Slave trading is bad - we all accept and know that today, but you can't judge times past by the morals prevailing today - practically everyone was a white supremacist a few hundred years ago. Slave trading was simply something we - and Africans - engaged in at one stage in our past. We also created empires, which today are viewed with distaste by most (although not some Brexiteers) - the entire Roman Empire was run using slaves - primarily European ones - but we aren't calling for Hadrian's Wall to be renamed.

Can you imagine Trump Towers being renamed to something less offensive after Trump gets impeached? Of course not. Mind you, there aren't too many Hitler commemorative libraries in Germany.


  1. Cromwell's statue is not outside of Dáil Éireann - Houses of the Oireachtas in Dublin.
    The parliament to which you are referring to is correctly known as The Palace of Westminster in London, England and has feck all to do with the Republic of Ireland

    1. Perhaps I was unclear. When I say Parliament, I meant the one here. There are many Irish people living in England.

  2. Yes, I know and there are a lot of people from other countries living there too and a few from Cornwall !