REVIEW | Our Uncomfortable Past: Should We Tear Down Statues? (POI Podcasts #3)
Episode 3 of POI podcasts saw us set our minds to the question, “How do we remember our past?”. The viral images of statues being torn down, including that of slave trader & philanthropist, Edward Colston, being removed from its plinth and tossed into the river Avon, have ignited debate. Dissecting this, we had two of the usual suspects: Max Anderson of the Liberal team, & Evan Saunders of Labour, and a new voice, Joshua Tyrell of the Conservatives.
We commenced with Mr Colston, the self-evident first question being: was it right that he was taken down, or should we put him back? This, naturally, lead to discussing how the statue was taken down. It was done by a mob of protestors, not by the authorities. However, Evan raised the issue that the statue had already been criticised for some time. If authorities fail, should the public step in?
A recurrent theme throughout this discussion was education. Should the statues be kept in place with a full recounting of the past? Or, perhaps, moved to a museum? All speakers stated that vast swathes of the British past is not taught in schools. Something that has, perhaps, created much unawareness.
Our Liberal voice, Max, extended the debate to the Royal Family. The Royal Africa Company (on whose board Colston sat) trafficked circa 100,000 individuals, and was founded by the Duke of York, James II. Should the Royal family fall, just like Colston? Or is it absurd to hold Elizabeth II to account for crimes that started 360 years ago?
Should you be interested in the debate surrounding societal injustice & how we remember our history, this podcast will certainly be of interest. You can listen to the podcast here.
Written by Podcast Host, Alexander Dennis
Hello, I’m Alexander Dennis, and I am going into my third undergraduate year at the University of Exeter. I study Politics & International Relations, with a possible year abroad hanging in the balance. My particular interest in politics really started in early 2016: yes, it was ‘Brexit’. I was at once intrigued, and confused, by something so critical. From that baptism, I have become somewhat addicted to political discussion, intrigued by issues ranging from drugs policy to taxation. So I followed my nose: I applied for a degree in the subject.