Remove Slave Trade Statues
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Statues of slave traders have no place in a civilised world. Statues of slave traders should be removed from all our towns. It’s a sad truth that a significant element of our wealth was derived from the slave trade - but this should not have to be celebrated in our public spaces.
We must use this significant moment as a catalyst for change to tackle racism, discrimination, and inequality. The Government must ensure that local authorities and relevant organisations undertake a formal and thorough review of all statues that have connections with the slave trade.
Such a review should include all such monuments and other sites, to understand how we should represent this most troubling period in our history. Government should underpin this process with a policy statement. This should be produced by independent experts in the relevant history and the slave trade, together with respected representatives and activists from relevant communities and organisations. There are several highly regarded experts in this matter, and this group should be drawn from the widest range of backgrounds possible, including significant representation from minority ethnic groups.
Parliament should also consider establishing a balanced focus group which would sponsor, scrutinise, and promote the recommendations. The scope and terms of reference of this group should be established by independent experts and not subject to government control. The group should be chaired by someone whose character and background meets appropriately high standards. All members should be subject to the standards and principles of public office.
The timeline for the report, and actions to be taken, should be set as soon as possible - and must be delivered within an acceptable but swift timeline. All work should be funded by the Government and relevant authorities and ‘owners’ of such artefacts.
The presence of such artefacts has been a blight on our nation and our people for well over 100 years. Their planned removal is long overdue and should be celebrated not decried.
A national museum should be established and funded by government to record the facts and background to the slave trade and include comprehensive information, and where appropriate examples of the period with full objective accounts of the history and the impact.
A Royal Commission into the slave trade, the full history, and its impact, should also be established - to ensure oversight for the future, and to make recommendations regarding all relevant aspects; including recommendations to ensure an appropriate curriculum for all children and young people is provided.
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