So, Oriel College has succumbed to the woke brigade. I thought better of the place, I really did. It’s only four years since it last faced demands to take down the Rhodes effigy. Then it stood firm, having consulted its donors and alumni and heard thunderous opposition to the statue being touched.
三级成人视频Now, after what appears to be a screeching U-turn, a backlash will surely begin. As an Oriel alumnus myself, I won’t take too kindly to any more requests for donations. Nor will I be alone. Donors will vote with their feet, sending an unmissable message to the college authorities. Money counts at Oxford.
三级成人视频Perhaps it hasn’t occurred to Oriel yet, but by appeasing wonky wokery, the college is encouraging so much more, not just outside its own gates but everywhere. Those who dream of a quiet life, hoping all those shouty protesters will now drift away, will have to think again. Give an inch, and they’ll take a mile.
Let’s be clear: anyone living in 21st century Britain would agree that Rhodes, who died 118 years ago, held views that, however common then, are totally unacceptable now. That’s history for you. Things change, often for the better. But to crush any element that offends modern sensibilities will leave almost nothing standing.
三级成人视频Aristotle was one of the most enlightened thinkers of ancient Greece, but he considered slavery a natural condition. Should we topple his statue in Thessaloniki? And what about the Roman Coliseum and the Taj Mahal, built by slaves? They must go. As must the statues of pretty much everyone from Julius Caesar to Queen Victoria, including Nelson's column. And we must boycott Wagner operas, because by today’s standards he was a racist, and remove Trollope and Dickens from libraries because they shared the anti-Semitic prejudices of their time.
Rhodes is just the beginning三级成人视频. Some of the purveyors of wokery know just that, and see it as their duty to tear down British history. Others, I suspect, don’t give it a nanosecond of thought, so thrilled are they at exercising power when they failed so miserably at the ballot box.
I don’t always agree with President Macron. But his message this week was spectacularly good. Promising to be uncompromising in the face of racism, he said France “will not erase any trace, or any name, from its history ... it will not take down any statue”. “We should look at all of our history together”, he went on, instead of “denying who we are”.
Exactly. We need to root out racism with meaningful actions, not by tearing things down to advertise our virtue compared with people who lived centuries ago.
三级成人视频Ironically, if you want a powerful summary of why Rhodes should stay, look no further Oriel’s statement in 2016: “The continuing presence of these historical artefacts is an important reminder of the complexity of history and of the legacies of colonialism ... By adding context, we can help draw attention to this history, do justice to the complexity of the debate, and be true to our educational mission.”
If, by keeping Rhodes in 2016, Oriel was being true to its educational mission, what on earth is it doing now?
三级成人视频And that’s what’s so sad: that an institution that I and many others love has taken a decision so weak and short-sighted, and an anathema to anyone who values considered thought.
“Floret Oriel”, says The Provost in the annual Oriel Record三级成人视频. I, too, want the college to flourish for hundreds more years. But I fervently hope it will think again about Rhodes, striving not to erase history, but to learn from it.