LBC’s James O’Brien has used a segment on his radio show this morning to explain why the supposed controversy around Kew Gardens’ decision to acknowledge the colonial history of some of its plants is ridiculous.
The botanic gardens said this week that it would be changing display boards for some plants to note their connections to the British Empire and the slave trade.
For example, sugar cane was the main crop produced on Caribbean plantations, where UK slave traders sent Africans to work before taking profits back to the Empire.
Kew’s decision has been criticised by some as “woke nonsense” – or, in the words of Tory MP Sir John Hayes, as “bourgeois liberal arrogance”.
Sir John, who is the leader of the hilariously-named Common Sense Group of MP, told MailOnline:
“This is preposterous posturing by people who are so out of touch with the sentiment of patriotic Britain.
“They would be better off spending the rest of their days in a potting shed.
“This is typically bourgeois liberal arrogance which is ill-fitting of people that get public funding.”
The move has also concerned Mail on Sunday commentator Dan Hodges, who claimed stuff like this was “killing the Left”...
Kew Gardens: “We will move quickly to ‘decolonise’ our collections, re-examining them to acknowledge and address an… https://t.co/pejTCf0wCW
However, O’Brien described the controversy as “unbelievable” and argued that Kew Gardens was doing its job properly by providing context about the plants in its collection…
“So Kew Gardens now is going to publish more details of where the plants in Kew Gardens come from and how they came to make their way to Britain … I’ll say that again because apparently it’s controversial,” the LBC presenter said.
“Kew Gardens is going to display more information regarding the journey of its plants from their countries of origin into the UK, and that journey will in many cases involve colonialism and the slave trade...
“We would not have been in the countries from where these plants have come if we weren’t there to enslave people and colonise.”
He later added: “Why are people so frightened of our own country’s history?”
You can find his comments in full below:
This is James O'Brien's reaction to the outrage over "woke" Kew Gardens planning to provide more information about… https://t.co/8G01xzxeXt