Nelson’s Column should be torn down because the admiral was a “white supremacist,” writer and broadcaster Afua Hirsch has said.
Admiral Nelson was a British naval commander who made his name thanks to his victories against France during the Napoleonic Wars.
Hirsch wrote in the Guardian that the memorial dedicated to Nelson should come down because he “vigorously” defended slavery while many around him were denouncing it.
Britain’s best known naval hero – so idealised that after his death in 1805 he was compared to no less than “the God who made him” – used his seat in the House of Lords and his position of huge influence to perpetuate the tyranny, serial rape and exploitation organised by West Indian planters, some of whom he counted among his closest friends.
After the violence in Charlottesville, during protests to remove a statue of Confederate general Robert E Lee in Charlottesville, a wider debate has been triggered around other similar monuments.
It is figures like Nelson who immediately spring to mind when I hear the latest news of confederate statues being pulled down in the US.
We have “moved on” from this era no more than the US has from its slavery and segregationist past. The difference is that America is now in the midst of frenzied debate on what to do about it, whereas Britain – in our inertia, arrogance and intellectual laziness – is not.
Her article has caused mixed reactions online and in the rest of the media.
Maajid Nawaz had this to say on LBC radio.
These vox pops from Sky News revealed some of the general public's opinions:
And people on Twitter were just as divided: