The 207-year-old statue of Robert Milligan, the Scottish merchant who established the West India Docks in London, has been preemptively removed by the authorities over his links to slavery.
Milligan, who was born into a family which owned a sugar plantation in the Caribbean, was a key figure in turning the docks into an important commercial hub, and his memorial described him as “A merchant of London, to whose genius, perseverance and guardian care the surrounding great work principally owes it’s [sic] design, accomplishment and regulation”.
By 2020, however, the only people remembering the pre-modern-era merchant are left-wing and racial justice activists affronted by the fact the statue had yet to be demolished.
Consequently, Tower Hamlets Council facilitated the memorial’s rapid removal on Tuesday — perhaps hoping to preempt its lawless destruction by Black Lives Matter supporters, as was the fate of a statue commemorating the late parliamentarian and philanthropist Edward Colston in Bristol at the weekend.
Absolutely astonishing how quickly local government can move when they want to do something like this. From Robert Milligan petition to workmen with crowbars within hours. Rest of the time, doing anything with local authorities is like wading through treacle with two broken legs https://t.co/hUwfzL993s
— Oliver JJ Lane (@oliver_lane) June 9, 2020
“Whilst it’s a sad truth that much of our city and nation’s wealth was derived from the slave trade – this does not have to be celebrated in our public spaces,” commented London’s left-wing mayor, Sadiq Khan.
Mayor Khan has, off the back of mass protests ostensibly supporting those against of the death of George Floyd in the city of Minneapolis — 4,000 miles away, and all illegal given the country’s anti-coronavirus regulations, but allowed to proceed by fearful police forces regardless — established a Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm which will review many more of the monuments and memorials to historic figures in the British capital.
Those who are now considered offensive by the left may be removed, with Khan hinting he will seek to replace them with ethnic minority and “LGBTQ+” figures.
"Perhaps not since the era of Oliver Cromwell, when Puritans smashed and burned any work of art or architecture they deemed impure, has Britain engaged in such a frenzy of iconoclasm." https://t.co/PHewYcpTFK
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 9, 2020
The new iconoclasm does not end with London or with relatively obscure figures such as Milligan and Colston, however, with left-liberals applying enormous pressure for memorials to industrialists, merchants, and military commanders from the age of empire to erased from the public square.
A national hit-list has been set up on a website called toppletheracists.org by the Stop Trump Coalition, and includes hugely significant figures such as Admiral Lord Nelson, Sir Francis Drake, former prime minister Sir Robert Peel, and former kings Charles II and James II, among others.
Cecil Rhodes, who was a key figure in expanding the British Empire’s territories “from Cape to Cairo” and whose fortune to this day continues to fund university education for diverse people from around the globe, is a key and long-standing target, with protesters numbering in the hundreds turning out on Tuesday to revive the #RhodesMustFall campaign.
Academic institutions, in particular, are already moving rapidly to appease activists, the Imperial College London dropping a Latin reference to “empire” from its motto and the University of Liverpool dropping the name of the famed Victorian prime minister William Gladstone from one its halls of residence, among other acts of self-flagellation.
— Jack Montgomery (@JackBMontgomery) June 9, 2020