71 Per Cent of Britons Oppose Protesters Pulling Down Statues, Just 13 Per Cent Support

A statue of Britain's Queen Victoria stands defaced in Woodhouse Moor Park in Leeds, northern England on June 10, 2020. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS / AFP) (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

YouGov has found Black Lives Matter stunts such as protesting despite lockdown, removing statues, and taking the knee command little public support.

In a wide-ranging survey commissioned by The Sun on Sunday, pollsters found that just 13 per cent of respondents supported “protesters physically damaging or pulling down statues of historical figures with links to slavery” — actions which arguably received the tacit support of police leaders in Bristol — compared to 71 per cent opposed.

Moreover, the survey found that “the removal of all statues of historical figures with links to slavery from British towns and cities” more generally, including by lawful means, was supported by only 27 per cent of respondents — far behind the 49 per cent opposed, including 71 per cent of Conservative supporters and 69 per cent of Leave voters.

Looking at the Conservative supporters and Leave supprters who have formed the core of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s support, YouGov also found that 47 per cent of respondents from both contingents opposed the Black Lives Matter protests more generally, compared to just 18 per cent and 22 per cent who supported them, respectively.

With regard to the specific timing of the protests — during the anti-coronavirus lockdown and not lawful, although the authorities have expended little or no effort to enforce the law against BLM activists — only 21 per cent of all respondents said they should have gone ahead, including a mere 6 per cent of Conservative supporters and 7 per cent of Leave supporters.

61 per cent of both Conservatives and Leavers said the protests “Should not have gone ahead at all”.

Conservatives and Leavers were also unenthused with professional footballers “taking the knee” prior to matches and bearing the ‘Black Lives Matter’ slogan on their uniforms.

63 per cent of Conservative supporters said the kneeling was inappropriate, along with 60 per cent who did not approve of the BLM logo on uniforms.

The disapproval level among Leavers was similar, with 61 per cent against the kneeling and 59 per cent against the BLM logos.

Interestingly, however, YouGov also found a majority of Conservative supporters and Leaver supporters — but not Labour supporters, Liberal Democrat supporters, or Remain supporters — feel Britons are now “less free to say what they think”.

59 per cent of Conservative supporters agreed with the statement “People in Britain these days are now less free to say what they think”. The figure for Leave supporters was even higher, at 63 per cent.

The figures for Labour supporters, Lib Dem supporters, and Remainers were also not good, as even though there were no outright majorities for “less free” significantly more respondents opted that option than for “more free”.

Asked “Do you personally feel able to express your honest views about politics or current events on social media?” a remarkable 54 per cent of Conservatives and 52 per cent of Leavers said they did not, compared to 13 per cent who said they did.

41 per cent of Conservatives and 39 per cent of Leavers also said they did not feel free to express themselves at work, compared to 22 per cent who said they did.

Family and friends appeared to be the only bright spot for Conservatives and Leavers, with 80 per cent and 77 per cent saying they felt free to express themselves in front of them.

The figures for Labour supporters, Lib Dem supporters, and Remain supporters were even higher, however.

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