Leftist Mayor of London Sadiq Khan unveiled a Black Lives Matter inspired ‘diversity’ commission on Tuesday, which will review all historical monuments in the British capital.
Mr Khan’s Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm, which is comprised of left-wing activists and celebrities, will seek to “improve diversity” in London, targeting statues, street names, memorials, and building names.
The stated intention of the group will be to determine what “legacies should be celebrated” and to increase representation among “Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, women, LGTBQ+ and disabled groups,” a press release from the mayor’s office said.
Mr Khan’s fifteen-member commission includes Pakistani-British Star Wars actor Riz Ahmed, who has previously suggested that a lack of diversity on television and in film could lead teenagers to join ISIS.
The commission also includes social rights activist Toyin Agbetu, who gained national attention in 2007 after he confronted the Queen and then-Prime Minister Tony Blair at an event celebrating the end of slavery, a practice the United Kingdom with its Royal Navy had worked to stamp out.
Busting into Westminster Abbey, Agbetu shouted: “You should be ashamed. We should not be here. This is an insult to us,” adding: “You, the Queen, should be ashamed!”
Another prominent leftist member of the commission is art critic Aindrea Emelife, who came out in support of replacing the statue of British philanthropist Edward Colston with a Black Lives Matter activist.
Emelfie wrote in July that she hoped the BLM statue would “catalyse a call for action, for a new world, for a new sculptural legacy.”
On Tuesday, Ms Emelfie claimed in an interview with The Guardian that the point of the commission is “not just about taking down statues, it’s about creating new commissions that will inspire generations. And that is what I’m most excited about.”
We're thrilled to announce this inspiring group of Londoners chosen to form @MayorofLondon's Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm.
We'll be working together to ensure London’s history is fully reflected and celebrated. #LondonTogetherhttps://t.co/b0bAh7sSy2 pic.twitter.com/hVLAMNvUJU
— Mayor of London's Culture team (@LDN_Culture) February 9, 2021
The unveiling of Sadiq Khan’s Black Lives Matter-style commission has drawn considerable backlash.
Speaking to Breitbart London, mayoral candidate and the leader of the socially conservative Heritage Party, David Kurten, said: “London doesn’t need any ‘cultural enrichment’ from Sadiq Khan’s Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm. Our capital has a rich and proud history spanning thousands of years, and it should be left intact for our children to enjoy.”
“This motley crew of unelected activists, motivated by Critical Race Theory and other such destructive ideologies, should not have any authority to change our street names and erase our history and culture,” he added.
Mr Kurten went on to vow that if elected mayor, he would dissolve the woke commission “immediately”.
London Assembly Member Peter Whittle also cast doubt on Khan’s commission, writing on social media: What right does this mayor and these people have to sit in judgment of London’s history? Or ‘which legacies should be celebrated’? No right at all. And we will also be paying for the privilege.”
Khan’s Red Guard: London Mayor Vows to Replace Monuments with Statues of LGBTQ+ and Minority Figures https://t.co/XgjsXs8XG2
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 9, 2020
Announcing the creation of the Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm in June of last year, Sadiq Khan said that London’s “greatest strength” is its “diversity” but claimed that the capital’s “statues, road names and public spaces reflect a bygone era.”
“It is an uncomfortable truth that our nation and city owes a large part of its wealth to its role in the slave trade, and while this is reflected in our public realm, the contribution of many of our communities to life in our capital has been wilfully ignored,” Khan added.
The announcement came just one day after Black Lives Matter radical activists tore down the statue honouring slave owner, trader, and philanthropist Sir Edward Colston in Bristol, ultimately dumping the statue into the local harbour.
It remains to be seen, however, how much freedom the commission will have in removing historical monuments in London, as Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick announced in January that he will be empowered with the final say on the removal of statues throughout the country.
The move from the Conservative government was actually successful this month in blocking a left-wing Labour-run council from removing the statue of British war hero General Sir Redvers Buller in Exeter, Devon.
Black Lives Matter disorder spread across the Atlantic with remarkable speed in 2020 after the death of George Floyd in the United States, with statues torn down or vandalized across the country and London plunged into violent disorder, despite lockdowns. https://t.co/WrQ4h1woVS
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) January 5, 2021
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