Fresh Push to Unperson Thatcher, Rhodes, from British Universities

Protestors hold placards during a protest called by the Rhodes Must Fall campaign calling for the removal of the statue of British imperialist Cecil John Rhodes outside Oriel College, at the University of Oxford on June 9, 2020. - Following the toppling of slave trader Edward Colston during a Black …
ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

The Black Lives Matter inspired attacks on British heritage in universities shows no signs of abating, as students at Durham have removed Margaret Thatcher from a list of inspirational women and academics as Oxford plot to remove Cecil Rhodes’ name from a professorship.

Baroness Thatcher was removed from a list of women set to be honoured in a portrait competition at Durham University’s Art Society after students complained about Britain’s first female prime minister being included, who they alleged was homophobic.

According to the Mail on Sunday, the organisers of the competition apologised for even including Baroness Thatcher, saying: “Considering Durham’s history as a former mining town, the impact of Thatcher’s policies, as well as her homophobia, her inclusion was an error.”

The organisers also removed French fashion designer Coco Chanel, saying that she “had links to Nazis… so her inclusion was also extremely erroneous. We can only apologise for any offence or insult to anyone in our community that this may have caused.”

The general secretary of the Free Speech Union, Toby Young, lamented that the Art Society and the History in Politics Society — which is co-organising the competition — are bowing down to “woke bullies”.

“They’ve allowed themselves to be bullied by a small minority of political activists,” he declared.

“Far from being sensitive to the feelings of the local community in Durham, these student societies have thumbed their noses at all those local people who voted Conservative at the last Election,” Young added.

A spokesman for the Art and History in Politics societies responded: “After some of the history of certain names on the list was drawn to our attention, we decided amongst ourselves to remove them.”

Meanwhile, Oxford University has been accused of trying to take down the legacy of British mining magnate and politician Cecil Rhodes, whose statue has long been a target of leftist for his connections to the British Empire and his antiquated views on race.

Academics at the university will vote to rename the Rhodes Professor of Race Relations, which was established in the 1950s. The move comes amidst a five-year student campaign dubbed “Rhodes Must Fall“, which is likely to have succeeded in forcing the eventual removal of his statue.

Aside from attempting to remove Rhodes’ name from the professorship, Oxford will also reportedly remove the remit of the office from “giving instruction in interracial relations to giving instruction in African Studies”, The Telegraph reported.

The founder of the campaign Save Our Statues, Robert Poll, told the paper: “This shows how the culture war is being fought on many fronts, with statues just the most obvious, physical one.

“The other fronts are quieter and have fewer protections, so what we are seeing is Rhodes falling by the back door.

“It’s ironic that this comes in the same month as the Wykeham Professorship has been renamed after a Chinese state-funded company. The university’s morality is rather less consistent than its hypocrisy.”

A spokesman for Oxford University said: “The University has recommended that the name of the Chair should change to Professor of African Studies as more appropriate to the post’s present-day academic purpose.

“The move reflects this post’s central role in building the University’s African Studies Centre.”

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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