The ‘Save Our Statues’ group has launched a “plaque-cheque” campaign to fact-check so-called information boards defaming historic figures depicted in memorials.
While Black Lives Matter-inspired to destroy or vandalise statues and memorials in Britain has largely died down, anti-British officials and campaigners have adopted a new tactic of leaving monuments standing but “recontextualising” them with often poorly-sourced plaqes and information boards accusing those they depict of various crimes against woke 21st-century sensibilities.
One such example of this, according to Save Our Statues, is a historic statue of Thomas Guy, an 18th-century merchant and Member of Parliament (MP), outside the hospital he founded in Central London. This has been imprisoned in a box since 2020, with the box now plastered over with a huge poster claiming that research has “determined that a significant part of Thomas Guy’s wealth came from the trade of enslaved people.”
Save Our Statues has taken exception to this, insisting in a “plaque-check” affixed to the box that, in fact, his only link to slavery was shares in the South Sea Company — notorious for the South Sea Bubble which it created — foisted on him by the government as a holder of national debt forcibly converted into South Sea Company stock.
Indeed, Guy’s Hospital itself grudgingly admitted that “Guy did not have any choice over whether his pay tickets would be converted into South Sea stock” in a self-flagellating report published in September 2021.
Today we launch a new plaque fact-checking service. Guy’s Hospital has just added a 10ft wide “context” panel to the box around their founder’s statue, saying he made his money “from the trade of enslaved people”. Save Our Statues was happy to correct this. pic.twitter.com/Vu9oFbDbmZ
— Save Our Statues (@_SaveOurStatues) August 24, 2022
“Guy was a bible printer, not a slave trader as this board implies,” complained Robert Poll, founder of the Save Our Statues campaign, in comments to Breitbart London, observing wryly that “even when given a ten-foot wide information board, they still can’t bring themselves to include different viewpoints, they just write theirs even larger.”
“We are in a dangerous position where debate and discussion of history is being shut down, with only one acceptable viewpoint and where historians who question it are ostracised,” Poll said.
“The ‘Plaque-Check’ campaign is about challenging the notion of an official version of history and encouraging people to question what they read.”
The proliferation of plaques seems to have come largely in response to the Conservative Party government’s initial, half-hearted response to moves by mobs and leftist local politicians and officials to purge the public square of historic statues, saying that statues should be “retained and explained”.
The “explanations” offered up so far have appeared entirely one-sided, with any memorial dating from periods in which empire and slavery were globally uncontroversial being festooned with woke denouncements.
“The plaques we’ve seen so far have all failed in their stated aim of bringing balance and objectivity,” Poll said, blasting their “reductive” and “narrow” view of history.
“Rather than the promised tools of debate, they’ve proved weapons of propaganda,” he accused.
Officials ‘Falsifying History’ by Slapping BLM-Inspired Slavery Plaque on Edinburgh Statue: Historian https://t.co/hYH6YT0MbZ
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 2, 2022