Michael McDowell: Sanitising Britain's imperialist past would require collective amnesia

Statues shouldn’t have to be boarded up let alone ‘defended’ by self-appointed racist thugs

A protester raises his fist next to a statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square in London during a Black Lives Matter demonstration. Photograph: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

A protester raises his fist next to a statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square in London during a Black Lives Matter demonstration. Photograph: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

Many people will find themselves somewhat emotionally torn by the sight of statues being toppled and defaced by angry, if self-appointed, modern iconoclasts.

On the one hand, George Floyd’s cruel murder has started a long-delayed and hugely needed confrontation by the United States with the reality of its shameful political, economic, penal and social discrimination against, and subjugation of, black people, a process that has sent ripples across the world.

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