Poll results show common sense stance on statues and songs

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James Knell
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The recent Black Lives Matter protests, which saw the toppling of a statue of philanthropist and slave trader Edward Colston into Bristol harbour, sparked fierce debate about the role and criteria around which statues and monuments across the UK should remain, or not, in place. Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees described the removal as an act of ‘historical poetry’. Others took a more critical view, highlighting an erasure of history. Other statues have since been targeted for removal including Cecil Rhodes at Oxford University’s Oriel College and a new commission, an initiative of London Mayor Sadiq Khan, will shortly begin reviewing the ‘diversity’ of the capital’s monuments and statues.

In response, the CCS ran a poll to get a sense of wider sentiment. The margin was massive, 98% of respondents were against statues being taken down:

The protests also looked to other cultural symbols, including music and television regarded as ‘insensitive’. Earlier this month, a BBC Music Magazine columnist called for Land of Hope & Glory – played during the finale of the BBC Proms – to be scrapped calling the song ‘crudely jingoistic’. Again, the CCS wanted to get a better idea of the balance of views on this issue. And again, the response was overwhelming – a huge 98% of respondents were against the BBC scrapping the iconic song.

Will our leaders listen to the common sense views of the British public or to virtue-signalling advisers and woke corporations? These debates are multi-layered and there is always room for nuance but as this polling reveals, it is hard to ignore the unambiguous sentiments of the wider public. Ignoring them will exacerbate division and make it even harder for us to come together.

James Knell

Research Director

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