The National Trust and English Heritage are shaking the core identity of Britain’s white supremacists and they don’t like it.
There appears to be a genuine desire by the Trust and English Heritage to reflect actual historical facts about Britain’s colonial past that need to be out in the open. However, Britain’s white supremacists are not interested in debate and are instead fully engaged in a campaign to bury the facts. Unfortunately, privileged white supremacists don’t tend to be interested in details like facts and truths, they’re far more interested in maintaining their privileged status and they find facts and truth to be extremely inconvenient and threatening to that privilege, not to mention to their sense of superiority.
There were early signs of trouble in June 2020, when English Heritage were heavily criticised over their decision to review and update London’s famous blue plaques, for any potential links to the slave trade and over their plans to create new commemorative plaques to recognise a number of Black, Asian and minority ethnic figures. Things then kicked up a notch when, in June 2021, English Heritage announced that it would recognise that Enid Blyton and Rudyard Kipling were racists.
Since the Black Lives Matter [BLM} movement began to influence public perception and sensibilities in regards to black identity and the black struggle in this country, there’s been a significant backlash from certain privileged (white) corners but there’s been a particularly vocal and sustained attack on the National Trust and English Heritage. Inspired by the BLM movement, the National Trust took the initiative to investigate and publicise the black history connections to the 500 historic houses, castles, archaeological and industrial monuments, gardens, parks and nature reserves that it owns and maintains in the UK. Nick Ferrari was highly vocal in raising his objections to the move and even decided to have a debate about it on his LBC show back in November last year, except it wasn’t really a debate. In fact, it was more of an excuse to vent. Debating requires you to listen and respond to points other people are raising and, as you can see from the above clip, there was no genuine attempt to listen or debate anything. In fact, Ferrari just repeats his mantra of “I just wonder where it ends.” Frankly, I have some questions for Nick Ferrari… Why do you think there should be a limit to seeking out truth and ascertaining facts and are you arguing that there should be a limit to how much truth and factual detail should be placed out in the public domain?
In her recent article in the Guardian, Gaby Hinsliff describes how The National Trust is “under siege over its efforts to reckon with Britain’s slave-owning history.” However, she describes it as a “culture war” and suggests that the debate revolves around interpretations of history. First of all, identifying and publishing links to colonialism and slavery is not an interpretation of history, it is simply just fact. She is however right to point out that there are some who do want to frame the debate around it being a question of interpretation. For example, 28 members of a right wing, mostly anti-immigrant and Brexiteer Tory back-bench group who call themselves ‘The Common Sense Group’ have effectively declared war on what they call “cultural Marxism” and have launched an attack on the National Trust, labelling them as “A clique of powerful, privileged liberals” who are hell-bent on rewriting history (the sort of response you might expect from flat-earthers who refuse to believe the earth is round). According to ‘The Common Sense Group’, truth and fact are symptoms of “woke” thinking – something that must be stomped out immediately.
It’s a serious attack mind you – they even tried to remove the trusts charitable status at one point. Just think about that for a moment folks – a group of white, middle aged Tory back benchers who self proclaim themselves as the keepers of British historical ‘truth’, actively working to defund an organisation, founded over 125yrs ago, that has played an integral part in the preservation and maintenance of hundreds of British historical houses, castles, monuments, gardens, parks and nature reserves. These people would rather see it all fall to ruin than allow anyone to change their white-washed version of history. The threats have now escalated to something even more sinister with the trust’s director general, Hilary McGrady, getting death threats while other female members of the trust have received threatening messages telling them not to go out walking on their own.
There’s also another rather influential group who call themselves ‘Restore Trust‘. Apparently its a small alliance of Trust members who seem to have access to the right wing media and their tactic is to remove and replace senior National Trust leaders in order to force a change of direction. Members include PR executive Neil Bennett (an ex-Sunday Telegraph journalist) and millionaire Tory donor Neil Record.
‘Restore Trust’ are also campaigning other Trust members to support their resolutions at this years annual general meeting later this month and they have their own slate of candidates for the National Trust Council, including Stephen Green…
Green is a member of an ultra right wing pressure group called ‘Christian Voice.’ Green is virulently homophobic, anti-LGBT, anti-abortion and doesn’t support the criminalisation of marital rape. He also once defended a Ugandan law to impose the death penalty on HIV-positive gay men who had sex.
On Saturday, the Observer reported on a malicious and racist attack on an English Heritage photography exhibition celebrating black lives. Someone had taken a sharp object and scratched the ‘N’ word onto an image of a black model.
The exhibition offered a glimpse into Black British heritage, from Windrush to North African Romans present at Hadrian’s wall, many many centuries earlier. Apparently, blacks claiming English heritage for themselves revives the colonial spirit and triggers racists into action – racists like Sir John Hayes, the chair of the Common Sense Group of Conservative MPs, who once told the Commons that “defending our history and heritage is our era’s Battle of Britain”.
Well, the battle is clearly raging, even if the mainstream media barely gives it a mention. Perhaps more media coverage might actually provoke debate? Then again, that’s probably not what the establishment want. They seem to favour the ‘intimidate, threaten, brush the facts under the carpet and take control of national institutions by stealth’ approach instead.
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