by Colin Campbell
WHAT next? The statue of the Duke of Sutherland being smashed to bits by a group with sledgehammers and his head being rolled down the slopes of Ben Bhraggie?
After the acquittal of the “Bristol Four” who led a mob in tearing down and toppling a statue of 17th century slave trader Edward Coulson into Bristol Harbour, you never know. Coulson was no saint but the frenzy was over something that happened more than 200 years ago.
The jury who decided this was a justified political modern day act rather than wanton, destructive vandalism deserve more scrutiny than those in the film “The Twelve Angry Men”.
How could they have reached such a decision? Backing these people and in fact virtually anointing them as heroes of “historical justice”.
It all brings memories flooding back of the rush by mainly social media teenagers to decorate the Ness Bridge from end to end with Black Lives Matter slogans after the killing by a police officer of George Floyd, with some calling for an end to “White Supremacy” across the Highlands, and at least one depicting a police officer as a pig.
And a group standing in silent protest outside Nairn police station as the bemused cops inside no doubt wondered, “What the hell have we got to do with the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis 4,000 miles away?”
And of course the “emergency meeting” by management at Eden Court where after much anguished soul searching over the inadequacy of their BLM commitment it was decided to mount a special month long display of the BLM posters displayed in lustrous purple light.
By the time that was over, in fact probably by the morning after the Ness Bridge demo, most of those involved had no doubt forgotten all about it and had moved on to something else in the ever swirling world of social media.
As I noted at the time, there was no trace to be found anywhere of any follow up meetings on the issue.
All we are left with is the “taking the knee” nonsense which lost its impact a very long time ago but which footballers for some reason feel compelled to continue, a meaningless ritual now fixed in place as firmly as their pre-match warm up session.
Whether or not the Bristol jury verdict will re energise those who feel the need to atone for “historical injustices” committed two or three centuries ago remains to be seen.
My impression is that those of this ilk have now turned their attention to modern day targets like JK Rowling who have the audacity to say publicly that a man is a man and a woman is a woman. And who cast doubt on terms such as “menstruating people”. The burning issue of “transgender rights”, which affects every household in the land, is their main topic now. BLM has been shunted some distance into the background.
So the statue atop Ben Bhraggie of the Duke of Sutherland, who was without doubt an infamous character, may be safe for now.
But after that astonishing Bristol verdict, I can still envisage a few sledgehammers in a few twitchy hands.