As a lifelong champion of progress, I welcome the new world order. For, as anyone who worships progress knows, new always means better.
It was Joseph Schumpeter who gave us the concept of creative destruction. But we should go the old man one better and declare that all destruction is creative, rather than just some.
Therefore the new world order, spearheaded by the BML and Extinction Rebellion movements, should sweep all remnants of the old order into what another champion of progress, Trotsky, called the dustbin of history.
Our path lit by this enlightened general goal, we can easily work out the specifics, starting with the offensive statues to be removed and/or spray-painted with new-order graffiti and/or smeared with faeces. Here I propose a solution that will in one fell swoop put an end to arguments about which statues are offensive and which aren’t.
They all are, with the possible exception of Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and Karl Marx. Mandela, Mahatma, Marx – a neatly alliterative acronym MMM can function as a stamp of approval, and it will look good superimposed on a red flag.
All other statues commemorate men who were irredeemably mired in the old order. Hence they were all complicit in its crimes.
For a start, look at the Houses of Parliament adorned with the statues of Richard I and Oliver Cromwell. Richard led an islamophobic crusade, a sin only partly redeemed by his homosexuality. And Cromwell practised not only the death penalty but also genocide. Of course the Irish are racially similar to whites, but they may be elevated to honorary blackness for the purpose of our exercise.
Now what’s George Washington doing in Trafalgar Square? He was a slave owner and one of the founders of an eternally racist state. His statue belongs in a skip, or perhaps on the bottom of the Thames.
And don’t let me get going on Napier, Clive, Rhodes, Mountbatten, Churchill, Smuts and other imperialist, colonialist, racist scum. Their statues should be not just removed but smashed up, with the fragments used as projectiles tossed at police cars and through the windows of Bond Street boutiques.
That Nelson, correctly described by my friend Afua Hirsch as a ‘white supremacist’, should be brought down from that column goes without saying (now that Afua has said it). But who should take that racist’s place?
You know the answer: George Floyd, with angel’s wings attached to his back. The design already exists, so transferring it to stone is dead easy. Of course, the column will have to be renamed after Floyd, and Trafalgar Square should thenceforth be known as Minneapolis Plaza.
Anyway, why bother mentioning historical villains by name? Did any of them speak out against racism, colonialism, homophobia, transphobia, capitalism and global warming? No, they didn’t.
Since we now know that silence is violence, none of those violent criminals merits a statue. Their vacated plinths can accommodate statues of new-order martyrs, black people killed by the police returning fire.
Such mass iconoclasm is a time-honoured practice of every revolution of the past. Statues of saints were destroyed during the Reformation, statues of tsars during the Bolshevik revolution, statues of Jews, such as Heine and Mendelssohn, during the Nazi regime.
The last two also set other worthy examples to follow, such as the bonfires of books. Today’s revolutionaries are too timid: they merely remove racist tracts like Huckleberry Finn and Gone With the Wind from circulation.
I much favour public immolation, ideally also to include the master copies of offensive films and, once the process has gathered speed, Tory MPs. A true revolution can’t stop halfway; it should keep and increase its momentum.
Up the Revolution! ladies and gentlemen. Or Up the Revolution’s, if you’d rather.