MARIA Williams (Letter June 22) is absolutely right that "removing statues will not discrimination disappearing." However, leaving many of them in situ with no further explanation is also "no way to teach generations about the legacy of slavery and discrimination."

We need to acknowledge our history, which must mean - among many other things, including how it is taught in schools - that the plaques accompanying some statues need extensive rewriting. That Edward Colston, for instance, should still bear the description "philanthropist" (literally, "lover of humanity") is a debasement of the language. While acknowledging that he was a benefactor of Bristol, he was also an exploiter of humanity, and a mass killer. Simple honesty requires that to be acknowledged.

In Bristol, there have been campaigns along these lines for several decades, but they have been beaten back by those in authority who, it seems, still have a sneaking regard for the unscrupulous entrepreneurialism that made Colston's fortune. It is not surprising that many in Bristol lost patience.

The toppling of Colston's statue is now a historic event, not to be air-brushed by its reinstatement. A place in a Bristol museum, with an explanation of how it came to be there, is quite fitting.

That leaves us, as Maria Williams points out, with a lot of other statues. We need a serious discussion about how to deal with those aspects of our unedifying legacy that they celebrate.

The government, meanwhile, could address the very real grievances of those caught up in the "Windrush" fiasco. In 2018 the Minister for Children, speaking about the mistakes that had, after years, finally been acknowledged, said: “In two weeks we’ll have dealt with all the Windrush cases, including compensation.” This was so weirdly unrealistic that to call it a lie would be to dignify it with seriousness. Only some 60 people. two years on, out of several thousand, have actually received compensation for the massive damage done to them.

On that showing, ours remains a very inhumane country.

Barry Tempest

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