How Johnson can realistically hold that chucking a statue of Edward Colston into the water is thuggery I really do not know – and he was, after all, supposed to know a bit about thuggery himself.
If he’d pointed out that the South West England especially, had for centuries, been subject to kidnapping and slavery from Barbary pirates so by the eighteenth century it was probably Bristol’s turn next in man’s inhumanity to man, it might, arguably have caused people to think a little more reflectively.
Personally I was rather more interested in an article in the Atlantic of a couple of months ago, by Rebecca Spang, Professor of history at Indiana University, in which she points out that revolutions are not individual events, but are times when societies gradually disintegrate. She says,
The United States may not be having a revolution right now, but we are surely living in revolutionary times. …. History feels like it is out of our hands.
Is Britain at a similar point? Certainly history feels like it it is out of most people’s hands – the trouble is that with Brexit, it feels like it is in the hands of hedge funds and speculators, rather than the peoples’.
Yet certainly when the article says :
Life will not go back to normal….. because the norms of the past decades are simply no longer tenable for huge numbers of Americans.
..that is going to be true of Britain. For sure life is uncertain for almost everyone, many have less money, many more have time, and many have time to think. Unsettling times have the possibility to be used creatively, and currently it is Black Lives Matter. The inability to pay housing rent while eviction is legally delayed will be concentrating minds. Already the government has proved that it cannot enforce the ‘no more than a gathering of six’ rule because it has insufficient numbers of police to enforce it. They have discovered that they have to govern – and police – by consent.
Government may be gradually discovering that although they have a whopping majority inside the Commons – they certainly don’t outside it.
While the government keeps exhorting us to be responsible, it simultaneously keeps many in penury and waiting five weeks for Universal Credit.
I wonder whether people may begin to think on slavery and wonder if we have a government, that is itself responsible, and if it isn’t whether it can be undermined – or even subverted…