Boris declares war on woke with pledge to DEFUND museums that remove statues


Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has warned institutions that remove statues and objects that are linked to colonialism risk being defunded. In a letter seen by The Telegraph addressed to cultural institutions, Mr Dowden said the Government “does not support the removal of statues or other similar objects”.

He added that it was “imperative” that Government-funded organisations “act impartially”.

The contents of the letter applied to many renowned institutions including the British Museum and Tate galleries.

It was also addressed to the Museum of the Home in east London, which came under fire over a statue of Sir Robert Geffrye, a merchant and slave trader.

In the letter, sent on Tuesday, Mr Dowden said: “History is ridden with moral complexity.

“Statues and other historical objects were created by generations with different perspectives and understandings of right and wrong.

“Some represent figures who have said or done things which we may find deeply offensive and would not defend today.

“But though we may now disagree with those who created them or who they represent, they play an important role in teaching us about our past, with all its faults.”

He added: “The Government does not support the removal of statues or other similar objects.

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“Further, as publicly funded bodies, you should not be taking actions motivated by activism or politics.

“The significant support that you receive from the taxpayer is an acknowledgement of the important cultural role you play for the entire country.

“It is imperative that you continue to act impartially, in line with your publicly funded status, and not in a way that brings this into question.

“This is especially important as we enter a challenging Comprehensive Spending Review, in which all government spending will rightly be scrutinised.”

In June, the Black Lives Matter protest denounced that statues of slave traders were still standing despite their historical background.

A group of protesters in Bristol toppled a statue of Edward Colston, a merchant and a slave trader, in a gesture Prime Minister Boris Johnson strongly condemned.

Following the event, Mr Johnson said “we cannot now try to edit or censor our past”.

He added: “We cannot pretend to have a different history. The statues in our cities and towns were put up by previous generations.

“They had different perspectives, different understandings of right and wrong.

“But those statues teach us about our past, with all its faults. To tear them down would be to lie about our history, and impoverish the education of generations to come.”


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