Friday, 7 January 2022
Hit For Four
Among the arguments that were accepted by the jury was that the Colston Four had in fact greatly increased the value of Edward Colston's statue, which had just been one of those two-a-penny statutes of some long-dead bloke until they had defaced it and torn it down, thereby transforming it into a prized museum piece.
Suella Braverman is referring this case to the Court of Appeal, but what is it going to say? That a statue of a slave trader was not a breach of public order and an indecent display? That the removal of such was not a prevention of crime? That the statue had been worth more before? What, exactly? In fact, all that the Court of Appeal could say would be that the law required clarification. But it is perfectly clear as it is.
These acquittals are the verdict of the citizenry of Bristol on the imposed cult of Colston. But this trial could have been held anywhere in the country and the result would have been the same. Presented with the argument that a statue of a slave trader was a public obscenity that there was, if anything, a civic duty to remove, then at least 10 out of any 12 randomly assembled members of the public would have agreed. "How would you like it here?", the brief would have asked.
Braverman and her ilk demand that the Four be "held accountable", but how much more accountable can you be than to have stood trial in the Crown Court? The real cause of their soreness is that their AltRight tribute act is demonstrably not in any way the Voice of the People. It is not populist, because it is not popular. The combined forces of the "populist" Right, two of them very well-publicised, failed to take five per cent of the vote at North Shropshire, which had merrily elected Owen Paterson for decades.
The Conservatives' potential losses are not to Richard Tice or to Laurence Fox, but to the Liberal Democrats, as has already happened twice in this Parliament. To offset those losses, their potential gains are of seats that voted for Jeremy Corbyn both times, as has already happened at least once, with another result due to be decided in court.
Also in court, 10 out of 12 good persons and true have acquitted the Colston Four, as any such 10 or more out of 12 would have done in any city, town or village in the land. Not perversely, but because Colston's statue was as a breach of Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986, and an indecent display under Section 1 of the Indecent Displays (Control) Act 1981, such that pulling it down constituted a prevention of crime, and in fact greatly increased its value as an item. The People have spoken. Whether the "populists" like it or not.