Nelsons Column: 'Our failure to confront our uncomfortable past is toxic', says columnist

Nelsons Column: 'Our failure to confront our uncomfortable past is toxic', says columnist

Afua Hirsch says the statue should be viewed in true context

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The most toxic and divisive thing in our society is our failure to confront our uncomfortable past, according to a columnist.

Columnist Afua Hirsch has claimed in The Guardian that Britain is still celebrating its shameful era by having a statue of Admiral Horatio Nelson in Trafalgar Square.

She told Richard Madeley that "if you look at Nelson, even within the contexts of those times, he was most vociferously advocating in favour of slavery at a time when the rest of the country was moving far more towards abolition.

"The other side, which is the darker side  –  perhaps more uncomfortable for us to remember – has been completely swept under the carpet."

She believes "most of the people who are looking at Nelson’s Column have no idea" about his views on slavery and added "I’m not exaggerating when I say I think the really toxic and divisive thing in our society...is our failure to confront our true past and our true identity.

"The role that people like Nelson played created structural inequality that persists today."

However despite her views Hirsch says she's “not suggesting we smash up Nelson’s Column I think we should put it somewhere where it can be in a true context."

Listen to the full interview above