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Monday, 25 January 2021 10:53

The Lendy Memorial - Further Academic Research May be Biased

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Further to the article posted here on 18th January, the Association has made the following submission to be considered by Cabinet on 27th January:

"It is great news that the O&S Committee is recommending to Cabinet that the hoarding on the Lendy Memorial [pictured] be removed. The further recommendation that the Council should support additional research by two Brunel University academics is more problematic.

"One of those academics, Dr Dornan, tweets: "Toppling monuments does not mean erasing history ... Nor is putting them in a museum a way of removing them from public scrutiny – quite the reverse. Pulling down statues has nothing to do with history, & everything to do with memory. Statues are about the present, not the past" A delightfully equivocal polemic from Dr Dornan, it could be argued; however, any vestige of ambiguity disappears when we consider a re-tweet (amongst others) from Dr.Inge Dornan's Twitter account on 25th August which reveals with alacrity the British Museum's removal of the founder's statue over slavery links: "Hans Sloane pushed off pedestal"

"It is curious that one of the lead voices in the O&S debate, Cllr. Langden (Staines), postulated that support for the two academics would "send out the right message nationally" (whatever that means) and that bias might be perceived if the well researched paper by Alan Doyle was seen as "just from a local resident" and would scream "dodgy". A few minutes of research by Cllr. Langden would have revealed that the academic in whom he asks the Council to put its trust is anything other than impartial; and this goes way beyond a mere 'perception'.

"The academic, Dr. Inge Dornan, is of course entitled to her views and, laudable though they may be, she will not be perceived as an honest broker in this affair. In any event, as the officer was able to inform the O&S Committee, the two academics would proceed with their work regardless of Council's endorsement. If such an endorsement were to be forthcoming it's reasonable to suppose that the Council would find itself beholden to the outcome whatever that may be.

"We ask therefore that you decline the recommendation of the O&S Committee which was passed with the least possible majority of one vote."

7 comments

  • Comment Link Penny Standen Tuesday, 02 February 2021 19:59 posted by Penny Standen

    Having lived in Lower Sunbury for more than 50 years, I feel fairly confident that no historian, reputable or otherwise, is going to turn up any "sinister" links to the Lendy Lion such as would lead to local residents wanting it removed.

    But my objection to the Council giving its support to the Brunel academic researchers is rather more prosaic. They are asking for it because, whilst they are not asking the Council for any of its own money, its "support" will strengthen their case for more government (or government agency) funds, to enable it to continue its work.

    We are on the brink of the worst financial crisis since the last war thanks to Covid. Why on earth would Spelthorne Council want to be associated with putting pressure on the government to spend money on projects such as this? If it is going to involve itself in putting pressure on the government at all, it should at least be for something which would be of clear and obvious benefit to local residents - and that local residents actually want!

    We already have the good fortune of an excellent full provenance of the memorial from a local resident, Alan Doyle. I can think of nothing - absolutely NOTHING - that could or should be less important to our local community just right now, than that the council should be pressuring the government to spend its money on supporting academic research which may (but probably will not) discredit Alan Doyle's work.

    I think the expression is "fiddling while Rome burns". PLEASE just give me a break!!!

  • Comment Link Elleke Friday, 29 January 2021 10:20 posted by Elleke

    I am going to stick my neck out here as I am well aware that in my opinion, all the comments I have read so far incl. David Miller’s, are well made but are from different perspectives. It is also my view however, that even science is interpreted differently by different scientists (I realise this is where I am sticking my neck out) and it is not as simple as ‘who knows best’ as all outcomes should not just be based on science but on many other factors as important which has in my view, been clearly demonstrated at the constant difficult decision making process during the current pandemic. But going back to ‘our Lion’, this should absolutely not solely depend on any scientific/ academic decision but include many other factors such as local views, wishes,, local history and I am sure once I have posted my comment, I can think of many more.

  • Comment Link David Miller Thursday, 28 January 2021 23:44 posted by David Miller

    I'm not sure you can discredit an expert by judging their re-tweeting actions, labelling them activists or by simply over-using inverted commas in your argument. Inge Dornan is a scholar and lecturer in histories of race and gender in Britain and the Americas. She joined Brunel University London in 2003, after completing her PhD at Cambridge University. She has a Phd from Cambridge. Mr Catt, you have a blog. I mean no offence, but your argument is extremely weak. You contradict yourself when you try to renounce the majority of social sciences/humanities by claiming they are 'built on opinions not provable science', and then go on an opinionated conservative rant, talking about majorities without any 'provable science' to back up your argument. I think it's an insult to academics everywhere that you think they hide away in Universities 'that make sure only their minority views are heard by rather ignorant impressionable students', and that 'Doing serious research that benefits the everyday lives of majority of those who pay for it is not their plan'. Do you seriously believe people like yourself know better than them? For the record, qualitative research is actually very useful- but that's just my opinion.

    Am I not right in thinking that the idea here is to introduce historians into this argument to get an honest, rounded view of what has happened in the past, then decide what to do accordingly in the present? If there is no link to anything sinister, as Mr. Alan Doyle believes, then surely let as many academics and historians from different political persuasions join him by getting involved in drawing up a comprehensive, concise history of the Lendy brothers memorial, which can then be printed and published on the site near the memorial. There would be no need for this ridiculous aggressive talk of 'taking them on', and I'm sure the majority of Sunbury's residents would love to learn a little bit about our home town. Of course, if there are sinister links uncovered by reputable historians, perhaps even staunch supporters of the memorial might not want to see it taking pride of place in the centre of the walled gardens... who knows?

  • Comment Link Elleke Tuesday, 26 January 2021 19:37 posted by Elleke

    Some really well made comments but how can we move this forward/ ‘take them on’?

  • Comment Link John Hirsh Tuesday, 26 January 2021 17:38 posted by John Hirsh

    We need a united front across mainstream politics — and indeed wider society — to resist those who would see it as their mission to secure ideological hegemony across our public life. They have enjoyed success so far only because they have too frequently been indulged. The only serious option now is to take them on.

  • Comment Link John Hirsh Tuesday, 26 January 2021 17:37 posted by John Hirsh

    We need a united front across mainstream politics — and indeed wider society — to resist those who would see it as their mission to secure ideological hegemony across our public life. They have enjoyed success so far only because they have too frequently been indulged. The only serious option now is to take them on.

  • Comment Link Brian R Catt Tuesday, 26 January 2021 12:53 posted by Brian R Catt

    Much of academe, especially the unchallenging 'ologies, which are built on opinions not provable science, have been infiltrated by activists like Dr. Dornan. These people seek to promote minority interests and beliefs at the actual and fiscal cost of the majority, so they can be imposed by law against the wishes of those majorities. Hence the safe spaces and no platform policies in Universities that make sure only their minority views are heard, by rather ignorant impressionable students. Doing serious research that benefits the everyday lives of majority of those who pay for it is not their plan. They are there to impose their minority beliefs on the majority through the law, and are the effective academic wing of organisations like "Topple the Racists", manufacturing academic "credibility" for minority views by distorting reality to match their beliefs and support their activism. So for our officials to fall into the trap of being advised by such self appointed "expert" people is as daft or misleading as it gets. OFFICIALS ONLY TAKE ADVICE THAT REINFORCES THE DECISION THEY ALREADY MADE. Which is the prima face concern here. Officials jobs require the ability to write a paper supporting a proposal, then write one equally damning of the same proposition an hour later if the leader instructs them to. How politics is done, whatever the people actually want, the system can impose its will and that is decided by minorities who are advised by carefully selected experts, presented as representing us, so the councillors can vote to impose unwanted agendas on us in our names - on the advice of those their activist "experts". "It's the law". Richard Feynman explained best how such "experts" work in his interview series at CalTech. Dr Dornan is one such external "expert". Why do the people of Sunbury or Spelthorne need to ask an activist academic her left wing views on our statue, a Lion in a walled garden enjoyed by almost everyone? Unless they want to impose the hateful activism of some chippy activists against us and our pleasant park, that the people of Sunbury helped to build only a few years ago, and the Queen and Princess Alice have enjoyed. People who have never been there but have strong opinions. Do they run our borough now? What happened to representative democracy? Not in my name. etc. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWr39Q9vBgo

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