Robert Peel’s statue must stay standing in Leeds - here’s why: Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Lord Jonathan Caine (Con), House of Lords, London.
The statue of Sir Robert Peel on Woodhouse Moor, Leeds.The statue of Sir Robert Peel on Woodhouse Moor, Leeds.
The statue of Sir Robert Peel on Woodhouse Moor, Leeds.

From: Lord Jonathan Caine (Con), House of Lords, London.

SIR Robert Peel should be celebrated not defenestrated. In addition to establishing the first modern police force, for which we should be grateful, Peel took Catholic emancipation through the House of Commons and stood up to the landed interest in the Conservative Party by repealing the Corn Laws.

While this hastened the end of his premiership, and split his party, it undoubtedly increased living standards for the poorer in society and paved the way for unprecedented levels of prosperity.

A statue of two-time British prime minister Sir Robert Peel in Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester, as a petition has been launched calling for its removal by Manchester City Council in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests.A statue of two-time British prime minister Sir Robert Peel in Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester, as a petition has been launched calling for its removal by Manchester City Council in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests.
A statue of two-time British prime minister Sir Robert Peel in Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester, as a petition has been launched calling for its removal by Manchester City Council in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests.
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Peel’s record in Ireland was far from perfect but his response to the famine, unusually for the time, included intervention and relief schemes. Peel’s approach might have been limited in its impact but it is absurd to describe it as a policy of genocide. His Whig successor, John Russell, deserves far greater criticism for his more laissez faire approach.

On slavery, Peel supported abolition in 1834-5 – which finally abolished slavery in the British Empire – and, as Prime Minister in 1845, he authorised the establishment of the Anti-Slavery Squadron comprising 35 ships.

By all means debate Peel’s record but let us not judge all historical figures solely through the lens of today’s standards and values. To do so is profoundly unhistorical and often a hallmark of tyrannical regimes.

We should be cautious of treading that path. Meanwhile the statues of a great statesman, including the one on Woodhouse Moor, Leeds, should be left alone.

Should the statue of Sir Robert Peel be removed? Tory peer Jonathan Caine thinks not.Should the statue of Sir Robert Peel be removed? Tory peer Jonathan Caine thinks not.
Should the statue of Sir Robert Peel be removed? Tory peer Jonathan Caine thinks not.

From: Phyllis Capstick, Hellifield.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

THE past cannot be altered by throwing a statue in a river. We must get on thinking about the present and the future, and working hard to make things work for the better.

The only way to have relative peace in the world is to have each country’s culture, heritage and history (good or bad) respected by its people and by anyone who moves there.

In the early 1900s, families in this country had to move around in order to find work. Since then people from different countries, and of differing cultures, move around the world for other reasons. There is always the option to return to their own cultures and their roots.

From: Mary Alexander, Knab Road, Sheffield.

HOW self-defeating to hold a mass rally under the banner ‘Black Lives Matter’ in a pandemic which disproportionately claims black lives.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Editor’s note: first and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.

Almost certainly you are here because you value the quality and the integrity of the journalism produced by The Yorkshire Post’s journalists - almost all of which live alongside you in Yorkshire, spending the wages they earn with Yorkshire businesses - who last year took this title to the industry watchdog’s Most Trusted Newspaper in Britain accolade.

And that is why I must make an urgent request of you: as advertising revenue declines, your support becomes evermore crucial to the maintenance of the journalistic standards expected of The Yorkshire Post. If you can, safely, please buy a paper or take up a subscription. We want to continue to make you proud of Yorkshire’s National Newspaper but we are going to need your help.

Postal subscription copies can be ordered by calling 0330 4030066 or by emailing [email protected]. Vouchers, to be exchanged at retail sales outlets - our newsagents need you, too - can be subscribed to by contacting subscriptions on 0330 1235950 or by visiting www.localsubsplus.co.uk where you should select The Yorkshire Post from the list of titles available.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

If you want to help right now, download our tablet app from the App / Play Stores. Every contribution you make helps to provide this county with the best regional journalism in the country.

Sincerely. Thank you.

James Mitchinson

Editor