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Ex-Mayor Livingstone

Mandela paid for by you

Mandela statueI am pleased for Nelson Mandela that he will get to see a statue of himself unveiled in Parliament Square today.

He is one of our age’s heroes so good luck to him.

Originally Livingstone wanted this statue in Trafalgar square and back in 2000 the Mayor commented unfavourably about two of the statues already there:

I think that the people on the plinths in the main square in our capital city should be identifiable to the generality of the population. I have not a clue who two of the generals there are or what they did. I imagine that not one person in 10,000 going through Trafalgar Square knows any details about the lives of those two generals. It might be that it is time to look at moving them and having figures on those plinths that ordinary Londoners would know.

He was dissing Lieutenant General Sir Charles James Napier who fought with great distinction and was repeatedly wounded in the Peninsula War (that will be freeing Europe from tyranny in case your history is not up to it) and Major-General Sir Henry Havelock who again fought with great distinction in India and died of dysentery far from home. Whatever you think of British India he was a lion of a man who, given the chance of displaying his military prowess, led an army to the relief of Lucknow and although vastly outnumbered won a succession of spectacular victories.

What Livingstone failed to mention was that both of these statues were raised by public subscription. Indeed the inscription on Napier’s statue says (see photo):

Erected by public subscription. The most numerous contributors being private soldiers.

The situation with Mandela is not so good. In spite of his world renown the Mayor cannot be bothered to ask us for money so he just took it from us. According to the Sunday Times:

The estimated £500,000 cost will be met largely by the Greater London Authority.

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