Ignore history and be doomed to repeat it.
The news that London Mayor Sadiq Khan is preparing a censorial Star Chamber on the future of statues in the nation's capital should strike terror into the hearts of students of history.
And also those who believe that we should accept it, good or bad, if only to learn from it, borrowing a phrase from Sadiq himself, "warts and all".
The wanton destruction of our heritage, whether by mobs of hoodlums or mayors (it's more than just the author of London's Khanage who's involved), is Orwellian. It's not the role of government to force cultural change, but rather to reflect it.
UKIP has further concerns that the commission – co-chaired by Debbie Weekes-Bernard, Deputy Mayor for the Ministry of Truth called "social integration" – is purely political. It will be staffed by ignorant fanatics with an extreme-left agenda, seeking the destruction of British heritage. The world has far too often witnessed what happens when we allow controlling politicians to shape culture and history.
If we refuse to engage in history and keep reminders of the past around us, we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of earlier generations.
It is but a short step from removing statues from public view – or destroying them as we saw in Bristol – to extending this effort to books deemed against the "new narrative". As John Milton wrote in 1644 in Areopagitica:
"Books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a potency of life in them as to be as active as that soul was whose progeny they are… Who kills a man kills a reasonable creature… but he who destroys a good book, kills reason itself".
Adapting Heinrich Heine, "That was but a prelude; where they smash statues and burn books, they will ultimately smash and burn people as well".
We are at a fork in the road. One way leads to a very dark future where rabid History-Deniers wield power in the name of a far-left ideology to massage the minds of coming generations. The other, perhaps rockier, is the one where we accept the past for what it was, take its lessons as strength, and a yearning to be better.
Mayor Khan's decision is more than an assault on the past; it is a crippling blow to the future.
Sack Khan, not London!
UKIP National Campaign Manager & London Regional Chairman