Permit me to conflate two issues in order to make a point. While Nicola Sturgeon single-handedly wipes “dead white men” from history, in this case, her support for plans to rename a building at Glasgow University to better reflect equality and diversity, may I draw her attention to the number of “dead white men” who never got the chance to make their mark in society after various governments sent them off to war; never to return.
Rebranding history to fit the fashion for political correctness is just another example of power being concentrated in the hands of too few influential people. The government should represent all of the electorate, not just those who make the “right” kind of headlines according to our fickle media.
No one doubts the importance of giving women and black people equal opportunities and representation in society but if we are to have fairness and equality it should be on individual merit.
In Fife the names of philanthropist Andrew Carnegie and Enlightenment economist Adam Smith have been wiped from their two respective colleges during a recent merger.
Andrew Carnegie’s impoverished family led him to seek a new life in America and he never forgot his roots. He wouldn’t be remembered, however, if he had been just another working-class white boy; he had to earn his fame and fortune.
Many working-class white men overcome prejudice and setback in their quest for success but there is very little written in today’s media about their struggle. Many service veterans from Northern Ireland, the Falklands, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan now live with undiagnosed mental health issues and suffer discrimination in the work place; some of this may even be to fulfil quotas in the promotion of so-called equality and diversity.
Perhaps we should name buildings after them. I want to work with people from all backgrounds to eradicate all forms of prejudice but let’s not substitute one kind of prejudice for another.
One day when the revolving door of history comes full circle we will appreciate this but politicians with their eye on short-term vote-winners will be off on some other quest for the disenfranchised of the future.