It’s time to tear down our (virtual) statues

It’s time to tear down our (virtual) statues

“it is time for Essexia to tear down it’s figurative statues of outdated ideals and limited racial relevance.”

Late last month, I participated in a Parliamentary debate regarding the nation’s Patron Saint, Guglielmo Marconi. MPs from the Progressive Worker’s Party (PWP) brought forward calls to replace Marconi with a more respectable figure, primarily due to Marconi’s prevalent links to fascism. Myself and my political ally, Lord Jamie, debated for the contrary – Something along the lines of ‘regardless of his mistakes and faults, we should celebrate the achievement he brought to Chelmsford in years passed‘.

Marconi is widely accredited as the father of radio communications, a field which he pioneered in Chelmsford, Essex, in the early 20th century. Following his success in Britain and Italy, especially during the First World War, Marconi joined the Italian Fascist Party in the early 1920s. He worked towards developing Benito Mussolini’s Italy until his death in 1937, at the age of 63. His statue in Chelmsford was built in 2002, and moved to Marconi Plaza in 2008.

Statue of Marconi in Marconi Plaza, Chelmsford (Julian Read, EssexLife)

In mid 2018, the Parliament of the Kingdom of Essexia (Then colloquially referred to as the Senate) opened a discussion regarding Essexia’s patron saint, which it did not possess at the time. Marconi was a quick and obvious response, being widely celebrated in Chelmsford and well known to most Essexians. However, it was not until two years later that criticism erupted, namely from the PWP who (allegedly*) agreed to promote Maconi to the position.

The debate in May quickly became heated, leading to myself being temporarily ‘removed’ from Parliament by the Emperor (In events remarkably similar to those that began the First Essexian Civil War in September 2018). All in all, and as far as I am aware, no new Patron Saint was allocated (Based on the fact that the MicroWiki page still displays Guglielmo Marconi as holding the role) – Yet another example of the Rhino Alliance’s failure as a government to address prior committments.

Regardless of my political commentary on the matter, the debate began around the time that George Flloyd was brutally murdered in the ‘Land of the Free’, the United States of America. Since then, riots and protests have erupted around the world, against racism and discrimination in various nations. A subsequent result is that a statue of slave-trader and philanthropist Edward Colston was violently torn down in Bristol, in a scene widely compared to the destruction of a statue of Iraqi-dictator Saddam Hussein in Baghdad, over 17 years ago.

Of course, debates questioning the existence of various Statues are widespread, including figures such as Winston Churchill, Horatio Nelson and Cecil Rhodes. Against this backdrop, and contrary to my previous argument, I say that it is finally time that we remove Marconi as our patron saint – from the front page of Essexia to the pages of our history. Essexians should be taught not just about Marconi’s successes, but his faults aswell. The PWP raised this debate, and they should be held accountable to closing it in a way that respects all Essexians, regardless of their race, beliefs or otherwise.

The largest problem in this call for action is, who should replace him? The list of living contenders is enormous: Damon Albarn, Joey Essex, Lee Evans, Megan McKenna, Jane Yardley, and may more. But a key trait of any ‘good’ patron saint is that they’re…dead. And furthermore, the vast majority of famous and historical contenders, living or dead, are all in very similar categories – WASPS, Cis-Het-White-Males and Tories.

Damon Albarn, my would-be contender for Essexia’s patron saint, seen here performing in 2010 as Gorillaz (Bill Ebbesen, Wikimedia Commons)

I’m not here to tell the Parliament who to choose as Marconi’s PC successor, but I am here to advise them that they should choose a figure who is universally respected, who is culturally or historically significant to Essex and will offend as few patriotic Essexians as possible, if any.

Against the protests and riots, it is time for Essexia to tear down it’s figurative statues of outdated ideals and limited racial relevance. Whilst we should not ignore or alter our history, we should teach the truth – Marconi may have been a great inventor and one of the pioneers of the Chelmsfordian technology industry, he was also a discriminating fascist who furthered the goals of dictator Benito Mussolini. Teaching Essexians, young and old, about our history in this manner is a step towards a truly universal and PC Essexia. This, surely, is a goal that all of us can support, can look forward to, can agree upon regardless of political stance, age, race, gender, beliefs – regardless of any physical or mental walls.

Jack is a British citizen, and a previous First Minister of Essexia.

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