WITH Bonfire Night just round the corner, there are plenty of fireworks planned – but they seem to have gone off early at Alnwick Town Council.
Passions have become inflamed after six councillors voted not to adopt the statue of Harry Hotspur. They were in the majority on the night, but that hasn’t stopped a war of words breaking out over the decision.
Some commentators have questioned why a monument was built to a man they brand a vandal, thug and killer. They are entitled to their opinions.
But they must also respect the simple fact that Hotspur, and his deeds, made him a hero in England, not only during his lifetime, but for centuries after. He is an intrinsic figure in our history and should be respected as such.
There is no doubt that war, in all forms, is abhorrent – but it happens. War was waged during Hotspur’s day, it is still waged now by our leaders. And many of those who have perpetrated it in the past stand immortalised in stone or bronze.
If we are so ashamed of our past, do we now demolish Nelson’s Column or remove the statue of Winston Churchill to sanitise our history of their roles as great war leaders? Of course not.
The people of Morpeth have just this week marked Trafalgar Day with a toast to Lord Collingwood, who played a pivotal role in a naval battle which resulted in the deaths of more than 3,200 French and Spanish sailors. A further 2,500 were injured. Does that make Collingwood another monster of history?
Like Morpeth, we should be doing more to celebrate our heritage, not less.