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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Resign, then.

The Times reports,

Staying neutral impossible after Black Lives Matter, says National Gallery chief

The head of the National Gallery has said the Black Lives Matters movement meant it was no longer feasible to remain politically neutral with silence now viewed as complicity.

Gabriele Finaldi told his board of trustees that in the past the museums funded directly by the government such as the National Gallery, Tate and British Museum had “refrained from making political statements”. Since the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement this year “a neutral stance was no longer feasible”, he said.

He added that in the past the state-funded institutions looking after national collections would try to “respond to events through its activities”. According to minutes of a board meeting in June, Mr Finaldi then said “that the climate had changed so that silence was now perceived as being complicit”.

Perceived by whom? Why doesn’t Mr Finaldi say who these people whose perceptions matter so much are? He talks about “the climate” as if it were something external and objective but I see nothing more than the opinions of his set.

Whatever “the climate” may mean, the National Gallery is not the only public institution living in this particular climate zone:

In June of this year most of the national museums, including the Victoria & Albert, the Science Museum and the Tate, released statements supporting the aims of the Black Lives Matter movement. Widespread demonstrations had taken place after the killing of George Floyd by police in the United States.

Hartwig Fischer, the director of the British Museum, wrote that “we are aligned with the spirit and soul of Black Lives Matter everywhere” while Sir Ian Blatchford, the director of the Science Museum, said it haunted him “that there have been too many false dawns, too many speeches and broken promises” in the battle for racial equality.

Times readers do not constitute a representative sample of the electorate, but I found it significant that out of the 194 reader comments so far I found precisely one that seemed to support Mr Finaldi, and that one might have been sarcasm.

25 comments to Resign, then.

  • Roué le Jour

    Money corrupts, free taxpayer’s money corrupts absolutely.

  • Fraser Orr

    Something that baffles me, and perhaps you Brits can explain, but what the hell has BLM got to do with you guys? I mean it is an entirely parochial American issue about supposed violence of our police against minorities, and the putative legacy of slavery and Jim Crow and how it is supposedly inculcated into our institutions.

    So none of that has anything at all to do with Britain or British politics. When I lived there I don’t remember racism being much of a big deal there, or even a political hot potato the way it is here.

    So my question for you Brits is: don’t you have enough of your own crap to deal with? Why are you stealing ours?

  • Flubber

    BLM is just Marxism in a frock.

    Marxism has utterly corrupted our so called elites.

    They all need firing and a permanent ban from any public sector role.

  • Roué le Jour

    The left is an international movement that manifests locally in whatever form gets results. The UK has black people, so it gets BLM.

  • Mr Ed

    I sympathise, I really do. When some people riot in the USA, and shoot an 8-year old girl, running an art gallery on England on taxpayers’ money becomes increasingly hard to justify. So a proposal for the gallery (and all museums):

    1. All State funding ceases today and any outstanding grants are paid back to the State.
    2. The trustees are personally liable for the outstanding liabilities of the institution and the preservation of contents therein.

  • Stonyground

    I can, just maybe, see a case for public funding of museums if they are preserving important artifacts and are genuinely educational. If they are going to get involved in partisan politics then they need to be defunded with immediate effect. Don’t we have laws against publically funded bodies pushing a political agenda? Or is it one of those laws that the left find to be too inconvenient to enforce?

  • Paul Marks

    Frasor Orr – Black Lives Matter (BLM) has nothing to do with the matters you mention.

    BLM is a violent Marxist movement (specifically Frankfurt School Marxism) which was founded in 2014 – I am astonished, utterly astonished, that you do not know this. It has nothing to do with “slavery”, “Jim Crow” (in Minnesota??????) or “police brutality” BLM were not out rioting when an Australian woman was murdered by a Somali police officer in Minneapolis.

    The fact that you (a generally well informed person) think that Marxist BLM is something to do with “slavery”, “Jim Crow”, and “police brutality” may explain why so many people voted for the Democrats yesterday. The Democrat control of the education system and the “mainstream media” has led a population who do not know a MARXIST TERRORIST MOVEMENT even when it is burning down buildings, and murdering people, in front of them.

    Of course Marxism is relevant to the United Kingdom – this is still, nominally, a “capitalist” country and so Marxist organisations (such as “Black Lives Matter”) want to destroy it. “But you did not have Jim Crow” (or whatever) is UTTERLY IRRELVANT.

    By the way note what the art gallery director said – “silence is not an option”.

    So, all those people who have said in the past “if only you had kept your mouth shut Paul” are WRONG.

    The Marxists do not want people to “keep their mouth shut” (say not write “Islamophobic” things on Social Media) the Marxists want everyone to voice fanatical support for their cause – more than “want”, the Marxists (such as the BLM Marxist terrorists) DEMAND that everyone shouts their support, and shows their support in every aspect of their lives. After all they are TOTALITARIANS – do I have to explain that this means TOTAL control of every aspect of life?

    And that includes “Woke” Big Business – which demands (yes DEMANDS) that everyone shout their support for the Frankfurt School of Marxism “Diversity and Inclusion” Agenda. “Capitalists” fanatically determined to DESTROY “Capitalism” – after all they were taught Marxist “Social Responsibility” at Business School. Although, with the cunning of pigs, they may want a Saint-Simon sort of socialism (with Big Business Corporate types actually IN CHARGE of the socialist society) rather than a Marxist form of socialism – where Big Business types are put up against a wall and shot.

    So the Art Gallery Director is only the tip of the iceberg – the “educated” classes are MOSTLY like him Perry, both in the bureaucracy and in the “Woke” Corporations.

    If not yet dead – the West is dying.

  • Paul Marks

    Still – Good Post Natalie!

  • Jacob

    Your patience in reading 194 comments is remarkable.

  • bobby b

    Y’all sure have a huge share of paywalled sites over there.

  • bobby b

    Paul Marks
    November 4, 2020 at 8:17 am

    “Frasor Orr – Black Lives Matter (BLM) has nothing to do with the matters you mention.”

    But, Paul, those matters that he mentioned are the entire FACE of BLM over here. Those are the issues with which they justify their existence, the issues they claim to champion, the issues their placards and chants and fires directly address.

    While it may not be their actual motivation, they’ve dragged along a lot of support of people who believe them, who believe that these matters are what matter.

    Do they simply dispense with that false front over there? Are they facially and proudly fighting for Marxism? What face do they present to the stupid public?

  • My knowledge of the following I owe to a Conquest limerick:

    In the bunker, Hitler cries “Ach, gut!
    Too soon Churchill thinks we’re kaput.
    Though he sneers at the Hun, for
    He thinks we’re quite done for,
    We’ve one last secret weapon – Hochhuth!”

    It concerns the very vigorous attempt by Kenneth Tynan, wokest of the woke in his day and (therefore?) artistic director of the National Theatre, to put on Hochhuth’s play ‘The Soldiers’ in 1967. Churchill had died two years before, so could not sue for libel over the play’s assertion that Churchill murdered his Polish ally General Sikorsky (and a few of his own Tory MPs as collateral damage) during the war. It is reported that Hochhuth wrote the play under the influence of a (then very young) David Irving.

    The difference between then and now is that the 1967 National Theatre Board (“consisting of a wide range of figures, left, right and centre” – Conquest) unanimously rejected Mr Tynan’s attempt to spend public money on Nazi propaganda. The BBC (interviewer David Frost) flatly refuted him on air. The historians whom Tynan told the board had assured him there was no evidence one way or another all said they’d rejected the idea “out of hand”.

    I don’t know what board oversees the National Gallery today, but I’d be (pleasantly) surprised if one could describe them as comprising “a wide range of figures, left, right and centre”.

    [Quotes are from Conquest’s essay “Their Foulest Hour”]

  • … over there … What face do they [BLM] present to the stupid public? (bobby b, November 4, 2020 at 10:44 am)

    Exactly the fictional face they present in the US. In some ways it is easier here. Few people in the UK have a clue about the political geography of the US or even its federalism. However I suspect (and/but also hope) that over here it is more of an imported and lightweight thing.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Jacob writes, “Your patience in reading 194 comments is remarkable.” I am not sure if you are being sarcastic, but, for the record, the comments to the Times story took between five and ten minutes to read. It would take considerably longer now, not just because there are now 308 comments, but because with many more replies and replies-to-replies the structure of the comments thread is more complex.

    I quite often skim-read whole comments threads. I must have read close to every comment to every article the Times published about Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations against Brett Kavanaugh. As the days went by it was fascinating and heartening to see the balance of reader opinion change in real time.

  • Martin

    So my question for you Brits is: don’t you have enough of your own crap to deal with? Why are you stealing ours?

    Because when America creates something shit, there’s always some section of Brits who will want to import it.

    The left in Britain are obsessed with America too. Despite being supposedly europhile they always seem far more interested in America than say France, Spain, Austria, etc. To the extent they care about Russia, Poland or Hungary it’s usually just to boo the supposed bogeymen that are in charge there, they have no real insight of those countries.

    The left are ironically the biggest proponents of American cultural imperialism in Britain.

  • AndrewZ

    The soft-left establishment still romanticizes revolution so it indulges the far-left and adopts its ideological fads. It is also a herd of virtue-signalling conformists who move in unison. As a result, it is shockingly easy for far-left movements like BLM or the greens to get the establishment to uncritically promote their claims to the rest of society. The tail wags the dog and the dog barks at us.

  • Jacob

    I’m probably not so good at skim-reading. I usually tire after 20-25 comments.

  • Nullius in Verba

    I regularly used to participate in climate science discussions where a thread could easily have five hundred to a thousand comments. I always find it mildly amusing when people here all collapse from exhaustion after it gets to about fifty. 🙂

  • John

    That has to be the shortest NiV post I have ever seen.

    Much of the time I “collapse from exhaustion” half way through one of his efforts.

  • Zero Sugar

    @Fraser Orr – we have a lot of Twitter-dwellers over here who like to cosplay as Americans. Sometimes it spills into the physical world.

    Hilariously, they often talk about “reparations” as well, even though British black people emigrated here, many directly from Africa, rather than being imported as slaves.

  • APL

    Zero Sugar: “Hilariously, they often talk about “reparations” as well, even though British black people emigrated here, many directly from Africa, rather than being imported as slaves.”

    There are a fair sized contingent of British & Commonwealth black folk who came to the UK via the Caribbean, where their ancestors may well have been enslaved.

    You may remember the furor about the fellow who had been in the UK for forty years, but never considered applying for citizenship or a passport. That was clearly a mark of racism and oppression by the perfidious British. Of course the political class fell over each other to prostrate themselves in his cause.

    Then, there was money involved. He’d found he’d not bothered to pay into a personal pension nor did he have any form of workplace pension nor as a non British citizen had he any National Insurance contributions, but as you do he wanted to retire.

  • Sam Duncan

    Whatever “the climate” may mean

    It may be apocryphal, but I can’t help thinking of the alleged Orwell quote: “True propaganda does not seek to persuade; it seeks to create a climate of thought in which dissent is seen as something akin to madness”.

  • Paul Marks

    Oh I see what you mean bobby b.

    Yes – to someone who does not take five minutes to research what “Black Lives Matter” it is about the matters that Frasor Orr mentions.

    I suspect that Frasor Orr’s point was that he understands what BLM really is very well – but that most people do not.

    Most people do not bother to do five minutes and just get their opinions from the “mainstream media”?

    Sadly I suspect that Frasor Orr is correct about that.

    As for this country….

    Lord Grey gave millions of taxpayer money to SLAVE OWNERS in the 1830s – boo-hiss “systematic racism”, pull down his statues, Kill! Kill! Kill!

    Lord Grey spent this money ENDING SLAVERY all over the Empire (slavery that had existed for thousands of years before the British came) – but BLM leaves out that detail.

    Ditto with the rest of their “history”.

  • bobby b

    Paul Marks
    November 5, 2020 at 4:49 pm

    “Yes – to someone who does not take five minutes to research what “Black Lives Matter” it is about the matters that Frasor Orr mentions.”

    Exactly. That’s what I meant by “the stupid public.” Sadly, it seems to be the majority of the public.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Much of the time I “collapse from exhaustion” half way through one of his efforts.”

    Ah! The ‘Soundbite’ generation! 🙂