In 2003, the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s statue in Firdos Square, Baghdad, received saturation media coverage which fuelled the perception that the war had been won. This event along with George Bush’s hackneyed declaration of victory aboard a battleship in the Persian Gulf, diverted attention from start of a long and costly conflict.
In the same way,the statue toppling of Confederate generals across the US and the slave trader in Bristol is diverting attention from what really matters to the Black Lives Matter movement – real social change. These violent emotional TV dramas have shifted the debate on to what, for the government and the media is familiar territory. Already we see authorities, sensing the powerful forces at play, prepared to remove statues. This will be easier and cheaper than actually dealing with the massive problems of inequality and poverty in housing, education and employment.