Own those sins of the past to learn from them

Every nation on the globe has a history seeped in blood – and with the bigger ones it’s as much other people’s blood as it is their own.

Things have happened over the centuries that by today’s standards none of us should be proud of, but you can’t make things better by trying to erase history.

That’s like putting your hands over your eyes and thinking no one can see you.

Some dreadful things were done in the name of the British Empire – and we’re hardly the only ones, are we? Stand up Germany, China, Russia, Romans, Huns, Vikings, Visigoths et al – but to hide it from view is the worst of all options.

History just is. It happened and there’s nothing we can do about that, but to learn from it we have to accept our collective past and never allow it to be forgotten or hidden because of the embarrasment it may cause.

In 100 years time, should we have eradicated all record of the Windrush scandal or the entire freak show of the Trump presidency just because of the shame they should incite in generations present and future?

Of course not.

I’m not saying we have to keep statues paying homage to slave traders or whatever else on our streets. I can think of one of those whatever else’s that I could quite happily tear down myself if I suffered a sudden lapse of discipline, but then the question becomes where do you stop?

Concealing things achieves nothing. In fact it’s counter productive. As counter productive as the tidal wave of cancel culture we’re drowning in at present where words and deeds, some from decades ago, are being dug up to destroy reputations today.

If you’ve never done something in your life that you’re ashamed of, you’re either freshly out of the womb or you’re lying to yourself and taking the moral high ground (unless we’re talking Tommy Robinson, who we can safely assume is all kinds of wrong 100 per cent of the time) is hypocritical.

Behaving decently towards our fellow man doesn’t mean we have to lose our sense of humour and being offended by something doesn’t automatically make you right.

As The Bible says, don’t throw stones in glass houses, sinner.

Or something like that.

It’s not rocket science

I left a happy 67th birthday message on Facebook last weekend for a friend I’ve known since 1983, only to find to my horror that he had died in April from Covid-19.

So watching cretins nonchalantly walk into my local shop without wearing a mask has been even harder to take than usual this week.

This funny, kind husband, father, grandfather and mate is gone. I’m shocked and saddened but that’s as nothing compared to the sense of loss his family are feeling.

I’m also bloody angry as I continue to see people blithely ignoring health guidelines.

41,000 plus deaths seems to make no impression on them at all.

This is not rocket science folks, it’s straightforward. Wear a mask, avoid crowds and maybe give the holiday a miss this year.

It doesn’t have to be about YOU getting coronavirus – you could be asymptomatic and give it to someone else.

If it’s a choice between saving the economy and saving lives then surely we have to rethink how the economy works.

Why is that so difficult for people to appreciate? I just don’t get it.

Is it me?

What does it say about me that during the family Zoom quiz night at the weekend, the question – what is beneath Cleopatra’s Needle? – had me immediately thinking ‘Cleopatra’s heroin’ and – which five letter word can lose two letters to leave one? – prompted answers such as stone, prone etc. yet the first thing that came into my head was boner?

Put that stone down hypocrite!

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Edward Case

Columnist