How ‘wokes’ are shining a light on Harewood House’s slavery links – Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Martin Hemingway, Foxhill Court, Leeds.

Harewood House has been cited in the 'woke' debate.

SOME columnists deride a “woke” culture that shows itself in gestures against statues and pictures.

They may be right or wrong as gestures, but we must not lose sight, in looking at the toppled statue, of the awareness that led to the gesture. The gesture is not in itself important.

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To take a local example, the Earl of Harewood lives in a big house on a big estate. It is common knowledge that the wealth that built the house and the estate was derived from both owning slaves and being compensated for giving up slaves. The Earl of Harewood is awake if aware of this.

David Lascelles is the Earl of Harewood.

It does not require him to give anything up, make any statement, but it should condition his thinking about his place in the world, and about his actions.

That is a choice for him that appears when “woke” to the circumstances that provide his wealth and position.

The people, not all young, supporting Black Lives Matter are not saying that other lives do not matter, but recognising that some lives are lived with greater difficulty than others.

It could be “Poor Lives Matter”, it could be “Lives of the Disabled Matter” – they are all lives lived with barriers that people like me have not faced.

Being woke is about issues. A small parcel of land in Wortley, the TV Harrison ground, was not being maintained by those that should have looked after it, and people did not seem to care.

Then came the threat of development, of land intended for the children of Leeds being built on.

The local councillors had fought against this but to no effect, but when the threat became real, local people, people like my mother, born in Roderick Street just uphill from the ground, woke to the threat, and the threat has led to action. Anyone can go along Oldfied Lane and see the change that has taken place. Whether the action will save the ground or not we do not know, but the important step was the waking up.

When we are asleep the most we can build are dreams, and when we wake they are gone. What we build once awake can change the world. Let us praise the woke.

From: Paul Morley, Long Preston, Skipton.

IT hasn’t taken long for the lobbying group Stop Funding Hate (SFH) to get some large but gutless multinational companies to withdraw their advertising from GB News in a sickeningly grovelling manner.

Can’t these big companies see these people are a warped, sad minority and by giving in they 
are only encouraging this madness?

Perhaps it’s time the normal, sensible, silent majority hit back by hitting these companies where it hurts, in the cash till?

There are a lot more beer and cider companies about than Grolsch and Kopparberg and plenty more flat pack furniture makers than Ikea.

So let’s start supporting companies that are more interested in advertising and selling their products rather than indulging in pointless virtue signalling to appease a few misguided, demented “woke” warriors.

From: Ken Cooke, Ilkley.

Paul Morley, with his Anglo-Saxon surname, paints a fair picture of the history of immigration and colonialism (The Yorkshire Post, June 17).

I doubt, however, that his ancestors were enslaved by the Romans since, via north Germans and Scandinavians, Anglo-Saxons settled here as the Romans left.

In 1066 another colony of the Scandinavians in Normandy invaded and took over the Anglo-Saxon lands, establishing the feudal system and committing the majority of the population to serfdom.

Not only did the population remain in serfdom for the better part of 800 years, but the pattern of “invade and colonise” became an established practice of the English nobility, expanding around the globe.

The big irony is that the Empire was built on serfdom at home and serfdom in the occupied territories. Indeed, the Empire’s “enforcers” – its troops – consisted mainly of ‘serfs’, even up to the two World Wars to which Paul refers.

Ostensibly, the troops were fighting for freedom but – let’s face it – had they lost they would merely have acquired a new set of overlords. Very few soldiers get rich from wars.

Paul Morley’s ancestors may have suffered, but he cannot feel privileged – unlike the more favoured representatives of the feudal system we have inherited and which run the present government.

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