February Review: Statue Removals, SNP Civil War & Freedom Roadmap

February started with the sad news that Captain Sir Tom Moore had died after testing positive for Covid while in hospital. Having become a national treasure during the pandemic, news of Sir Tom’s passing spread fast… though not fast enough to reach Conservative MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, who announced to the Tory WhatsApp chat “Let’s hope Sir Tom recovers well“ one hour and thirty-two minutes after Moore’s family announced his death. It fell to Pauline Latham to give Clifton-Brown the news…

Meanwhile, with the country back under house arrest while jabs went into arms, other pressing matters rose to the fore, as Sadiq Khan revealed the details of his £247,000 “Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm”. The commission, which was set to expunge London of all statues and street names containing any tenuous “links” to slavery, soon created headaches for Khan when Guido dug out footage of commission member Toyin Agbetu yelling at the Queen and threatening to punch security as he was thrown out. The story would become Guido’s second most read of the year, and Sadiq would later sack Agbetu for antisemitism.

Even with Agbetu gone, Labour continued to make a meal of the debate, as Sir Keir himself decided to effectively back the removal of statues by claiming “if I was living in a community, I probably would like to express a view one way or the other. And I think that’s not a bad thing.” He did, at least, acknowledge that the whole debate wasn’t really a “top priority” in the context of a deadly pandemic…

North of the border, the civil war between Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond began to heat up. Sturgeon faced two inquiries over her handling of the sexual assault allegations against Salmond; one on a potential breach of the Ministerial Code, and another on whether her government had mishandled the complaints. When Guido reported on the Crown Office’s attempts to protect Sturgeon by redacting parts of Salmond’s evidence, Sturgeon’s censors started chasing him too…

In Westminster, Boris ended the month with the promise of brighter days ahead by unveiling England’s unlocking roadmap: “a cautious, but irreversible roadmap to freedom” which would see all restrictions lifted by the 21st June. Step 1A, scheduled for 8th March, would reopen schools, and allow two people the luxurious liberty of being able to enjoy coffee on a park bench…

Honourable mentions:

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