Islington Boer War statue

The farcical rush to destroy British history continues apace, and I was amused by this article in the Islington Tribune (Christ alone knows what sort of ghastly muesli-eating Reds buy that rag):

Some excerpts from it:

A HISTORIAN has urged the council to resist calls to tear down a statue dedicated to a British colonial war.
Neal Ascherson, a visiting professor at University College London’s Institute of Archaeology, wrote to the Tribune with his concerns that the Boer War statue at Highbury Corner could be drawn into a review of memorials triggered by the Black Lives Matter protests.
Instead of removing it, he said Islington should add another statue next to it which celebrates indigenous Africans who were caught in the crossfire of the colonial dispute.
It is understood the council has investigated the monument as part of a review ordered after demonstrators pulled down the statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol earlier this month.
Mr Ascherson, 80, who lives in Highbury, said: “The Second Boer War was between two white nations exploiting black labour in what is modern day South Africa. The memorial remembers the poor lads who died in this completely stupid war, which really achieved nothing.”
Tensions between the British Empire and Dutch settlers, known as Boers, had been simmering for most of the 19th century.
The Boers, who had originally settled in what is now South Africa in the 1600s, moved out of the area that is roughly Cape Town in the early 19th century. They were infuriated by Britain’s attempts to impose the abolition of slavery on them.
They moved eastward towards modern day Johannesburg and were largely left alone until the vast Rand gold mine was discovered. Then the British moved in and war broke out in 1899.
Mr Ascherson, an honorary fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, suggested Islington Council could consider something similar to the statue of an anonymous African woman in Edinburgh which recognises the Scottish capital’s stand against apartheid in the 1980s.
The current monument in the south-west corner of Highbury Place and Highbury Crescent was erected in 1905 and dedicated to the near-100 people of the borough who died during the Boer War.
A legacy of the Boer War was the eventual apartheid regime that persisted until the early 1990s. He added: “Islington is a place that is full of people who marched against apartheid over the years and it was certainly one of the centres for enthusiasm to free Mandela.”

While I of course agree with him that the statue should remain in place, quite why an Archaeologist (who looks rather like a relic himself) should be considered as a valid subject matter expert on this is beyond me. Needless to say, his comments on the Boer War are utterly inaccurate, and seem to have been made with a mind to not upsetting the sandal-wearing Lefties of Islington, rather than to portray what actually happened in the conflict.

For example, let’s take his claim that the Boer War ‘achieved nothing’.
Well, no – that is quite simply rubbish.
The Boer War was forced on the British when the Boer republics invaded British territory. So what British victory achieved was to prevent this aggression from succeeding, and thus meant the people of Bechuanaland, Rhodesia, Natal and the Cape were spared from living under the tyrannical rule of the Boers.

It would be like claiming the Falklands War ‘achieved nothing’… well, except sparing the Falkland Islanders from living under the jack boot of a fascist dictatorship.

By preventing the Cape Colony from being annexed by Kruger’s invaders, British victory secured the colour-blind Cape Qualified Franchise for another couple of generations, before it was abolished by the Apartheid regime. British victory also saw  the vote extended to the Uitlanders of the Transvaal, who had been denied it by Kruger’s Fundamentalist Kleptocracy.

As for the claim that the Boer War was fought between ‘two white nations’, that is equally nonsense, as the British were attacked by two Boer republics – so unless my maths is letting me down, that’s three nations already.

And as British victory in the Boer War secured the Cape Qualified Franchise and extended the franchise in the Transvaal, it is ridiculous to pretend that the (much) later Apartheid regime is a ‘legacy’ of the conflict.

The one thing that this article proves is that it is not just some South African academics who are completely ignorant about the Boer War – seems Britain has their fair share too.


  • AM Posted June 28, 2020 1:21 pm

    Most people in the UK who are interested in the Boer War will have read Pakenham’s book and little else.

    • Bulldog Posted June 29, 2020 9:22 am

      Yup – and that’s a crying shame. Pakenham’s (AWB-approved) rubbish is responsible for a lot of the myths.

  • Chris Posted July 5, 2020 10:12 am

    Good Day Bulldog

    I have recently read ( still busy reading )
    W P Schreiner A South African — author Prof Eric A Walker
    I gather you do not particularly like Schreiner –please read the book

    I am finding it particularly interesting –Jameson was a very clever plant — a snake in the grass. Read Mani Maritz for a revelation of the REAL reason he decided to march on Johannesburg. One believes contrary to the wishes of Rhodes ( HOW did they manage to cut the WRONG telegraph line ?

    I am afraid I must agree — WHAT did the ABW accomplish ?

  • Chris Posted July 5, 2020 10:12 am

    Anyone who reads OUTSIDE the military aspects of the war will quickly understand that the bittereinders who became the leaders of the parties in the newly self governed previously Boer republics had the upper hand in the National convention 1908 / 1909 / 1910 Act of Union. The Cape Colony — the mother colony became a real casualty of that disaster.

    Read about SAUER and the 1913 Natives Land Act — the native policy of the old Boer republics in full force ( Sauer died very shortly after the passing of this act )

    In 1948 they achieved another milestone on the road to Krugers — Afrikander Republic and in 1961 they finally accomplished this — see the link to the momentous date.

    Actually in the end the Boer republicans GOT their — Afrika vor de Afrikander

    Much as I enjoy your recouinting of the military aspects I do think that you need to review your understanding of the POLITICAL aspects !

    • Bulldog Posted July 14, 2020 9:18 am

      Yes, the Boers did end up dominating South Africa politically despite British victory in the war, I fully agree.
      However, Boers like Smuts and Botha became loyal to the Empire, and South Africa fought for Britain in two World Wars, for example – would that have happened had Kruger’s invasions succeeded?
      Because, 50-60 years later, things went in a different, and very unpleasant, direction, doesn’t – to my mind – mean the war didn’t achieve anything. One could equally say, for example, that Scotland’s victory at Bannockburn achieved nothing because Scotland ended up in a Union with England a few hundred years later in any case.

      • AM Posted July 17, 2020 2:11 pm

        One could also say the same thing about the Boers. Every war they fought against the British and the native South Africans was basically pointless since in 1994 they ceded control of South Africa to the black majority.

        • Bulldog Posted July 17, 2020 2:27 pm

          If we are to judge wars by what happened decades later, then every conflict was pointless.

  • Chris Posted July 14, 2020 8:41 am

    In 1877 he was knighted,[5] and in 1882 he was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG).[6] He was admitted to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom in 1897,[7] and in 1910 he was raised to the peerage as Baron de Villiers, of Wynberg in the Province of the Cape of Good Hope and the Union of South Africa.[8]
    He was South African Freemason.
    ( As was Louis Botha — and many others )

  • Chris Posted July 19, 2020 9:09 am

    Dear Bulldog

    “The Origins of the Anglo Boer War”
    The Archive Series

    “The Anglo-Boer War”
    Why was it fought ?
    Who was Responsible ?
    Theodore C Caldwell
    Problems in European Civilization
    D.G Heath and Company

    Both have a smany references to primary source material as — “Krugers War”
    Much material I have never seen before ( quoting BPP )
    Including Delagoa Bay and negotiatians with the Portuguese and the Germans

  • Chris Posted July 19, 2020 9:26 am

    Suddenly only a few years after a terrible war and the losses in the — Resettlement camps ..
    The Boers in the previously independent republics are NOW suddenly going to become — good little Englanders ?
    Come on people — ANYONE who believes this has rocks in their head !
    The fact that the leaders of the political parties in the newly self-governing colonies were ALL bittereinders should surely tell you something

    • Bulldog Posted July 19, 2020 9:50 am

      No, not sure anyone is saying that.
      However, the reality is that the Union of South Africa was a loyal Dominion for about 50 years – there is no way this could have happened had the Boer War not been won. There were plenty of Afrikaners who had been pro-British (or, at least, neutral) prior to the war, and it is indisputable that the likes of Smuts and Botha became pro-Empire.
      The statement was that victory in the Boer War ‘achieved nothing’. This is clearly untrue, as it prevented Kruger’s long-held dream of establishing an ‘Afrikaans Empire from the Zambesi to the Cape’. It prevented him imposing his racist (even by the standards of the day) laws on the Cape Colony. It gained the Uitlanders the vote. It created a loyal Dominion in the shape of the Union of South Africa.
      So to claim British victory achieved nothing doesn’t seem logical to me.
      Was the surrender all a bit of a messy compromise, rather than being completely unconditional?
      Sure – but that’s far from unusual in warfare.

      • Chris Posted July 19, 2020 10:00 am

        What happened to the numbers of “uitlanders” after 1910 in the Transvaal ?
        I think we need to look at the first major UNION census in 1911
        In any case
        The Uitlanders were UNABLE to have any real effect in 1948
        When the country districts due to ward and voting laws were able to carry the day — with a MINORITY !
        Those pesky Boers who had NOT forgotten 1899-1902

        • Bulldog Posted July 19, 2020 10:08 am

          Chris, I take your point, but none of that equates to the Boer War not achieving anything. I still feel that talking about events in 1948 is not really relevant to whether or not the Boer War achieved anything – of course there were large numbers of embittered Boer voters: but the only way this could have been changed was to forcibly relocate them somewhere, or kill them all – neither option being terribly palatable, I would suggest. An alternative would have been to adopt Kruger’s tactics, and strip non-English speakers of the franchise in 1910, but this was certainly not the British way either.
          The Uitlander vote tended to split, whereas the Boers tended to vote as a block.
          The large numbers of immigrants which Milner predicted did not materialise – quite why, is an interesting point.

  • Chris Posted July 19, 2020 9:27 am

    As well as
    The tarriffs and railways conference in 1908
    ( chaired by Frederick Moor who was at school in Hermannsburg with Louis Botha )
    The National Convention in 1909
    ( A gathering of Bittereinders / Capitalists / Bondsmen )
    Union in 1910
    The Rebellion in 1914
    They may well have been militarily defeated BUT — they were STILL BOERS !
    STILL hating the British
    STILL bitterly stoic under the yoke of British Imperialism
    The fact that Smuts ( too slim by far ) and Botha were able to dampen this was more a case of many of the Boers not wanting to go through another war.
    Hertzog was happy to continue the fight via political and parliamentary means

  • Chris Posted July 20, 2020 10:54 am

    What would also make an interesting study is what was going on in the inner halls of Afrikanerdom in the OVS
    After Brand and between the rise of Steyn — WHAT HAPPENED ?

    Reitz , C L F Borckenhagen and the BOND…

  • Chris Posted July 20, 2020 10:55 am

    On the one hand there were those who propagated caution in the relationship with the British, on the other there developed a political movement that strongly propagated a (reawakened) Afrikaner national consciousness. Reitz was part of the latter, and together with C.L.F. Borckenhagen, editor of the Bloemfontein Express newspaper, he wrote a constitution for the Afrikaner Bond (Afrikaner Union), a political party originally set up by leading Afrikaner politicians in the Cape Colony, like Rev S.J. du Toit and his Genootskap van Regte Afrikaners (‘Society of True Afrikaners’) and Jan Hendrik Hofmeyr and the Zuidafrikaansche Boeren Beschermings Vereeniging (‘South African Boer Protection Association’).

  • Chris Posted July 20, 2020 10:56 am

    Among the supporters of this new Afrikaner nationalism in the Orange Free State was also Reitz’s successor, M.T. Steyn, then still a young lawyer. The constitution was presented in April 1881, and several months later Reitz became the chairman of the Bond.[4] His overt political activities earned Reitz criticism from those who feared a breakdown of relations with the British. It is obvious, however, that a wind of change was blowing through the Boer republics and among the Afrikaners in the Cape Colony, which was to change Anglo-Boer relations drastically.

  • Chris Posted July 20, 2020 10:57 am

    At the same time he was also prominent in public life, getting involved in the Afrikaner language and culture movement, and cultural life in general.[4] He was a South African Freemason.[5]

  • Chris Posted July 20, 2020 11:12 am

    I find it quite interesting that one reads so little about this Gentleman

    Carl L. F. Borckenhagen (21 February 1852 – 5 February 1898)

    Borckenhagen came to have a massive influence over many other leaders across southern Africa, and excelled at influencing politicians with persuasive argument. A fellow editor later wrote of him: ” …He became one of the most prominent figures in South African affairs, a valued councillor at Bloemfontein and Pretoria whenever affairs were critical, his advice ever tending towards peace and conciliation

    There are several threads that run right through this history — not only the “Golden One”

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