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Edward Colson statue is hauled from Bristol Harbour

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edward colson statue is hauled from bristol harbour

The statue of slave trader Edward Colston was fished out of Bristol Harbour this morning before being taken to a secure location four days after it was thrown in.

The monument was toppled during a Black Lives Matter protest on Sunday, but police have not yet made any arrests – despite the moment being recorded on film. 

Early this morning council officials retrieved the statue and took it to a secure location before it will later form part of the city’s museums collection.

The statue of Edward Colston is pulled out of the harbour by Bristol City Council this morning

The statue of Edward Colston is pulled out of the harbour by Bristol City Council this morning

The statue of Edward Colston is pulled out of the harbour by Bristol City Council this morning

The statue of slave trader Edward Colston is fished out of Bristol Harbour this morning

The statue of slave trader Edward Colston is fished out of Bristol Harbour this morning

The statue of slave trader Edward Colston is fished out of Bristol Harbour this morning

A spokesman said: ‘As we run a working harbour, the statue needed to be removed. Thank you to Bristol Harbour and Bristol Museum and the salvage crew for assisting.’

It comes as experts said vandals who tore down the statue before dumping it in the harbour are likely to escape prosecution due to a legal loophole. 

The protesters involved may never be prosecuted because it is unclear who the statue belongs to and there has so far been no complaint from the owner to police. 

Under the Criminal Damage Act 1971 prosecutors must prove the statue ‘belonged to another’. 

Without an owner coming forward to confirm they did not consent to the damage, the law protects defendants who are able to argue they had an ‘honest belief’ that the owner would have consented. 

Bristol City Council is investigating whether it owns the statue, but even if it does local politicians appear unwilling to prosecute. 

Matthew Scott, who runs the BarristerBlogger legal blog, said: ‘Normally the owner of damaged property will provide a statement to the police saying ‘I did not consent to the damage to my property’.

The statue of Edward Colston lies on the harbourside in Bristol today after being pulled out

The statue of Edward Colston lies on the harbourside in Bristol today after being pulled out

The statue of Edward Colston lies on the harbourside in Bristol today after being pulled out

The crane in place to lift the statue of Edward Colston out of the harbour by the council today

The crane in place to lift the statue of Edward Colston out of the harbour by the council today

The crane in place to lift the statue of Edward Colston out of the harbour by the council today

‘A prosecution for criminal damage without one would be highly unusual.’

It had been widely assumed that the Colston statue, which had stood in place for 125 years, was owned by the council.

But yesterday Bristol’s mayor Marvin Rees admitted ownership had not been ‘100 per cent established’ and the council’s legal team were trying to resolve the situation. 

Bristol’s Society of Merchant Venturers built the monument in 1895, but last night it said it would not be staking a claim for it or making a complaint to police.

Mr Rees previously said: ‘As an elected politician I cannot condone criminal damage … but I am of Jamaican heritage and I cannot pretend that I have any real sense of loss for the statue or that it was anything other than a personal affront to me to have it in the middle of Bristol.’

Yesterday, when asked what should happen to those who pulled the statue down, he added: ‘I think the bigger question should not be about the individual perpetrators, it’s about what this means for Bristol and how we as a city go forward.’

The dramatic moment that the statue of Edward Colston was pulled from its plinth on Sunday

The dramatic moment that the statue of Edward Colston was pulled from its plinth on Sunday

The dramatic moment that the statue of Edward Colston was pulled from its plinth on Sunday

The Edward Colston statue is knelt on in a symbolic act by protesters in Bristol on Sunday

The Edward Colston statue is knelt on in a symbolic act by protesters in Bristol on Sunday

The Edward Colston statue is knelt on in a symbolic act by protesters in Bristol on Sunday

Black Lives Matter protesters roll the statue along the street towards the harbour on Sunday

Black Lives Matter protesters roll the statue along the street towards the harbour on Sunday

Black Lives Matter protesters roll the statue along the street towards the harbour on Sunday

One senior barrister said: ‘I think the Bristol case with the Colston statue case is dead in the water effectively.

‘With no loser statement from the owner and the ambiguity the council, the mayor and the police have shown in their statements it is very difficult to see how it could be argued that it is in the public interest to prosecute.

‘The defence would argue that they had a reasonable belief that the owner would be happy for me to do this and the prosecution could not counter that argument.

‘The CPS would evaluate that at an evidential stage and probably decide there is not a realistic prospect of conviction.’

Caroline Goodwin QC, chair of the Criminal Bar Association, said prosecutors would need to be satisfied an offence was ‘more than likely to have occurred’ and that ‘a public interest hurdle had been overcome’.

She added: ‘We need to have faith in the criminal justice system.

Protesters gather to throw the statue of Edward Colston into Bristol Harbour on Sunday

Protesters gather to throw the statue of Edward Colston into Bristol Harbour on Sunday

Protesters gather to throw the statue of Edward Colston into Bristol Harbour on Sunday

The statue of 17th century slave trader Edward Colston is pushed into the water on Sunday

The statue of 17th century slave trader Edward Colston is pushed into the water on Sunday

The statue of 17th century slave trader Edward Colston is pushed into the water on Sunday

‘This will only last if we continue to protect equally all our people from harm and lasting change will come through democratic means not mob rule which opens the gates to anarchy.

‘Focus must remain on orderly change within the law, which is where lasting freedom lies, and equality of opportunity resides.’

Last night Avon and Somerset Police confirmed they had made no arrests in relation to the toppling of Colston’s statue.

A spokesman added: ‘We’re in the early stage of our investigation and are currently collating statements and reviewing the large amount of footage available to us.

‘We’re seeking early investigative advice from the Crown Prosecution Service and will continue to liaise with them as the inquiry progresses.’ 

The force said its focus is on ‘identifying those responsible’, continuing: ‘As with all criminal damage investigations, we will look to obtain a statement from the owners of the damaged property.’

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Whitehall’s army of 180 diversity watchdogs

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whitehalls army of 180 diversity watchdogs

Whitehall mandarins have been criticised for wasting money on ‘non-jobs’ after it was revealed that at least 180 diversity officers are on the payroll across nine Government departments.

In a series of parliamentary questions, Tory backbencher Neil O’Brien asked Ministers how many members of their departmental staff had ‘one or more of the words “equality, diversity, inclusion, gender, LGBT or race” in their job title’.

Top of the pile was the Cabinet Office with 66 such employees, which included 41 members of the Government Equalities Office.

In a series of parliamentary questions, Tory backbencher Neil O¿Brien (pictured) asked Ministers how many members of their departmental staff had ¿one or more of the words ¿equality, diversity, inclusion, gender, LGBT or race¿ in their job title¿

In a series of parliamentary questions, Tory backbencher Neil O¿Brien (pictured) asked Ministers how many members of their departmental staff had ¿one or more of the words ¿equality, diversity, inclusion, gender, LGBT or race¿ in their job title¿

In a series of parliamentary questions, Tory backbencher Neil O’Brien (pictured) asked Ministers how many members of their departmental staff had ‘one or more of the words “equality, diversity, inclusion, gender, LGBT or race” in their job title’

However, further staff within the department are likely to have equality, diversity and inclusion responsibilities within their roles, without it being in their job title.

Previous job advertisements suggest that senior staff in these positions could expect a salary of about £70,000 – nearly three times what a student nurse earns.

Duncan Simpson of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: ‘This is what happens when Whitehall chiefs rush to be right-on.

‘It would be far better for every taxpayer if mandarins focused on rooting out waste, rather than obsessing with identity politics and growing the number of non-jobs. Sensible Ministers would do well to cut the number of these culture wars commissars.’

The Ministry of Defence (pictured is their Whitehall building) is currently seeking a diversity and inclusion director who will be paid £110,000 a year ¿ more than is paid to an Army colonel who commands a battalion of 800 soldiers

The Ministry of Defence (pictured is their Whitehall building) is currently seeking a diversity and inclusion director who will be paid £110,000 a year ¿ more than is paid to an Army colonel who commands a battalion of 800 soldiers

The Ministry of Defence (pictured is their Whitehall building) is currently seeking a diversity and inclusion director who will be paid £110,000 a year – more than is paid to an Army colonel who commands a battalion of 800 soldiers

The Ministry of Defence had the second highest number of diversity staff, with 44. The Ministry is currently seeking a diversity and inclusion director who will be paid £110,000 a year – more than is paid to an Army colonel who commands a battalion of 800 soldiers.

Civil servants have been wrestling with diversity issues in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests this year.

In June, the then Permanent Secretary at the Department for Education declared he would work on ‘tackling the whiteness of senior Whitehall’, while his equivalent at the MoD wrote in an email that ‘Systemic racial inequality… has deep roots within UK society, including Defence’.

Staff at the Department for Environment have been told to educate themselves on concepts such as ‘white privilege’, ‘intersectionality’ and ‘microaggressions’, while a member of the Cabinet Office had to apologise for using the term ‘whitelisting’.

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Covid tests chaos is blamed on ‘mad’ frenzy by parents to get checks done on children

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covid tests chaos is blamed on mad frenzy by parents to get checks done on children

The testing chaos was last night blamed on a ‘mad’ rush by parents needlessly seeking Covid tests for children with common colds.

Typically, coughs and colds spike every September when children head back to class, and become even more common during the winter.

But a No 10 source said the surge in demand for tests was due in part by people ‘not understanding when they should and shouldn’t get a test’.

The source said: ‘For example, whole classes of children and their families have been sent for tests after one positive case, which is mad.

‘Loads of kids get sniffles in the autumn – the difference now is they’re all being kept off school and trying to get corona tests.’

A graphic shows how parents can tell the difference between a cold, flu and coronavirus

A graphic shows how parents can tell the difference between a cold, flu and coronavirus

A graphic shows how parents can tell the difference between a cold, flu and coronavirus

Public health experts echoed the sentiments. Linda Bauld, Professor of Public Health at the University of Edinburgh, said the same pattern of over-testing was evident in Scotland, where schools returned around a fortnight before those south of the border.

‘It was apparent from the Scottish example that a lot of unnecessary tests were taken up by parents for their children and the same thing has happened in England and Wales,’ she told The Mail on Sunday.

Dido Harding, head of NHS Test and Trace, told MPs that there had been a ‘very marked increase in the number of young children being tested, a doubling of children under 17 being tested’, with even larger rises in those aged five to nine.

According to some reports, more than 300 schools had sent either some or all pupils home after reported or suspected cases by last week.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health advises that children with simple cold symptoms such as a runny nose or sore throats without fever should not be tested.

But The Mail on Sunday discovered dozens of examples of parents ignoring the advice.

On the website forum Mumsnet, one mother told how she had ordered a home test for her daughter because she had a cough and cold, but did not have a high temperature. ‘Trust me I don’t really want to test her. It isn’t fun for either of us. She’s been coughing on and off all morning now. Yes, I’m sure it is a cold but I’ve been told to get a test so I am,’ she wrote.

Another wrote: ‘It is bonkers. My son has a cold – sneezing, snotty, no temp, (mild) sore throat, no cough.

‘He felt well enough to be in school but I said to ask to come home at lunchtime if he was struggling. He texted at lunchtime to say that if he asks to come home, we will all have to self-isolate and get a test. So he’s staying at school. No wonder there is a massive shortage of tests, people have lost all common sense and perspective. Of course children are going to get colds in the autumn term, especially when they haven’t been mixing over the summer.’

Health Secretary Matt Hancock reinforced the point, telling the BBC Radio 4 Today programme last week: ‘It is so important that we ensure that the tests are used for the people who really need them.’

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SIR DAVID ATTENBOROUGH sets out how mankind can pull off a miracle and save our planet

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sir david attenborough sets out how mankind can pull off a miracle and save our planet

Our planet is facing an unprecedented challenge. As I warned last week, we are living in the shadow of a disaster – and it is one of our own making. 

Just like the people who lived by the doomed nuclear reactor at Chernobyl, we are on the verge of destruction.

By regarding the Earth as our planet, run by humankind for humankind, we have already wrought untold damage. 

Humans have destroyed half of the rainforests, replaced wilderness with settlements and farmland and caused an apocalyptic decline in plant, animal and insect species.

Ninety per cent of fish populations are either over-fished or fished to capacity. But this can be fixed with a global effort to create a network of no-fishing zones throughout coastal waters where fish can grow older and produce more offspring. They then repopulate neighbouring waters

Ninety per cent of fish populations are either over-fished or fished to capacity. But this can be fixed with a global effort to create a network of no-fishing zones throughout coastal waters where fish can grow older and produce more offspring. They then repopulate neighbouring waters

Ninety per cent of fish populations are either over-fished or fished to capacity. But this can be fixed with a global effort to create a network of no-fishing zones throughout coastal waters where fish can grow older and produce more offspring. They then repopulate neighbouring waters

We are polluting our air, draining our rivers, warming the oceans and making them more acidic. We have depleted the ozone layer and brought about potentially disastrous climate change.

Humankind, in other words, has set a course for a devastating future, not just for the natural world but for itself. And if we continue, we will, like the people who once lived in the shadow of Chernobyl, risk sleepwalking into global catastrophe.

What faces us today is nothing less than the collapse of the living world. Yet there is still time to change course, to find a better way of living. 

We can, and must, begin to put things right. And at the heart of this global effort must lie respect for biodiversity – the very thing we are destroying.

It is no accident that the stability of our planet’s climate is wavering at the very moment the extraordinary richness of life on our fragile planet is in sharp decline. The two things are bound together.

Restoring biodiversity on Earth is the only way out of the crisis we have created. And that, in turn, means ‘rewilding’ the world, re-establishing the balance between the human world and the rest of nature, step by step, as I set out below. 

I don’t pretend it will be easy, yet this blueprint for survival is not merely possible but essential if we are to have any hope of saving our civilisation.

Prioritise people and the planet over profit

What has brought us to this moment of desperation? I believe it is our hunger for perpetual economic growth. 

This one goal has dominated social, economic and political institutions for the past 70 years. And the result is that we are enslaved to crude measurements of our gross domestic product (GDP).

Yet the price paid by the living world is not accounted for.

There are those who hope for a future in which humankind focuses upon a new, sustainable measure of success. 

The Happy Planet Index, created by the New Economics Foundation, attempts to do just that, combining a nation’s ecological footprint with elements of human wellbeing, such as life expectancy, average levels of happiness and a measure of equality.

In 2019, New Zealand made the bold step of formally dropping GDP as its primary measure of economic success and created its own index based upon its most pressing national concerns.

In this single act, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern shifted the priorities of her whole country away from pure growth and towards something that better reflects the aspirations many of us have.

What has brought us to this moment of desperation? I believe it is our hunger for perpetual economic growth

What has brought us to this moment of desperation? I believe it is our hunger for perpetual economic growth

What has brought us to this moment of desperation? I believe it is our hunger for perpetual economic growth

Ditch oil and embrace renewable energy

In 2019, fossil fuels provided 85 per cent of our global energy, but the carbon they release into the atmosphere warms the Earth and increases the acidity of the oceans, with disastrous consequences.

Now we need to make the transition to renewable energy at lightning speed.

A carbon tax penalising all emitters would radically speed up the process. The Swedish government introduced such a tax in the 1990s and it worked. 

As the new, clean, carbon-free world comes online, people everywhere will start to feel the benefits. Life will be less noisy. Our air and water will be cleaner, with fewer premature deaths from poor air quality.

At least three nations – Iceland, Albania and Paraguay – already generate all their electricity without fossil fuels. A further eight use coal, oil and gas for less than ten per cent of their electricity. Of these nations, five are African and three are in Latin America.

Profound change can happen in a short period of time. This is starting to happen with fossil fuels.

We may yet pull off a miracle and move to a clean energy world by the middle of this century.

Rewild the Oceans with huge no-fishing zones

The ocean covers two-thirds of the surface of the planet, which means there is a special role for it in our revolution to rewild the world.

By helping the marine world to recover, we can simultaneously capture carbon, raise biodiversity and supply more food.

It starts with the industry that is causing most damage to the ocean – fishing. Ninety per cent of fish populations are either over-fished or fished to capacity.

But this can be fixed with a global effort to create a network of no-fishing zones throughout coastal waters where fish can grow older and produce more offspring. They then repopulate neighbouring waters.

We need no-fishing zones to encompass at least a third of our ocean to enable fish stocks to recover.

International waters – the high seas – are owned by no one, so all states are free to fish as much as they wish. The worst-offending nations pay billions of dollars in subsidies to keep their fleets fishing, even when there are too few fish left for it to be profitable. 

But if all international waters were designated a no-fishing zone, we would transform the open ocean from a place exhausted by our relentless pursuit to a flourishing wilderness that would seed our coastal waters with more fish and help us all in our efforts to capture carbon.

The high seas would become the world’s greatest wildlife reserve.

Commercial fish farming, which often pollutes the seas, must be made more sustainable.

More radically, we can reforest the ocean. Kelp is the fastest-growing seaweed, forming vast submerged forests that boast remarkable levels of biodiversity. But even this wonder plant needs healthy seas. The forests are prone to attacks from sea urchins and, where we have eliminated animals such as sea otters that eat the urchins, entire kelp forests have been devoured.

Learn to get more food from less land

The conversion of wild habitat to farmland has been the single greatest direct cause of biodiversity loss during our time on Earth.

In 1700, we farmed about one billion hectares. Today, our farms cover just under five billion hectares, more than half of all the habitable land on the planet. 

If we are to farm less land, we must eat much less meat, especially red meat, and especially beef, which, when including the grain fed to cows, consumes 60 per cent of our farmland

If we are to farm less land, we must eat much less meat, especially red meat, and especially beef, which, when including the grain fed to cows, consumes 60 per cent of our farmland

If we are to farm less land, we must eat much less meat, especially red meat, and especially beef, which, when including the grain fed to cows, consumes 60 per cent of our farmland

To gain those extra four billion hectares, we have torn down seasonal forests, rainforests, woodland and scrub, drained wetlands and fenced in grasslands, destroying biodiversity and releasing carbon stored in their plants and soils. Removing the wild has cost us dearly.

How can we cease the expansion of industrial farmland while feeding our growing populations?

In short, can we get more food from less land – as we must do?

There are some inspiring farmers in the Netherlands who have turned away from fertilisers, machinery, pesticides and herbicides and erected wind turbines.

They have dug geothermal wells to heat their greenhouses with renewable energy, collected rainwater from their own greenhouse roofs and planted their crops not in soil but in gutters filled with nutrient-rich water to minimise input and loss. They use home-grown bee colonies to pollinate crops. These innovative farms are now among the highest-yielding and lowest-impact food producers on Earth.

For smaller-scale and subsistence farmers, there is an inexpensive low-tech approach: regenerative farming. Herbicide and pesticide use are reduced, crops are rotated to rest soils, and organic matter rich in carbon is brought back into the topsoil, storing carbon.

But these improvements will only get us so far. If we are to farm less land, we must eat much less meat, especially red meat, and especially beef, which, when including the grain fed to cows, consumes 60 per cent of our farmland. 

Instead, we must change to a diet that is largely plant-based, which will reduce the space we need for farming and reduce greenhouse gases.

Estimates suggest that by changing our habits, humankind could feed itself on just half of the land that we currently farm.

Save our forests and rewild the Land

Much of the developed world cut down its forests long ago, putting most of the current deforestation pressure on the poorer parts of the world, especially in the tropics. 

There the rich tree cover is still being destroyed to provide the beef, palm oil and hardwood that wealthier nations consume.

And it is the deepest, darkest and wildest forests of all – the tropical rainforests – that are disappearing. If this continues, the loss of carbon to the air, and species to the history books, would be catastrophic for the whole world. We must halt all deforestation now.

By directing our trade and investment, we can support those nations to reap the benefits of these resources without losing them.

We must find ways to make wilderness valuable to those who own and live in it, without reducing its biodiversity or its ability to capture carbon.

Reduce family size and slow population growth

When I was born, there were fewer than two billion people on the planet. Today there are almost four times that number.

When I was born, there were fewer than two billion people on the planet. Today there are almost four times that number [File photo]

When I was born, there were fewer than two billion people on the planet. Today there are almost four times that number [File photo]

When I was born, there were fewer than two billion people on the planet. Today there are almost four times that number [File photo]

The world’s population is continuing to grow, albeit at a slower pace than at any time since 1950.

At current UN projections, there will be between 9.4 and 12.7 billion people by 2100. Largely due to the demand from wealthy countries, our consumption is exceeding the Earth’s capacity to regenerate its resources. 

We want everyone on Earth to have a fair share, and that means we need to both lower consumption and find ways to stabilise our population growth.

The fairest way to stabilise the global population is to help poorer nations to develop. When this happens, diet and healthcare improve, child mortality decreases and families have fewer children.

It is also true that wherever women have the vote, wherever girls stay in school for longer and wherever women are free to follow their aspirations, the birth rate falls.

Raising people out of poverty and empowering women is the fairest way to bring this period of rapid population growth to an end.

Live sustainably to revive the natural world

Before farming began, a few million humans across the globe were living as hunter-gatherers, working in balance with the natural world. With the advent of farming, our relationship with nature changed.

We came to regard the wild world as something to tame, to subdue and use. We moved from being a part of nature to being apart from nature.

All these years later, we need to reverse that transition.

But there are now billions of us. We can’t possibly return to our hunter-gatherer ways. Nor would we want to. But there is plenty that we can and must do.

We must halt and reverse the conversion of wild spaces to farmland, plantations and other developments. We must end our overuse of fertilisers. We must reduce our use of freshwater. We must immediately halt and preferably start to reverse climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

If we do all those things, biodiversity loss will begin to slow to a halt, and then start itself to reverse.

Our greatest opportunity is now

We humans have come as far as we have because we are the cleverest creatures to have ever lived on Earth.

But if we are to continue to exist, we will require more than intelligence. We will require wisdom.

Homo sapiens, the wise human being, must now learn from its mistakes and live up to its name. We who are alive today have the formidable task of making sure that our species does so. We must not give up hope.

We can yet make amends, change direction and once again become a species in harmony with nature. All we require is the will.

The next few decades represent a final chance to build a stable home for ourselves and restore the rich, healthy and wonderful world that we inherited from our distant ancestors. Our future on the planet is at stake.

© David Attenborough, 2020

Adapted from A Life On Our Planet, by David Attenborough, published by Ebury Press on October 1 at £20. To pre-order a copy for £17, with free delivery, go to mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3308 9193 by September 27. 

David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet will premiere in cinemas on September 28, featuring an exclusive conversation with Sir David Attenborough and Sir Michael Palin. The film will then launch on Netflix this autumn.

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