I see from today’s Times that a statue of Nelson Mandela is to be erected in Parliament Square in London alongside those of Churchill, Disraeli and Sir Robert Peel.
Whilst I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that he is a statesman of seminal importance in the history of Africa and especially South Africa itself, I cannot see why his political achievements deserve the erection of this statue in London.
Allow me to explain. Churchill was our talismanic leader throughout the dark days of the Second World War; Disraeli was our Prime Minister during the height of our Imperial power and Sir Robert Peel was, amongst other things and as every schoolboy used to know, the founding father of the modern police force.
For those who do not see my point, it is this. Those three men played unarguably significant roles in the history of this country; not that of another one several thousand miles away.
In my view Parliament Square should only contain statues of politicians who have performed great services to and on behalf of this country, not those of their counterparts from overseas, no matter how great their achievements in their own lands.
Don’t get me wrong; Mr Mandela’s undoubted position in the pantheon of African heroes is deserving of the highest recognition... Just not in the form of a statue in Parliament Square.