Comment piece by columnist Brett Ellis, who is a teacher

Relics of the past should act as a current reminder of how, as a society, we somehow reached this position of relative sanctuary, despite wrongdoings and indiscretions that were at the time not only acceptable, but often encouraged.

The symbolic desecration of Edward Colston’s statue brought derision and celebration in equal measure.

It opened the floodgates for sinister sounding ‘hit lists’ of statues and monuments around the British Isles that were suddenly deemed offensive on the back of the Black Lives Matter vehicle.

It’s true that Colston was an unsavoury character due to his involvement in the slave trade, but it could be argued that many of note from bygone eras would have been involved in slavery in some form.

That said, we always remember the bad and a person becomes defined by that thing, not by the good they did subsequently.

Scout aficionados and local residents in Poole, Dorset have been guarding the statue of Baden Powell after it was listed by the local council for removal “for its own safety” as Powell has now been branded a racist.

With a scouting movement now totalling half a million worldwide, of all nationalities and races, his indelible footprint on society can be deemed to have been a huge success. But in the current climes, comments he made about his admiration for the way the Hitler youth organised themselves have come to the fore, and now he is a pariah.

It seems to me the man was not perfect, but should he be defined by a few comments he made 90 years ago, or by his lifetime endeavour within the scouting movement?

Should Churchill, after defeating the tyranny of the Nazis, be classed as a racist and have his statue boarded up because he was critical of the Indians in the 1930s?

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone; I would hazard that every one of us has uttered phrases we are less than proud of or acted appallingly to others at least once in our lives.

Our acts and utterances were hidden however, so in effect we act with impunity and are free to go about our business and not be defined by that moment in time where we acted below the standard required.

Even challenges are challenged. Many years ago, I interviewed and took to task robustly, the former BNP leader Nick Griffin live on the radio. I received a threat after the interview due to a question I asked him that no one had dared to until that point.

Others questioned why I gave him a platform. I replied that, two days earlier, he had faced the wrath of Jeremy Paxman, so why should I, as an amateur, not have opportunity to challenge his views?

Statues are but a reminder of our history, unpalatable or not. It is also not for us to deem if someone was ‘all good’ or ‘all bad’. We are all a bit of each. We should not cast aside successes for frailties and indiscretions. By keeping statues, as a term of reference and not for reverence, we are facing up to, supporting, or challenging, our history and to airbrush that out would be nothing short of a cultural travesty.