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All of Manchester’s statues to be reviewed by council in response to protests

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David Dixon / Geograph

Manchester Council has announced that it will be reviewing all of the city’s statues in response to the Black Lives Matter protests over the past few weeks.

Thousands of people protested in peaceful demonstrations in Manchester last weekend, and elsewhere many protested in cities like London, Edinburgh and Bristol. 

The protests began due to the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd. 

As part of the protest in Bristol a statue of a slave trader, Edward Colston, was pulled down by protesters and thrown in the river.

The move has prompted a national debate and a sparked lot of controversy, with many cities asking why similar statues are still standing across the country in 2020, celebrating the men involved with the slave trade which has contributed to the systemic racism we still see today. 

Sir Robert Peel statue, Bury. David Ingham/Flickr

Manchester Council has announced that it will be reviewing all of the statues in the city, to understand the importance of the ‘history’ and ‘context’ behind each one. 

The council leaders have also called to the public to ask them who should be celebrated in statue form in the city and who they think is missing.

The council has said they are particularly interested in representing the BAME history of the city. 

Pit-yacker/Flickr

This comes after almost 1,500 people have signed a petition to remove the statue of former Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel that currently stands in Piccadilly Gardens.

The petition asks people to #RepealPeel in order to ‘highlight the endemic racism that continues to plague Manchester and the fact that this city was built on slavery.’

The petition goes on to state: “We are trying to draw attention to the fact that black people are more likely to be arrested, subjected to use of force – and that black people in greater Manchester are ten times more likely to be tasered. Black Lives Matter.”

The former Primer Minister’s father, also called Robert Peel and also an MP, was actively pro-slavery and circulated a pro-slavery petition in 1806.

A counter-petition to keep the statue has received over 4,000 signatures.

Paul Gilett

Councillor Luthfur Rahman said: “The weight of emotion around the symbolism attached to public statues has been palpable this week – and not without good reason.

“However, it is also true to say that most of us do not know the people represented in the city’s statues, nor the history as to why they were chosen.

“We think it’s important therefore to undertake a city-wide review of all the statues in Manchester and work with our cultural institutions to understand their history and context.”

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Meat Loaf has died aged 74

The singer’s agent confirmed the tragic news this morning

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QuotePark.com

Iconic singer and actor Meat Loaf has died at the age of seventy-four, his agent confirmed this morning.

A cause of death is yet to be announced.

The American musician – real name Marvin Lee Aday – reportedly died on January 20th with his wife Deborah by his side.

His family said in a statement: “Our hearts are broken to announce that the incomparable Meat Loaf passed away tonight surrounded by his wife Deborah, daughters Pearl and Amanda and close friends.

“His amazing career spanned 6 decades that saw him sell over 100 Million albums worldwide and star in over 65 movies, including Fight Club, Focus, Rocky Horror Picture Show and Wayne’s World.

The statement, which was posted today on his official Facebook page, also said: “Bat Out of Hell remains one of the top 10 selling albums of all time.

“We know how much he meant to so many of you and we truly appreciate all of the love and support as we move through this time of grief in losing such an inspiring artist and beautiful man.

“We thank you for your understanding of our need for privacy at this time.

“From his heart to your souls…don’t ever stop rocking!”

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Drivers and passengers face £1,000 fines for opening their door incorrectly under new Highway Code rule

Here’s everything you need to know…

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Markus Spiske / Unsplash

Drivers and passengers across the UK have been warned about a new Highway Code rule change that could land them with a hefty fine.

The new rule, which has been put in place to protect cyclists, will fine drivers and passengers as much as £1,000 if they open their car door incorrectly.

Instead of just opening the door, motorists will now need to adopt the ‘Dutch Reach’ technique, which involves you using the hand furthest from the door to open it – if you’re the one behind the wheel, you’d use your left hand, on the passenger side, you would use your right, just to clear it up a bit.

This technique has been proven to be safer because opening the door with the hand furthest away prompts a driver to turn their body towards the door, therefore giving them a look over their shoulder as they go to exit their vehicle.

@bezevision / Unsplash

This way, they will clock any cyclists or pedestrians approaching or passing by their car that they may have otherwise missed if they hadn’t have checked.

The new section under rule 239 will read: “Where you are able to do so, you should open the door using your hand on the opposite side to the door you are opening; for example, use your left hand to open a door on your right-hand side.

“This will make you turn your head to look over your shoulder. You are then more likely to avoid causing injury to cyclists or motor cyclists passing you on the road, or to people on the pavement.”

If someone injures a cyclist or pedestrian by opening their door without checking, they could face a fine of up to £1,000, though no penalty points can be added to the offender’s licence.

This comes as the Highway Code undergoes a number of rule changes in favour of pedestrians and cyclists; a new section under rule 186 states that road users will now be forced to give priority to cyclists on roundabouts.

Şahin Sezer Dinçer / Unsplash

The rule, expected to come into force from January 29th, states: “You should give priority to cyclists on the roundabout. They will be travelling more slowly than motorised traffic.

“Give them plenty of room and do not attempt to overtake them within their lane. Allow them to move across your path as they travel around the roundabout.”

The rule change will also require motorists to give way to cyclists and pedestrians at junctions, pedestrians waiting to cross the road into which or from they are turning, as well as pedestrians and cyclists on a parallel crossing.

The new rule has been introduced in an attempt to ensure that road users who can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to others.

You can read the new rules in full here.

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People who test positive for Covid in England won’t have to self-isolate soon

‘The self-isolation regulations expire on March 24th, at which point I very much expect not to renew them’

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UK Parliament / YouTube & Annie Spratt / Unsplash

The legal requirement to self-isolate after testing positive for Covid will by dropped ‘by March’, Boris Johnson has announced this week.

The Prime Minister told MPs during yesterday’s PMQs that the rule will be allowed to be lapsed when all Covid regulations expire on March 24th, adding that this date could even be brought forward to a closer date if a vote is passed.

Johnson told MPs: “As we return to Plan A, the House will know that some measures still remain, including those on self-isolation.

“On Monday we reduced the isolation period to five full days with two negative tests, and there will soon come a time when we can remove the legal requirement to self-isolate altogether, just as we don’t place legal obligations on people to isolate if they have flu.

“As Covid becomes endemic, we will need to replace legal requirements with advice and guidance, urging people with the virus to be careful and considerate of others.

“The self-isolation regulations expire on March 24th, at which point I very much expect not to renew them.”

Under the current guidance, those who test positive for Covid have to quarantine for at least five full days, so long as they test negative on a lateral flow test on days five and six.

Annie Spratt / Unsplash

Also at yesterday’s PMQs, the Prime Minister announced that restrictions on visits to care homes will be eased further, with Health Secretary Sajid Javid to begin setting out plans ‘in the coming days’. 

It was also confirmed that from Thursday January 27th, mandatory Covid passes will no longer be needed and people will not be asked to work from home where possible.

Johnson added that face masks will not be mandatory anywhere from this date, prompting loud cheers and shouts from the Tory back benches.

And from today, face masks are no longer required to be worn by students in classrooms. 

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