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Calls for the Robert Peel statue to be removed from Piccadilly Gardens

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Proper Manchester

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Gerald England / Geograph

There have been calls for the statue of Robert Peel in Piccadilly Gardens to be removed.

The former British Prime Minister is credited with creating the first proper police force in the UK, with the foundation of the Metropolitan Police Service during his time in office.

Another statue of the politician, who was born in Bury, was vandalised up in Glasgow over the weekend, with the words ACAB (All Cops Are B***ards) spray painted onto it.

Cllr Euan Blockley / @EuanBlockley

As well as the statues in Manchester and Glasgow, Peel also has monuments in Bury and London’s Parliament Square.

The petition to remove the Piccadilly Gardens statue reads: “I am starting this petition and the #RepealPeel movement to highlight the endemic racism that continues to plague Manchester and the fact that this city was built on slavery.

“I recognise and remember the often-ignored black victims of Manchester’s involvement in the slave trade and the plantation economy to accumulate its obscene wealth, historic cultural institutions and powerful centres of knowledge.

“As a society, we have a duty to question police brutality and a moral obligation to consider why there is a statue dedicated to Robert Peel in the centre of our city. Black Lives Matter.”

David Dixon / Geograph

It continues: “The aim is to help bring down the statue of Robert Peel Junior, who created the modern police force in 1829, his father was actively proslavery and circulated a proslavery petition in 1806, a mere year before the abolition of the slave trade.

“In a speech to Parliament in 1794, he warned of the dangerous consequences that would envelop the colonies because of abolitionism, inferring that Africans were content being slaves.

“This just tells you what kind of people both Peels were when the majority of the city supported abolition, they both saw emancipation as dangerous, we don’t have to intellectually pretzel ourselves to recognise the connections between the legacies of slavery, policing and racialised brutality.

“We have to defund Greater Manchester Police and get rid of that Robert Peel statue. I call on those with the power, all free people to remove this icon of hate and racism.”

The person behind the petition wants Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham to remove the statue and ‘give the space to black artists and creators’.

It comes as a statue of 17th Century slave trader Edward Colston was pulled down by protesters in Bristol and thrown in the harbour.

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B&M announces plans to open 45 new stores

Who else is excited for this?

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Hugh Venables / Geograph

We’ve got some good news for bargain hunters, as discount retailer B&M is set to open up to 45 new stores in the UK.

The company has announced that it plans to open more stores than expected this year, after its sales and profit jumped during the pandemic.

B&M kept most of its stores open during lockdown while some rivals shut their doors, with the demand for bargains rising as money became tight.

Albert Bridge / Geograph

As a result, it expects to open between 40 and 45 new stores before the end of the financial year – with most opening towards the end of this period – although details of where they’ll be located are unclear at the moment.

Simon Arora, the chief executive of the retailer, said: “Our business model is proving well-attuned to the evolving needs of customers, given our combination of everyday value across a broad range of product categories being sold at convenient out-of-town locations.

“Our people have risen to the many challenges posed by the Covid-19 crisis, not least in serving our customers through a period of high demand, keeping our shelves filled, providing a clean and safe shopping environment, as well as sourcing higher volumes than we had planned.”

Jaggery / Geograph

B&M was given permission to keep its stores open while others were forced to shut during the summer lockdown as it also sells food and DIY products.

Amisha Chohan, an equity research analyst at Quilter Cheviot, added: “B&M announced another positive trading update this morning, proving it is firing on all cylinders in both the UK and France.

“The retailer is also winning market share and has attracted a new, middle class, customer base – who are beginning to shop with them regularly.

“We believe B&M will continue to outperform peers as consumers become much more money conscious.”

Are you excited for more B&Ms?

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Parrots removed from wildlife park after they taught each other to swear at customers

This is hilarious…

Alex Watson

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Lincolnshire Wildlife Park/Facebook

Five African grey parrots who were adopted by Lincolnshire Wildlife Park taught each other to swear in isolation. 

The group of parrots at the zoo have now had to be put back into isolation to stop them from swearing at customers.

Adopted together on August 15th, they shared a room at Lincolnshire Wildlife Park but it turns out they’ve been up to no good in lockdown.

Although staff at the park have found it hilarious and enjoyed watching the parrots, swift action has had to be taken when they started cursing at customers.

Lincolnshire Wildlife Park/Facebook

CEO of the park, Steve Nichols said the parrots have been put in a ‘time out’, although he did confirm this isn’t the first time they’ve had swearing parrots. 

He told LincolnshireLive: “Every now and then you’ll get one that swears and it’s always funny. We always find it very comical when they do swear at you.”

He added: “The more they swear the more you usually laugh which then triggers them to swear again.”

The room full of swearing birds, the chief said. was similar to ‘an old working men’s club scenario’.  

Lincolnshire Wildlife Park/Facebook

Within 20 minutes of being in front of customers, the birds were swearing at them.

Mr Nichols confirmed that it was actually just a funny situation, explaining: “We found it highly amusing and the customers were fine – they were no problem at all.

“But we worried because we had a weekend coming up and children coming.”

The plan for the birds now is to release them separately so they can’t ‘encourage’ each other. Everyone at the park who has been working hard throughout the pandemic has enjoyed the laughs from the mischievous parrots.

Lincolnshire Wildlife Park/Facebook

“It has been a real rough year, but we are the eternal optimists and we have no option. We have to keep moving forward,” said Mr Nichols.

The parrots have both been good for business.

Mr Nichols explained: “It is quite an unusual place where you are walking around and people are swearing at aviaries trying to get a parrot to swear back at them.”

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Government ‘preparing a total social lockdown plan’ for the North of England

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Alex Watson

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Louis Hansel/Unsplash

Pubs and restaurants could be forced to close for a fortnight as part of a ‘total social lockdown’ plan.

The emergency plan is currently being considered by the government following spikes in the number of cases across the North of England.

In Greater Manchester, each borough is currently at ‘Red Alert’ with the infection rate in Bolton one of the highest in the country (235.1 cases per 100,000 people). 

As things stand, in Greater Manchester people cannot visit friends and family in their homes or gardens and cannot socialise with people outside of their household or bubble in any public place.

These rules could now be rolled out across the North. 

The Times reports that a ‘social lockdown’ was presented as one of the options by the Covid-19 strategy committee, the week before new restrictions were imposed.

The emergency plans have been drawn up after local restrictions put in place in areas such as Greater Manchester failed to reverse the surge in infections.

Under these proposed plans, schools, shops, factories and offices where staff cannot work from home will remain open.

It would also see meeting other people socially in any indoor location banned, as well as pubs and restaurants being ordered to close for two weeks.

London may also face these same restrictions, if cases continue to rise in the capital.

From today, every person in England is required to self-isolate by law if they test positive for Covid-19 or are contacted by the NHS Track and Trace service. 

Those who fail to do so risk fines starting at £1,000 that can reach £10,000.

The number of people who have tested positive (infection rate) in Manchester now stands at 201 per 100,000. An additional 1,000 new confirmed cases were recorded over the week leading to September 24th. 

 

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