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Facebook plan for Duke of Sutherland statue protest


By Caroline McMorran

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Golspie residents are waiting to see whether a demonstration against the Duke of Sutherland’s statue will take place tomorrow (Friday, June 26), as advertised on social media.

The Duke of Sutherland's statue at the top of Ben Bhraggie, Golspie.
The Duke of Sutherland's statue at the top of Ben Bhraggie, Golspie.

Doubt surrounds the authenticity of the planned demonstration, which Inverness woman Katie Laird has announced on her Facebook page that she is organising.

However, the Northern Times has been unable to get in touch with Ms Laird, who when challenged by visitors to her Facebook site has responded that she is ‘not a bot and this is not a fake profile’.

The controversial Duke of Sutherland’s statue on top of Golspie’s Ben Bhraggie is once again the focus of interest in the wake of the Black Lives Matter campaign and the toppling of Edward Colston’s statue in Bristol.

George Granville Leveson-Gower, the first Duke of Sutherland, sparks hatred because of the part he played in the Highland Clearances.

Last week a Dornoch art graduate suggested that his statue be covered in material or fabric of some description as a 'mark of shame'.

Readers of the Northern Times have been having their say on the paper’s Facebook page with strong opinions voiced.

Those in favour of the status quo, say the statue is of its time and serves as a reminder of historical injustices, while others would like to see the ‘Mannie’ replaced with a more neutral installation.

A reading of the comments would seem to indicate that residents in Golspie are largely in favour of it remaining with support for the erection of interpretive panels to give context to the memorial.

In the light of the renewed interest in the statue, Golspie Community Council issued a statement this week.

It reads: “Golspie Community Council supports the view of local residents that the statue of ‘the Mannie’ on Ben Bhraggie should remain untouched.

“The statue is an important aspect of the history of Sutherland.The community council does not endorse any protest or campaign to remove the monument.”

According to Ms Laird, the demonstration today is set to take place from 4pm to 8.30pm, but she has not included any information as to a starting point or its format. Some 1343 people have indicated that they plan to attend.

Her page states: “The ‘Mannie’ needs to go. Rebel now or regret missing the opportunity for ever.

George Granville Leveson-Gower, the first Duke of Sutherland, and a landowner who was responsible for the most notorious of the Highland Clearances in the 19th century.

“It is an extravagant tribute to a man who valued profit more than the life of his tenants, and its time for it to be demolished!”

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