Burning effigies on bonfires is ‘illegitimate’? Not as far as English police are concerned

Letter to the editorLetter to the editor
Letter to the editor
A letter from Philip Black:

Mr Carton (‘Limits to expression’, Letters, July 30) states: “Burning effigies of three female politicians is not legitimate political expression.”

I draw his attention to the annual heavily-politicised Lewes bonfire night celebrations in England [a town just north of Brighton].

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In 2021 Matt Hancock with a naked woman draped across him was burnt in effigy.

In 2018 Theresa May and Boris Johnson were both burnt in effigy.

There are countless further examples, many extremely offensive to the subjects; in 2019 an effigy of Boris Johnson urinating was burnt.

Chief Superintendent Neil Honnor stated of the 2018 event: “I’d also like to thank everyone who worked hard to ensure this was a safe and enjoyable event for all.”

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So, contrary to Mr Carton’s view, the burning of effigies of politicians (whether male or female) is both legitimate and legal in the United Kingdom, with the Lewes event described as “enjoyable” by local police.

Philip Black, Lurgan

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