Sir Reverse

Image: (Wikipedia): “The Drakensberg (Afrikaans: Drakensberge, Zulu: uKhahlamba, Sotho: Maluti) – the eastern portion of the Great EscarpmentKwaZulu-Natal”

From: Rosebery – Statesman in Turmoil (2005), by Leo McKinstry:

“Rosebery’s growing stature as potential leader was boosted by the disastrous start to the war, when daring, unorthodox Boer tactics inflicted a string of humiliating defeats on the British, most notably at the Battle of Spion Kop in January 1900, when 30,000 troops under General Sir Charles Warren were forced to retreat under heavy fire; 1,750 of Warren’s men were killed, wounded or captured, while the Afrikaners lost only 300. The Boer sieges of the towns of Ladysmith, Mafeking and Kimberley heightened the mood of crisis and gloom. The faltering campaign reflected badly both on the quality of British leadership under General Sir Redvers (pronounced Reevers) Buller, who quickly won the soubriquet ‘Sir Reverse’, and on the competence of the Government. Salisbury, one of whose speeches in the Lords was described as ‘simply deplorable’ by the Prince of Wales, turned seventy in February 1900 and was in visible decline. Meanwhile Balfour was too much the cynic to be able to provide inspirational guidance to an anxious nation; he appeared to look on the military setbacks with the philosophic detachment of a bored academic examining a mediocre undergraduate essay…”

Daniel Clark wrote at on 1.2.21:

“Plans that could have seen the possible relocation of Exeter’s General Buller Statue are being withdrawn.

The statue of General Sir Redvers Buller and his horse Biffen stands on the corner of New North Road and Hele Road outside the entrance to Exeter College and was erected back in 1905. The words ‘He Saved Natal’ are etched at the base.

Exeter City Council’s executive in January unanimously agreed that without prejudice to a final decision on the matter, an application should be made for listing building consent for the relocation of the statue to an alternative location.

But when they meet on Tuesday, February 9, they are being recommended to overturn the decision that would have started the process and for a consultation on the possible relocation of the statue.

The report states that recent comments by Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, make it clear such applications are unlikely to be successful.

The Government recently revealed plans for a new law on cultural and historic heritage which will “make clear that historic monuments should be retained and explained’. It would give the Secretary of State power to call in any application and ensure the law is followed.

Cllr Phil Bialyk, leader of the council, said: “In light of the comments by the Secretary of State my Executive will be asked to amend the recommendations, and we will not be submitting a planning application to relocate the Buller statue.

“But I must stress that we will be addressing the issues which first brought this to the attention of many councillors.

“There are a number of important recommendations about equality and diversity in our city that we will be taking forward. The Council should look to make sure we are doing all we can to be aware of the particular images and messages that public art and monuments may express, and strive to make these as representative of our inclusive and diverse communities as possible.” “.

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