Saturday, April 13, 2024
HomeLaura PerrinsLaura Perrins: Toddler tantrum award of the week. The witless Oriel students...

Laura Perrins: Toddler tantrum award of the week. The witless Oriel students targeting Cecil Rhodes’s statue


Sporadically, I will be handing out a toddler tantrum award. It will be awarded to adults who behave like children by demanding the world is remodelled to suit their own selfish desires.

This is distinct from adults who campaign for coherent change to improve the lives of others. These people consider the evidence and then build a case to persuade others to support a political reform or social change.

The tell-tale signs of the tantrum throwing toddler-adult are Twitter campaigns, protests and use of the world ‘intersectional’.

The competition for this week’s toddler tantrum award was tough. There was the wife who wanted to hold her husband’s hand while he got his hair cut in a barbers that was reserved for men only. That seems pretty simple to me.

Men want and need a bit of man time – a barbers seems a good place for this. Men can do their men things, have men chats while also getting their hair cut.

Why the wife needs to be there I don’t know. This wife not only frogmarched her husband, the Olympic cycling champion Chris Boardman, to the barbers because “he needed smartening up”, but she wanted to wait with him too. She was told it was a man only space – both hubby and wife threw their rattles out of the pram. Happily the owner stood firm.

This tantrum was surpassed however by the students of Oriel College, Oxford, who are so delighted to be at Oxford (a university so exclusive and competitive that about 500,000 Chinese students are studying ten hours a day as we speak to get into it) that they have decided to spend their time wisely by working their little hearts out. No, that is not true.

These students have declared instead that the rules do not apply to them, and they would quite like torn down an undistinguished statue, about 5ft tall, of Cecil Rhodes, the former prime minister of South Africa and godfather of the country’s apartheid system that has stood above the entrance to the college for more than a century.

Oliver Moody in The Times explains eloquently why this is a stupid idea. I am not so eloquent so I say this to the students who protested on Friday advocating the removal of said statute. Here is your toddler tantrum award – the world does not revolve around you – now get back to your playpen.

Oriel (I assume) is a college for serious people with serious minds who know that removing a statute of Cecil Rhodes will not right the wrongs committed in his name. The students have declared Rhodes of Oriel a symbol of “intersectional oppression”.

For those ignorant readers unfamiliar with the theory of intersectionality, I say lucky you. Intersectionality is where you get middle-class guilt crossed with feminist victimhood, sprinkled with students with too much time on their hands. The result – social justice warriors with a smartphone.

These students need to know they do not own the college – they are merely passing through. They do not get to deface the college because certain long-standing statues offend them. There are rules (as I say to my three -year–old)!

One hopes the college will not indulge this fit of victimhood envy and we can all move on.

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