As acts of graffiti desecration go, this was pretty unusual because Brian Barnes, the man responsible for the incursion, is a pretty unusual graffiti artist. He is an MBE and a graduate of the Royal College of Art and as such is in the minority among the desecrating underclass. It is also probably the case that most graffiti take less time than the 16 hours and 20 minutes that Barnes estimates this one required.
They also shed some light onto exactly why the graffiti was objected to:
“I have been asked by local residents for action to be taken regarding the graffiti desecration of the Stockwell war memorial,” wrote David Tomlinson in an email addressed to Dominic Busby, the Stockwell community safety officer. “Above all, the spectacular war memorial (and the clock) are Stockwell’s only defining features and nothing should happen to them to draw more adverse publicity to Lambeth. I therefore request that as community safety officer, you take urgent action to remove the current graffiti and to secure the site against further incursions.”
Stockwell’s only defining feature is a clock? And ‘further incursions’? Was this the first assault by Stockwell insurgents?
This seems to boil down to one group of dead people being deemed more important than another dead person. Ridiculous. If the British Legion don’t deem de Menezes’ death as worthy as actual soldiers then perhaps they need to have a word with the politicians who never fail to drill into us the importance of the current ‘war on terror’ that we are all supposed to be fighting. Perhaps the stumbling block here is that this man was unlucky enough to be killed by our own police force rather than the ‘enemy’.
Which as Onionbagblogger points out will make the wording on a proposed commemorative plaque all the trickier:
‘This is where the Met Police killed an innocent man’ doesn’t reflect too well on Lambeth.