Oriel college

What happens now that Rhodes didn’t fall?

Oriel College, Oxford’s decision to retain the statue of Cecil Rhodes has generated the usual voluminous fury. It has also shown it to be just that: noise. The university’s willingness to face down activists could mark a turning point in proving that when campaigners don’t get their way, the world continues to turn. This might sound obvious but it marks a welcome change to the often depressing cycle of inevitability of protest-social media storm-surrender. All too often, it seems power really does lie with the various campaign groups, charities, and commentators pushing for change. The fact that Rhodes hasn’t fallen, whatever you might think of the man himself, shows that it doesn’t. This is why they are activists