2 Nelsons too much in Trafalgar Square?
Mayor Ken Livingstone wants to erect a statue of former South African President Nelson Mandela in Trafalgar Square alongside monuments to British military heroes. City officials oppose the idea and, in a showdown this week, one of Britain's most respected sculptors dubbed the proposed Mandela statue "mediocre."
"Suppose I had proposed, in a moment of euphoric bipartisanship, to erect a statue of [former Conservative Prime Minister] Margaret Thatcher in Trafalgar Square. Would I have had problems with Westminster City Council?" the left-leaning mayor asked the Labor Party's annual conference this week.
He answered his own question: "No."
The Conservative-controlled Westminster Council has rejected Mr. Livingstone's plans for a 9-foot-high bronze statue on the square's north terrace, outside the main entrance to the National Gallery.
The council says its opposition is practical, not political. It does not like the look of the proposed statue by sculptor Ian Walters, which depicts Mr. Mandela clad in a characteristic loose-fitting shirt, his hands raised as if in animated conversation.
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