Showing results 1 - 12 of 15 for the tag: Polls.

May 4, 2015

The Parthenon Marbles & the 2015 General Election

Posted at 11:28 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, New Acropolis Museum, Similar cases

Introduction

For a long time, like many others who have followed the case closely, I have had a general understanding of which parties supported return of the Parthenon Marbles and which did not. However, with the upcoming General Election in May, I thought it would be interesting to see if the figures actually backed this up.

To the best of my knowledge, none of the parties in the UK currently have an official policy on it, although past statements actions have given a relatively good idea of where the main parties stand on the issue. As followers of British politics will know though, this election, more than any in recent years is as much about the rise of other smaller parties as it is about the main parties. Predictions are that the share of votes cast for smaller parties will far exceed what has been achieved at any previous elections.

In 2010, I took a look at the policies of the main parties and based this on historic information. As a result of this, I know that we had people in the government who strongly believed in the return of the Parthenon Sculptures to Greece, but they were unable to express these views, as they believed that there were more major issues that needed to be tackled with their coalition partners, before time was invested in things such as this.

Methodology

This time round, I have looked at the information on support from various parties using two entirely different methods.

The first analysis is based on the incumbent MPs and their previous expressions of support. The majority of these come from Early Day Motions, although there are additional instances where people have been added to the list (either for or against) based on public statements, replies to letters or direct conversations.

The second analysis is entirely new and is based on a survey of candidates on Twitter. I started this exercise following the dissolution of Parliament at the end of March 2015. I targeted a wide range of Prospective Parliamentary Candidates, some of whom had been MPs in the previous parliament and many others who had not. This helps us to better gauge levels of support not just from those who have been elected in the past, but also from those who have yet to be elected.

Because people were asked a question on twitter, it meant that the replies could be more nuanced than a simple yes or no. This made it harder to categorise the results, but led to some additional categories and could form the basis for development of new campaign strategies in the future.

Anyone who looks in detail at either of these methods will see that they both have their flaws. However, if we bear in mind these issues, there are some interesting things that can be learned from the data, some of which backed up my expectations, while others were unanticipated.

Survey 1: Indications of the opinion of MPs in the previous parliament

Limitations

  1. Nearly all the data here is collated from responses to Early Day Motions. Prior to the 2010 election, my data covered more MPs, but so many stood down at that election, that there have not been enough significant events since then to gauge support from new MPs so clearly.
  2. The results skew towards those who sign EDMs. MPs that are in the Government (e.g. ministers, junior ministers etc.) tend not to sign EDMs. There are others out there too, who never sign EDMs on principle – often because they believe them to be a waste of time, which does not achieve anything directly. While this may be true up to a point, there is no denying, that they allow other MPs to gauge levels of support for a cause, which may then be utilised in other ways. And MP may know of a few other strong supporters of a cause, but often EDMs add to their list others who they barely know, or who they had never considered as being potential enthusiasts in the same issue.
  3. Results can be skewed for smaller parties. With a larger (hypothetical) party, 20 supporters out of 100 MPs can give a clearish indication of 20% support within the party. With a party of 1 or 2 members though, it is easy for them to come out as being 100% in support, whereas the reality is that the sample size is smaller & therefore the results potentially less accurate.

The dataset

The data is based on the 649 MPs (the speaker is not counted) at the end of the previous parliament. This is to say – the 21 by-elections during the last five years have been factored into the results. Data has been collected both during the previous parliament and in the case of those who were MPs prior to that, from EDMs dating back as far as 1991. In total, the results of 24 pro-restitution and 3 anti-restitution EDMs have been taken into account.

249 MPs were new to Parliament in the 2010 election (an unusually high number, in part due to many retirements) or have joined through by-elections since then. As only two EDMs have referred to the Parthenon Marbles since 2010, results skew in favour of those MPs who have been in parliament for longer.

Results

Of the parties with more than ten MPs, the highest level of support is from the Lib Dems, at 46%. Labour is next at 23%. Finally, there are the Conservatives with 2%.

Of the smaller parties (where results may hold less accuracy), the SNP has support at 33%, with 2 out of 6 MPs. The SDLP both show 60% support with 2 out of 3 MPs. Plaid Cymru has 100% support with 3 MPs Respect show support of 100%, but only has a single MP.

There have also been some anti-restitution EDMs tabled – generally in direct response to the pro-restitution EDMs that the above results are based on. Of these, the only signatories are from the Conservatives, with 20 MPs indicating that 7% of their MPs have specifically stated that they are against reunification of the sculptures.

As these results do not go against what my more recent survey showed, I will deal with the conclusions of both sets of results together.

Survey 2 – Twitter survey of PPCs

Limitations

As mentioned before, there are a number of potential flaws to this study.

  1. There is an election on – as a result, many PPCs have other things on their mind as well as answering questions on twitter, so well thought out responses would not necessarily be forthcoming. Results may skew towards those who have more time available, which is likely to mean those who are not part of the incumbent government.
  2. Some MPs have a twitter account purely as a PR tool, which in managed for them by their office staff on an occasional basis.
  3. The results as a whole will skew towards those MPs who are on twitter – something that I would imagine ties to a younger demographic, although as more and more expand their online presence, this becomes less of an issue.
  4. Perhaps most importantly, when related to the results of the first survey, my findings from the twitter poll suggest that those who are against the return of the sculptures are less likely to reply than those who are.

The Dataset

I messaged 1174 PPCs who were on Twitter. From this, I received 138 responses – a reply rate of approximately 12%.

351 of those contacted had been MPs during the previous Parliament, (equating to 54% of the 650 constituencies) so there was a good representation amongst those asked of both current MPs and potential new ones (particularly when one bears in mind that 89 from the last Parliament are retiring of have been deselected – bringing the number of incumbents asked to 63% of those who are standing again).

The candidates selected were based on various lists of twitter contact details I came across, so were somewhat random in their nature, involving a selection of all the parties expected to win seats in Mainland UK. None of the Northern Irish Parties were represented by this list.

With the exception of SNP members, all others came from a single list of Twitter handles that I located, so the balance of parties comes from there. It is skewed a bit heavily in favour of Labour, but all parties are represented by enough members to constitute a reasonable sample size.

The question I asked initially in my tweets was:

In run up to election, was wondering what your views are on Parthenon Marbles return? Many voters feel strongly about it

After I had sent out the first 200 or so messages, a number of people queried the use of the term “many people”. I still stand by my use of it – perhaps not as a percentage of those in the UK it is not many, but worldwide, we are talking of numbers in terms of millions.

To avoid getting side-tracked by queries and to tie the question more closely to current events, for the remainder of those questioned, I asked:

In election run up, was wondering what your views are on Parthenon Marbles return? & of UK rejection of UNESCO mediation

It rapidly became clear once I started getting answers that a simple yes or no was not going to cover everything.

Many people added more detail to qualify their answer; I will cover some of the key points from this later.

Quite a few of the answers were not yes or no, or even maybe. I created a separate category for cases where their intent was completely unclear. It also includes those who only reply to queries from those in their constituency.

Others were undecided, so fell into the maybe category.

Finally, a surprising number (enough to create a category of its own) stated that either that they had no answer or did not have the time to consider it, because they did not see the subject as being an issue. No constituents had ever asked about it in their years of campaigning, or they did not have the time to think about it.

The results of this survey are shown below:

Views of PPCs from different parties on whether the Parthenon Marbles should be returned - May 2015

PartyYesNoMaybeUnclearUnimportant
Con18%41%12%18%12%
Green87%0%10%0%3%
Lab65%2%15%9%9%
LD70%13%4%9%4%
PC100%0%0%0%0%
UKIP38%25%13%13%13%
SNP100%0%0%0%0%
Responses broken down as a percentage of those questioned from each party

There was quite a lot of data to digest there, but it can be made simpler if those from the maybe, unclear and unimportant categories are ignored. It seems safe to assume that if it came to a vote, these people would be likely to at the very least follow a 50 / 50 split, or to follow the split of opinions of those in their party who have already made their views known, meaning that the overall trend in the results should still be relatively similar.

As you can see from this table, the results are fairly clear cut. With the exception of the Conservatives, in all other parties the clear majority of respondents support return of the Parthenon Sculptures – in most cases by a massive amount.

UKIP is perhaps the most erratic in their responses, with no definite trend. As with most of the other parties, there is no set party policy on the issue, but in their case, members seem more divided on whether or not they want the sculptures returned.

What is interesting is to interpolate these results to match the actual breakdown of the MPs in parliament. The breakdown of each of the parties questioned is taken as a percentage of their number of seats multiplied by their percentage of yes votes. Other parties not covered by my survey are included as zero support, although we already know from the first part of this study, that Respect (with a single MP) supports the return of the Marbles. The total number of MPs used for calculating the percentages is 650 minus the speaker (who does not vote) and minus the 5 Sinn Féin MPs (who do not take their seats in Parliament) Giving a total of 644 voting MPs. This same methodology (in terms of voting and non-voting members) is used to calculate how many seats are required for a majority in Parliament.

Interpolated outcome for a hypothetical vote in the final session of the previous parliament (2014-2015) based on a Twitter survey of PPCs - May 2015

PartyMPsAs %Yes %Aggregate 
Total62%
Con30347%30%14%
Green10%100%0%
Lab25840%97%39%
LD579%84%7%
PC30%100%0%
SNP61%100%1%
UKIP20%60%0%
Others142%0%0%

Not all parties are included in this survey and it relies on a lot of assumptions, but based on the information available, it still represents a surprising outcome, that even with the Conservatives forming the largest block in Parliament (albeit not an overall majority), 62% would support return of the Marbles. This result is notable, as it indicates that support for the issue amongst members might well be higher than the party leaders acknowledge. Bear in mind though that this result, excludes those who are undecided or gave unclear answers, on the assumption that their decision would either match that of others in their party, or not be enough to alter the overall balance.

Additional comments received

Various twitter responses included more detail in addition to the yes / no answer, and from this a number of themes emerged.

From those in support of the return of the Marbles:

  • A solution mediated by a third party (e.g. UNESCO) would be the most sensible way of overseeing a fair outcome.
  • While Parliament can take a view on the Parthenon Marbles, it is important that they also respect the independence of the British Museum.
  • The Loan to the Hermitage in St Petersburg of one of the Parthenon Sculptures weakened the British Museum’s position, both because a loan was made of one of the sculptures and because of the fact that the loan was made to a country with which Britain is not on good terms with at present.
  • That the basis for a return agreement could be the previous offers made by Greece (when Venizelos was Culture Minister) for some form of reciprocal loan of new artefacts to display in place of the Marbles.
  • The importance of context was seen – that the Marbles were intended to be displayed in a certain place and under Greek light – something that can never be replicated in London.
  • That the New Acropolis Museum strengthens Greece’s argument.
  • That the UK could keep copies of the sculptures if the originals were returned.
  • PC PPCs raised the issue of the Mold Cape as one that they see as having parallels to the Marbles, but is relevant to them.
  • That the Marbles are a part of world heritage and as a result are best located in the country where they were created.
  • That they had concerns over whether other artefacts would have to be handed back too if the Marbles returned.

Out of those that opposed the return of the sculptures, arguments raised justifying retention included:

  • The fact that the Marbles were legitimately purchased by Lord Elgin.
  • That Greece has greater problems to deal with at present.
  • That they are “happy with them where they are at the moment”.
  • That if Elgin had not taken them then they would have been destroyed.
  • That Greece would just sell them if they were returned.
  • That they are safer in the British Museum.

This analysis is not the place to try and refute these assertions, but many of these statements are factually incorrect and other articles on this website have already explained this in more detail.

Others suggest that some MPs do not really see the return of the Marbles as an issue.

Finally, I was surprised to hear from some that despite the recent loan to Russia, the presence of Amal Clooney in Athens and previous comments by both George Clooney and Stephen Fry, some said that they had never heard of the case.

Conclusions

At the level of which parties support or are against the return of the Marbles, both surveys present broadly similar results. Although the level of support indicated varies (in part due to the very different methods used in each survey), the indication is that there is support from all the major parties, with the exception of the Conservatives and possibly UKIP.

Because of the nature of both surveys, it is hard to translate the survey results to an exact level of support, although my attempts show that it may well be high enough that a majority in Parliament would be in favour of their return if an un-whipped vote was taken. Factors to consider are whether those who do not reply / do not respond to EDMs do so because they are against the issue, or because they do not have the time, or any one of many other possible reasons.

One thing that surprised me was the numbers that did not see is as an issue of importance. I put this largely down to a lack of understanding of how the other side might feel – while it is easy to be in Britain and happy with the current situation, or uncaring about it, it is harder to take this point of view if you consider how those on the other side of the argument (in this case, the citizens of Greece) feel about the situation. While we might have concerns here about the transport system or the NHS, return of the Marbles is something that relatively easily rights a historical wrong, and at the same time would show that Britain had moved on from an imperialistic viewpoint and increase our standing internationally.

The issue of understanding the other side of the argument is perhaps what produces the high level of support from Plaid Cymru and SNP PPCs. There are various relevant intra-national cases that affect both these areas, the most notable being the Mold Cape and the Lewis Chessmen, which allow them to far more easily understand how another country in a similar situation might feel than for many British MPs who are more comfortable with the status quo.

While there were some inaccuracies in the understanding of the situation by those who supported return, it was clear from the responses that the amount of misinformation within the retentionist camp is far higher. This highlights that education is key to resolving the issue – many are against restitution in large part only because their understanding of the situation is built on factual inaccuracies. No inaccuracy in the media should go unchallenged, but at the same time spurious arguments that might weaken the reunification cause should be dropped.

In a separate message endorsing the cause that I received from a former Tory councillor, I queried that his opinion was at odds with the majority in his party who I spoke to and whether there was a reason for this. He suggested that a major reason was that many people did not know the history of the case well enough.

So, to sum up, anything other than a Conservative Majority on May 7th 2015 will increase the chances for the return of the Marbles. Once the election is over, I will re-visit this Analysis, both in terms of how the breakdown of parties has changed, and in terms of how many of those questioned have become MPs both within the new Parliament and within the Government.

As a closing comment, one of the PC PPCs who I spoke to noted that: “Finders keepers should be remain a playground chant & not form part of government policy.”

Perhaps this is the simplest summary of the reasons for return of the sculptures.

Key to abbreviations used

Party names

APNI – Alliance Party of Northern Ireland
Con – Conservative
DUP – Democratic Unionist Party
Lab – Labour
LD – Liberal Democrat
PC – Plaid Cymru
SDLP – Social Democratic and Labour Party
SNP – Scottish National Party
UKIP – UK Independence Party

Other

PPC – Prospective Parliamentary Candidate
EDM – Early Day Motion

February 19, 2015

Does the art industry support returning Parthenon Marbles?

Posted at 2:13 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

ITV News is carrying a story (I haven’t seen it picked up anywhere else so far), that a survey carried out by Public relations firm Bell Pottinger Arts indicates 60% of art experts back keeping the Parthenon Marbles in London. The article is short on detail or analysis, so most of what follows below is purely based on my own knowledge, observations and conjecture.

The poll result is interesting, as it does not reflect the results previously shown in a multitude of other surveys of the general public, or targeted groups, all of which have tended to show that more people are in favour of return than retaining them. These surveys have been conducted by respected polling companies such as Ipsos Mori, as well as by newspapers and magazines. Two things have been noticed from thee polls – firstly, that as time has progressed, support for the return for the sculptures has generally increased (possibly due to an increase in awareness in the subject, as press coverage of it has also increased). Secondly, there was a general trend, that the more educated people were about the topic, the more likely they were to support return. This was proven, not just where people were asked to rate their knowledge of the subject, but also borne out in polls such as that carried out by the Museums Association’s journal, which would clearly be catering for an audience that would have a greater understanding of the case than the general public.

Bearing in mind the above, alarm bells are ringing, when a new survey appears that seems to go against what has been shown in every other previous survey that I am aware of from the last 15 years. As such, the methodology has to be examined carefully.

There are a number of things that I would like to know:

Firstly, what was the actual question that people were asked? In most polls, the exact question wording is made public, but in this one, there is no indication of exactly what was being asked and the context of it within the questionnaire.

Secondly, who was asked? It talks about the 70 journalists and leaders of arts organisations in the UK, the Middle East and Asia who were questioned, without going into any more detail of who these were, how they were selected and the breakdown by country, type of organisation etc. It seems to have been a very targeted poll (perhaps intended to produce a certain result) and also to have a very small sample size. Polls by Ipsos Mori have typically used sample sizes of over 1000 members of the public.

Thirdly, the thing that interests me most, is who commissioned this poll and why? In my experience, companies such as Bell Pottinger don’t work for free, so some company / organisation / individual must be paying them to carry out this work. As this is all about the Parthenon Sculptures, the first thought is that the British Museum might be involved. There is also a clear linkage as to why this institution would chose to use Bell Pottinger, as Baroness Wheatcroft of Blackheath (AKA former Journalist Patience Wheatcroft) is not only the Deputy Chairman of the British Museum, but also an advisory board member of none other than Bell Pottinger. She is also a Conservative peer and former Daily Telegraph editor and it is well known that neither of these bodies are sympathetic to reunification of the Marbles.

If my above guesswork is correct, it is interesting, as it indicates that the British Museum have determined that they need to play a very different set of tactics to those that they have employed in the past (namely that of burying their heads in the sand). If they are now employing an outside PR company (albeit one with a less than stellar reputation for being anything other than guns for hire), then it suggests that they are perhaps no longer sitting quite as comfortably as they once were.

This assertion is backed up by the loan of one of the Parthenon Sculptures to St Petersburg last December, something that was the first real variation in policy noticed since Neil MacGregor took over as director of the museum over ten years ago. I can only deduce that is is clear that they are feeling the pressure, that they finally need to try and defend themselves. This ties in to heightened publicity in recent months about the sculptures in general, but also to the fact that it is now publicly known that the Greek Government has been in discussion with lawyers over whether legal action could be used to help secure the return of the sculptures.

I would suggest that this shows that the current Greek strategy is working, and as such I hope that the new Syriza government will continue to follow the footsteps of those who preceded them, in terms of how they deal with this issue, rather than backing off and letting the issue fall off the agenda once more.

One final thing to note is that the use of the name Elgin Marbles to describe the sculptures is a very loaded term, although it is unclear whether this was the decision of Bell Pottinger or ITV London. Even the British Museum has not used this term for many years now.

If The British Museum has appointed Bell Pottinger to handle this issue for them, I am sure we will be hearing far more about it in the coming months. Watch this space.

Part of the Parthenon frieze in the British Museum

Part of the Parthenon frieze in the British Museum

From:
ITV London

18 February 2015 at 12:20pm
60% of art experts back keeping Elgin Marbles in London

A survey of art experts found 60% in favour of the British Museum in London keeping the Elgin Marbles.

The marbles, which are 2,500 years old, were presented to the London institution almost 200 years ago after being removed from the Parthenon temple at the Acropolis by Lord Elgin. The debate over whether they should be returned to Greece raging ever since.
Read the rest of this entry »

December 3, 2014

Vote to return Parthenon Marbles – in Athens airport

Posted at 9:26 am in Elgin Marbles

New voting booths have been installed in Athens airport, to let departing visitors give their opinion on whether or not the Parthenon Sculptures should be returned.

This is an interesting approach, as the bulk of tourists passing through the airport will have visited both the Acropolis & the Acropolis Museum, allowing them to make a fairly informed judgement about whether the Acropolis Museum would be the most suitable location for the display of the sculptures.

Interactive voting screens at Athens Airport

Interactive voting screens at Athens Airport

From:
Agence France Presse

Greece reach out to tourists to help bring Elgin Marbles back
Published: November 20, 2014 08:30 AM

ATHENS, Nov 20 — The Greek government is asking tourists at Athens airport to join the notorious debate over the return of the Elgin Marbles to Greece from London.

Faced with a picture of the famed Parthenon and its marble statues on an interactive screen, travellers are asked to reply “yes” or “no” to the question: “Do you support the return of the Parthenon marbles?”.
Read the rest of this entry »

November 14, 2014

Lord Elgin – enlightened liberator or avaricious looter?

Posted at 11:26 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

The heightened interest in the Parthenon Marbles following the visit by a team of lawyers to Athens has prompted many recent articles on the subject.

Here, Vicky Pryce & Dominic Selwood argue the cases on opposite sides of the restitution debate.

Remember to vote in the poll on the website at the top of the original article.

Part of the Parthenon frieze in the British Museum

Part of the Parthenon frieze in the British Museum

From:
Prospect

Duel: should we return the Elgin marbles?
Did Lord Elgin liberate or steal these priceless historic artefacts? Our panellists battle it out
by Vicky Pryce, Dominic Selwood / November 13, 2014
Published in December 2014 issue of Prospect Magazine

About authors

Vicky Pryce (Yes)
Vicky Pryce is a Greek economist and former joint head of the UK’s Government Economic Service

Dominic Selwood (No)
Dominic Selwood is a historian and barrister

Yes
At the beginning of the 19th century, Thomas Bruce, Lord Elgin, was the British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, which occupied Greece. He entered the Parthenon in Athens and documented the sculptures, making moulds and casts. He bribed Turkish officials to allow him to engage in daily excavations before removing a large part of the marbles to Britain. Bribing occupying powers to purloin national treasures is not the sort of behaviour usually deemed worthy of a British Ambassador.

The looting that happened during the Second World War has, on the whole, been made good. No one accepts the right of those who occupied half of Europe to walk off with the revered relics of those subjugated nations in the 20th century. So why was it acceptable to do so in the 19th century?
Read the rest of this entry »

February 17, 2014

Guardian Poll shows that more than 17 out of every 20 people support return of Marbles

Posted at 12:17 am in Elgin Marbles

There have been many polls about the Parthenon Marbles in recent years and only a few have shows anything other than a high level of support for their return. The Guardian recently ran a poll, following the publicity from George Clooney’s statements about the sculptures.

The results speak for themselves – but the end of the two day poll, the web page attracted over 2,500 comments, and the end result of the poll itself showed that 88% of those who took part were in favour of the sculptures being returned. Politicians have a tendency to state that the marbles are a complex issue & that the country is deeply divided over them – the reality though is that nearly everyone supports return – so why can’t they listen to this & respond sensibly to it, by entering into serious negotiations to resolve it?

88% favour returning Parthenon Sculptures

88% favour returning Parthenon Sculptures

From:
Guardian

Wednesday 12 February 2014 11.50 GMT
Is George Clooney correct? Should Britain return the Parthenon marbles?

While promoting his new film Monuments Men, about returning art taken by the Nazis to its rightful owners, George Clooney has said that the UK should give back the Parthenon marbles to Greece. Are you with him?

Should Britain return the Parthenon marbles to Greece?
88% – Yes
12% – No

September 12, 2012

Poll on the return of the Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 1:05 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

The Young Archaeologists Club has a poll on their website over whether the British Museum ought to return the Elgin Marbles to Greece.

From:
Young Archaeologists Club

YAC’s Parthenon Sculptures Vote!
Submitted by Nicky Milsted on Tue, 2012-09-04 11:09
What are the Parthenon Sculptures?

The Parthenon Sculptures are sometimes called the Elgin Marbles because they were brought to Britain by Lord Elgin. The sculptures come from the famous Parthenon temple, which is part of the Acropolis in Athens. The Ancient Greeks began building the temple in 447BC.

Around half of the sculptures were destroyed in ancient times, before Lord Elgin arrived at the Parthenon. Of the remaining sculptures, about 50% are now in the British Museum, where they have been on display since 1817. Most of the rest are in the New Acropolis Museum in Athens.
Read the rest of this entry »

June 2, 2012

Museums Association Poll – Should the Parthenon Marbles be returned to Greece

Posted at 12:43 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

The Museums Association Journal have a poll on their website, about whether the Parthenon Marbles should be returned to Greece.

From:
Museums Journal

Should the Parthenon Marbles be returned
Rebecca Atkinson, 31.05.2012
Have your say

The British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles is holding an international symposium on 19 June at the London Hellenic Centre to discuss the return of the marbles to Greece.

Ahead of the event, Museums Journal wants to know whether you think the Parthenon Marbles should be returned to Greece.

Vote in the poll and leave your comments on the issue below.

December 9, 2009

Vote on the Rosetta Stone

Posted at 2:02 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

The Guardian’s Website is running a poll (closing tomorrow) on whether or not people think that the Rosetta Stone should be returned. Please go to The Guardian’s Website, to vote before the poll closes.

From:
The Guardian

Stolen treasure?
Ignoring the British Museum’s rebuffs, Egypt is demanding for the return of the Rosetta Stone, which has been on display in the UK since 1802. Should the museum give it back to Egyptian authorities?
Tuesday 8 December 2009 11.58 GMT

  • Yes. They stole part of Egypt’s cultural heritage
  • No. It’s about global cultural heritage. The country of origin doesn’t matter

July 10, 2009

Guardian Elgin Marbles poll results

Posted at 12:49 pm in Elgin Marbles

The poll I mentioned last week in the Guardian has closed now & the results have been published.

Whichever way you look at it it shows a resounding level of support for re reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures.

This website also gets a mention – so quite a few people must have followed the link from it & voted. I’m not sure that I’d describe this site as Elginist – more anti-Elginist.

From:
Guardian

How G2’s Parthenon marbles poll went global
Aida Edemariam
Wednesday 8 July 2009

Best-read lists on websites are disconcertingly revealing things. In a week where the Guardian’s list might have been dominated by, say, Michael Jackson’s demise or the demonstrations in Iran, one small element of our arts coverage persistently ranked in the top-two best-read pieces on the site: a poll that asked, simply, “Is it time to return the Parthenon marbles?” No fewer than 380,000 people clicked on it, and an unprecedented 129,974 felt strongly enough to vote – an overwhelming 94.8% voting yes, and a puny 5.2% voting no.

Now, the Parthenon marbles aren’t exactly breaking news: Lord Elgin began removing them from Greece in 1801. True, the new Parthenon museum had just opened, with its pointed gaps where the missing marbles ought to go – but still. The opening of even the snazziest of museums can’t usually compete with one of the biggest celebrity exits in the obituaries calendar. Or the biggest demonstration in Iran since the fall of the Shah.
Read the rest of this entry »

July 1, 2009

Why should the Greeks build a statue of Lord Elgin in Athens?

Posted at 1:07 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, International Association, New Acropolis Museum

Richard Dorment’s article in the Daily Telegraph unsurprisingly provoked many angry responses on the newspaper’s comments page. Not least, were the claims that the sculptures have been, & would continue to be, better displayed & looked after in the British Museum than in the New Acropolis Museum.

From:
London Daily News

01 July, 2009 12:03 (GMT +01:00)
“Greeks should build a statue to Lord Elgin in Athens”, Telegraph editorial
International News

In what is becoming an increasingly protracted debate, the issue of the reunification of the stolen marbles of the Parthenon took a new dynamic with a highly provocative editorial by Richard Dorment the arts editor of the Daily Telegraph calling for the Greeks to “erect a statue of Lord Elgin near the Parthenon to express their nation’s gratitude to him for saving the marbles”.

Ironically an extensive report published in 1999 by world archeological experts found that the “Elgin marbles” morphology had suffered as a result of the “misguided efforts to make them whiter than white”. The report went onto to say :
Read the rest of this entry »

June 24, 2009

Vote for the reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures

Posted at 4:47 pm in Elgin Marbles

The Guardian has a poll on their website on whether the Elgin Marbles should be reunited now that the New Acropolis Museum is opened.

Place your vote their as soon as possible as voting closes in a few days.

Currently the vote stands at a massive 94.7% in favour of the sculptures being returned.

Vote here.

From:
The Guardian

Wednesday 24 June 2009 09.56 BST
Is it time to return the Parthenon Marbles?

The Greek minister of culture claims that public opinion in the UK favours the return of the Parthenon Marbles. Is he right?

February 25, 2009

Eight reasons why the Elgin Marbles should be returned to Greece

Posted at 1:11 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, New Acropolis Museum

Along similar lines to this piece looking at the arguments for & against the restitution of the Parthenon Sculptures, here are eight key reasons why they should be returned.

From:
American Chronicle

Eight Reasons: Why the Parthenon Sculptures must be returned to Greece
Nicolas Mottas
February 23, 2009

The date has been announced. On June 20th, the New Acropolis Museum of Athens will be inaugurated, opening its gates to the public. Crouching at the foot of the Acropolis rock, the brand new Museum is consisting the forefront of Greece’s continual effort for the restoration of the Parthenon Marbles. The opening of the 130 million Euro ultra-modern building, which covers almost 14,000 square meters of exchibition space, dismantles the years-long argument that there isn’t a proper place to host the ancient Sculptures in Athens. But, actually, the new Museum isn’t the only reason which advocates in favour of Parthenon’s Sculptures back to Greece – there are, at least, seven more points:

1. Lord Elgin action’s illegality: Thomas Bruce, then British ambassador in Istanbul, did not have the legal right to remove (in 1801) the ancient masterpieces from the Parthenon. Officially, Elgin obtained a ‘firman’ from the Ottoman authorities but when the British Parliament asked to examine it, he couldn’t submit it. What he submitted was an italian translation of the official document. I reproduce from an interesting article of the American Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, Inc: “Specialists in Ottoman Law point out that the document does not carry the signature and seal of the Sultan or his customary invocation to God, and without them, Elgin and by extention the British Museum have no legal evidence of ownership of the Parthenon Sculptures” (Newsletter, Nov.2008).
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