Former councillor admits spraying anti-racism graffiti in Ramsgate and Broadstairs and Dickens Fellowship react to vandalism

Ian Driver admits being responsible for the graffiti Image Ian Driver

Former councillor Ian Driver has admitted to being responsible for a series of anti-racism graffiti tags in Broadstairs and Ramsgate.

The Broadstairs resident, who is already under investigation after spray painting the protective box covering the Uncle Mack memorial in Broadstairs following a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Broadstairs on June 13, says his latest act is in response to a Broadstairs Town Council recommendation to retain the Uncle Mack memorial despite issues of black facing racisim and, Mr Driver says, Thanet council’s “woefully  inadequate review of  its publicly funded racist properties and activities.”

Mr Driver sprayed graffiti on Broadstairs and St Peter’s Town Council offices at Pierremont Hall, the office of the Broadstairs Folk Week, the Thanet council owned Dickens Museum, the box protecting the controversial Uncle Mack memorial plaque and  two street signs in Broadstairs and Ramsgate.

Image Ian Driver

In a blog post Mr Driver writes: “I selected the targets as they  represent the deep-rooted institutional racism of Broadstairs Town and Thanet District councils and the  Broadstairs Dickens Week and Folk Week charities  who openly support, celebrate,  and fund with public money, offensive blacked up Morris dancers, Uncle Mack’s blacked up Minstrel show memorial,  and genocidal racists such as  Charles Dickens and King Leopold of Belgium.”

He adds: “My  actions are  nothing to do with the Black Lives Matter movement, of which I am a supporter, and are purely part of my  own  individual protest for which I  alone am responsible.

“Peaceful direct action, such as graffiti,  the destruction and defacing of offensive statues and memorials has always been, and always will be, a legitimate  part of  protest and social change and was used extensively by the suffragettes, the anti-poll tax, anti-fracking,   and climate change movements in the UK,  and national liberation struggles the world over.”

Mr Driver added: “I have no regrets and will be making no apology.  I did the right thing and would do it again if needs be.”

‘Mindless individual’

Dickens House

However Chairman of the Broadstairs Dickens Fellowship, Eddy Coulson, has branded the graffiti “mindless” and disputes the claims of racism laid by Mr Driver.

Mr Coulson said: “Dickens House Museum, for 47 years a Broadstairs Town asset donated by Dora Tattam whose family lived there from 1919 until it was bequeathed to the town Dickens called “Our English watering place.” in 1973.

“Sadly it has been vandalised by a mindless individual with no regard for a cultural asset nor someone possessing any grip on reality. The charge that Dickens was a racist is not one I fully support. Lauded by an admiring American public, following his first visit in 1842, when he was only 30, he was subsequently lambasted by them for the things he wrote about his experience there.

“In his book American Notes Dickens does not hold back on those elements of the American way of life with which he takes issue. Principal amongst which was Dickens’ abhorrence of the treatment of black people held as slaves. Such was the antipathy towards Dickens he did not return until 1868. Dickens wrote “The upholders of slavery in America- of the atrocities of which system I shall not write one word for which I have not had ample proof and warrant- may be divided into three classes.”.

“The first can be described as slave owners who wish to be benign but carry on their trade until their own “Day of Judgement.”. The second class are those who see no evil in their activities and will go to war “civil or foreign” to protect their slave buying and selling. The last group, “not the least numerous or influential” state that public opinion rules slavery legal and if public opinion wishes to end it, no doubt public opinion will.

“Dickens visited Broadstairs from 1837 until 1859. The debate about whether Charles Dickens was a racist has persisted for as long as his books have been read. You cannot expunge from history some of the offensive things he has said and written. What must happen is an assessment of the good things he did versus the bad. For my part, as the Chairman of the Broadstairs Dickens Fellowship, I believe that he did more by way of improving the society in the time in which he lived than harm it otherwise. There exists a host of writing on the subject of whether he was a racist or otherwise. However, 150 years after the death of Dickens what is he best remembered for? Any chance of a serious debate is not enhanced by mindless graffiti being daubed on perhaps the town’s best cultural asset.”

61 Comments

    • I totally agree, there are far better ways of making your point of view seen and heard without resorting to criminal damage. He should be prosecuted.

    • Agree 100%. He needs to be prosecuted. acts of vandalism should always be prosecuted. As well as a fine he should be forced to clean it up. Thanet already looks like a third world country without mindless fools like Ian Driver making it worse.

      If according to Ian Driver graffiti is a legitimate protesting tool I wonder if he would mind if someone spray painted over his house to protest his actions ?

    • What a stupid man get must be.Most people are trying to bexplain responsible in 4 his crisis and he is enciting this rubbish. Hope he is ashamed 😬

  1. The whole issue here is about racism and the past history. It is senseless to be protesting and destroying things that happened hundreds of years ago. Mr Driver does not do himself any favours, he protests this way about everything he disagrees with!
    We are a multicultural country now and we should be looking on how to continue and strengthen society making it equal for all, not just for those in authority.
    If people want to remove historical statues of persons then let the community decide, but don’t just remove or cover it, put a statement there to the reasons why that is being decided. You cannot change history but you can change the plaques to state how we see what happened then is not how society sees it today.

    • This idiot should be made to read The Social and Economic history of Britain whilst sitting in prison on remand. Then every book on Democracy, when he gets an actual life, perhaps he will then realise how we in Britian can in this day and age are SPEAK freely and not have to stoop to mindless vandalism. IDIOT!

  2. How can we hold the past to our modern insane hypersensitive permanently offended present? If Charles Dickens had held the views acceptable to the current crop of fanatical hard-left extremists he would have been locked up as a lunatic in 1860. The tiny minority of far-left extremists use any excuse to impose their world-view on the majority population and the media, businesses, public and local authorities pander to their tyranny. Tell them enough is enough. They don’t speak for the majority, they won’t stop, they won’t be appeased. Today Dickens, tomorrow Shakespear, the next week Mozart, Chopin, Dostoyevsky, Balzac, Beethoven, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, no one can live up to their insane standards. Take a stand! Tell them to stop! Impose actual law on their actions not bend the knee. Jesus, grow a pair, would you?

    • Spot on. The minority but very vocal far left just shout down anyone who disagrees with them and calls anyone who opposes their extremist views racist You can’t have a serious debate with the far left as they are bigoted extremists.

      The far left have polarised this Country and their extremist views are alienating the majority of the British public. Eventually the majority will stand up to the loud mouthed bigoted extreme left.

  3. I agree with the above statements. Ian Driver should be prosecuted for the vandalism that he has done. I do not see that removing statues which is part of history is going to do any good. History is not taught in schools as it used to be so many of the statues/monuments that they want removed are not even known to the children of today. It is only bigots and racists that want to get rid of the history of this country which by the way is ENGLAND not America. Let the American people do as they will in America why do the English want to follow them for. Next these people will be saying we should be able to carry guns as if there is not enough knife crime in this wonderful country already. YES we are multi-cultural and will always be so why the protests?

    • Actually the Multicultural social experiment is unlawful…

      The vastly superior English Common Law is based in the individual not in the group. Allocation of group identities we should have left isolated to Hitlers place in history.

      Now with multi culti people display their equivalents of yellow stars up front with the “As a….” eg

      “As a strong proud black woman who identifies as ” etc

      Madness stalks the land. What law authorised multi culti ? None. Sort of a new Witchfinder General situation results.

      • you are pretty clued out aren’t you. The vastly superior… 🙄
        Enjoy the final days or your of your ignorant statements that hold no truth. vastly superior is a mere opinion. As such, if this is your if bear, i hope this continues. you want to degrade every cultures history the have cry when a misdemeanour is carried out towards your sentiments.

  4. Mr Driver when as a Councillor cost us residents financially with his childish acts running away with documents owned by TDC who in turn had to take him to court, he is now costing us money with his mindless acts of graffiti, I think it is now the time the law caught up with this self indulgent idiot and prosecute him with the highest punishment the courts can dish out otherwise he is promoting the fact you can daub all sorts of graffitti on public and private building without the fear of the law.

    • Well said. This idiot has cost us vast sums of money over the years with his self promotion activities. Does this guy work for a living? Deplorable behaviour.

  5. A criminal, who deserves the toughest penalty possible.

    Why are you not painting graffiti on Guys Hospital, would you want the hospital knocked down? The hospital is also named after a slave trader, or didn’t you know that fact, Mr Driver?

  6. I totally agree with above comments. History is history – it can’t be changed, it can’t be ignored or simply blanked out or statues removed. But we can and should all learn from history and move forward in ways which are suitable for these times – as has happened throughout the centuries. That is what comes from knowledge.

  7. Why is this nut case not walking around naked because the most of the clothes we wear in the UK are made using slave labour in Bangladesh India Indonesia China. 10 hour shifts with a rate of pay as low as 52 pence.

  8. I feel rather sorry for Mr Driver’s family. Their home is liable to forfeit because of money Mr Driver owes the Council following the injunction TDC was obliged to serve on him.
    His actions and behaviour over the past few years have been, to say the least, odd.
    I do hope that whatever is troubling him can be resolved, to the benefit of his family.

  9. This person has committed a crime.
    He is unrepentant, and infact says he would do the same again.
    He should be prosecuted.
    If he is not punished, his actions are likely to increase and become more dangerous, and will signal a green light to others to destroy and deface.

  10. okay he is my view point for what it is worth
    he does not care about all you lot
    he does not care about what he did he was wanting to expose the council and the officers for acts of crime what the heck is wrong with finding so called pink papers hidden from the public in light of the ferry debt this council and officers hid from public eyes it is like graffiting us with lies year after year
    the secrets behind dreamland they still owe the Goddens money is that us oh yeah
    the compensation settled out of court for the live exports slaughter ran into 6 million
    but the officers and the council hide the truth

    go on Mr Driver carry on

    we are slaves right now with this tory herd community so shut up the lot of you

    • Rebecca Hooper, are the ‘pink papers you refer to about Pleasurama? What happened to ‘Friends of Ramsgate Seafront’? I thought they were a protest group? Is there not a covenant on the Pleasurama site?

  11. he is the only one that does not bide by rules so what

    the rest of you should hang your heads in shame

    telling us lies over ramsgate
    more lies with manston
    more lies with planning officers and offshore leaks and working for offshore leaks agents

    now who is graffiting the isle with lies ….CEO and her bedding plant officer who does nothing to clear the dirty beach of rubbish which is more importantly a second wave of covid 19

    • Hi I agree to all the above contents,History is History and we all need to remember so History is not repeated, But not forgotten.
      Memory statues should be left to remind us and others that what’s happen over the years and again it’s our history good or bad.

  12. Clearly Driver needs to be taken off the streets and placed in a secure institution for his own safety and to protect the public and public property.

    If he is allowed to continue unchecked, what will his next act of lunacy be – visiting local bookshops to burn all copies of Dicken’s works ? Where will he attack next – The Charles Dickens School or the Charles Dickens Pub ?

    • It is the Isle of Thanet News that gives him oxygen of publicity and a platform to mitigate for his actions. Rather in the way Thanet Gazette always published League of Saint George (IRA supportive Nazis) side of things even when sub judice.

      Having said that IoT News published Mr Coulsons reasoned and morally dominant response.

  13. God I’m sick of reading about this man … everything his does is altruistic and seemingly for his own self promotion. Comes across as a bitter and desperate has-been.

    • When can we expect to hear about his arrest and court appearance? Or are our police too busy on politically correct cases!
      Clear cut case, photo evidence,admission of guilt…
      What more do they need?

  14. Jail the attention seeking moron. His actions are criminal, whatever his perceived reasons and are exactly the actions we are all getting totally fed up with.

  15. Does anybody know if he has been arrested for criminal damage? Even if you agree with his sentiment. He has just cost us Council Tax payers even more money. If he wants to go round graffitiing and, going to the press about it. He must pay. If he wants attention he can stand the costs, for removal and court costs. He is one of those people who you really do not want fighting your cause. As he just gets peoples back up.

  16. I hope Ian Driver is prosecuted, in fact he should and must be. Fed up with this idiot who jumps on every bandwagon to promote himself, what a poor representation of Thanet he is. He’s obviously not cultured enough to appreciate and understand Charles Dicken’s work.

  17. Ian Driver has been a financial burden on Thanet for a number of years. If the law isn’t going to sort him out then I suggest that someone else does.

  18. What is the actual point of black lives matter?
    Seems to be a lot of middle class white people who are “offended” and trying to erase slavery (which no longer exists) from history.

  19. I see that Mr Driver’s antics have attracted the national press.
    The Mail, Mirror, Telegraph and Sun are all carrying this story.

  20. The man has always been on the verge!!
    What party is this vandal affiliated to? He needs to be sacked. So who’s payibg for the clean up of this mindless act? I want him charged……

    • Mr Driver isn’t currently affiliated with any party.
      According to the IoTN piece, he is already under investigation for a similar activity.

  21. Wow, you ignorant, prejudiced, sorry excuse for a human being!

    “The loud mouthed bigoted extreme left”?

    What does that make you then??! A complete & utter racist whose views belong in the 17th century! Your post says absolutely NOTHING about the crimes reported in the article, because all you’ve done is slate the vast majority of left leaning people who’d like people treated fairly & equally.

    You’re nothing but a nasty, evil, prejudiced, hateful, divisive, scumbag. Your talk of the “majority” is complete rubbish… Ignorant fools like you are thankfully dying out, as the rest of the forward thinking human race try to educate those previously brainwashed by morons like yourself. Let’s hope empty vessels like you cease making your unintelligent, uninformed, & downright pathetic noise in the very near future.

    PS- Why haven’t racist scum like you got the courage to state your name? Complete & utter COWARD!

    • Another example of the caring sharing left, shouting down anyone who DARES nkt swallow your juvenile pc agenda Dan.

      It always surprises me when far left sheep such as you and Ian Driver claim to support democracy, until you can’t get your own way.

  22. I see in another story he has now been arrested and remains in custody while enquiries continue. I suggests he stays there as I don’t think he is very well. He reminds me a bit of David Icke, with everybody laughing at him.

  23. No, no, no, you should never drink while working, ha ha.

    Perhaps we could get Mr Driver to paint a bottle for you, although I believe he may be a little tied up at the moment.

  24. Ian Driver will jump on any bandwagon going to promote his twisted view of the world. His latest ridiculous escapade makes him look exactly what he is, an extremist. I hope he is prosecuted and is handed a custodial sentence.

    • I bet we end up paying this clowns legal bills.Once again his antics will cost us money as many of his escapades in the past have. What has he ever put into the system?

    • I really do not think he is very well. I see he has pleaded not guilty. To criminal damage. Is he just trying to waste more tax payers money? I hope when he is found guilty in September. He is made to pay all the costs. As I do not see many people starting a Go fund me page, for him.

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