IMAGERY is a powerful tool in society, seeking to present a positive image of the subject or the state to the public at large.

Since antiquity, rulers' heads on coins, statues of Roman Emperors, portraits presenting an imposing pose, naming of buildings and endowments or sovereigns' heads on postage stamps all help to project the power and influence of the elite in society.

Having visited Bristol, the name of Colston was all-pervasive from street names to buildings and of course statues. The toppling of the Colston statue in Bristol is a powerful statement because of what he represents – wealth and power achieved through the slave trade.

That is why I don't accept the argument that we should leave such memorials in place; whilst they are undoubtedly part of our shared history, those who exploited humans for profit whether in the trade or use of slaves belong in museums where future generations can learn how truly abhorrent people can be in pursuit of wealth regardless of their subsequent efforts to see their fortunes put to good use.

In the case of Andrew Carnegie, his legacy is seen as a positive one due to the fact that he endowed many libraries and charitable trusts despite the fact that he was an industrialist who made his fortune off the back of the ordinary workers; his desire to give his fortune away is what endures. Would it not have been better for him to have paid decent wages and improved conditions for his employees and made a difference to their lives in the here and now?

Britain has many individuals more worthy than slave traders and plantation owners; we could use the public spaces vacated by such statues to showcase positive images or art of such individuals who made a difference in the lives of everyone, not just those who sought wealth or glory at the expense of others.

Mark Mckeown, Shotts.

THERE are dangerous precedents in the current fashion of eradicating history that doesn’t suit us. Former Communist regimes in Eastern Europe attempted to expunge history that didn’t accord with their philosophy. Similarly in 1933 the Nazis encouraged the burning of specific books.

I am close to the view of Ian W Thomson (Letters, June 12) and could keep your pages going for some time in defence of Robert Burns who, incidentally, seems to have some 60 statues around the world. We must also keep the Mannie’s statue above Golspie.

Now folk have moved on to Baden-Powell because of pre-war exchanges between Scouts and the Hitler Youth, but he was far from alone in being duped by Hitler. Fairly recently there has been a campaign in Birmingham for a statue of Chamberlain. Will that now stop because of his role in appeasement? Until the invasion of Czechoslovakia much of the British aristocracy admired Hitler and not only because of the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha connection. Lord Rothermere’s Daily Mail frequently supported Hitler’s actions so should we ban that newspaper? (Herald readers should refrain from comment.)

Both John Buchan and Robert Louis Stevenson used language that isn’t appropriate today so must their books go on the bonfire?

Perhaps we have all been locked down for too long.

John C Hutchison, Fort William.

I WAS very angry when I saw a comment from Lewis Hamilton wanting statues removed, street names changed and soon. He is of course entitled to his opinion.

However the photo accompanying the article I saw showed Hamilton in his Formula 1 gear. Unfortunately it was covered in sponsor’s logos, the main one being Mercedes.

In 1986 Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes, finally admitted that it had used between 40,000 and 50,000 slave workers to produce vehicles for the military during the Second World War. These slaves would be worked until they died or, when of no more use, sent to Auschwitz or one of the other extermination camps.

The same was true of most of his other German sponsors.

It seems as if removing items from 200 years ago is perfectly acceptable, whilst companies using slave labour 80 years ago and sponsoring Hamilton are exempt from criticism.

It leaves me wondering if the real reason was that they were “not of colour” and therefore do not matter.

Bill Fitzpatrick, Kilmarnock.

WHY not convert at least part of the David Livingstone Museum in Blantyre to a museum illustrating Scotland’s involvement in the slave trade from its genesis? The best way to ensure atrocities don’t reoccur is to have current reminders of their abhorrent nature to be used as educational tools, with Auschwitz being a case in point.

Graham McKee, Glasgow G12.

RICHARD M Day's reasoned approach to the subject of slavery (Letters, June 12) concludes with the desire to know more.

Browsing on YouTube, I find that the famous hymn Amazing Grace was written by a former slave trader, John Newton, in 1773. Newton was an Anglican priest in England and did not speak out against slavery until 1788.

A footnote to published editions of the hymn would teach future generations something which would be lost were it to be erased from history.

How far back do the protesters want to go: to the Romans?

David Miller, Milngavie.