If Sheffielder Paul Manning was my dad, I’d be burning with shame.
He’s just been found guilty of damaging one of the nation’s most famous works of art. All to draw attention to himself.
Copies of Constable’s The Haywain hung in millions of British homes back in the Seventies. The original is in the National Gallery in London. I remember going to a Constable exhibition on a school trip and marvelling at how big it was in comparison to the one above our settee.
Paul Manning decided the oil painting was so special, it would illustrate a purpose far more “important” than the one Constable ever intended. He superglued a picture of his son to the canvas.
What Manning did, they call vandalism in my book - something parents teach kids never to do. But he reckons it’s fine. Because he’s a Fathers 4 Justice campaigner. He’s making a ‘statement,’ like the other angry members who have performed similarly destructive acts.
I absolutely believe in good fathers having an important part in their child’s life. But who feels anything other than contempt for people who deliberately damage a piece of art, something that gives only pleasure, just to make a point?
It makes you think alright. That there could be very good reason why family courts stopped him from seeing his son.