AS public unveilings of statues go it was rather surreal.

No press invite in these Covid times. No problem. We expected the university to supply a photo or two of dignatories unveiling the statue of environmental activist Greta Thunberg. The photos arrived, for which many thanks. But where were the people? Greta stood alone like flotsam left on a beach. The project has been controversial, attracting national and international media attention, with teaching unions and students saying the money could have been spent on more important things. One would think the university was embarrassed. It need not be and this paper is surprised by the seeming loss of confidence. The statue will challenge us to think of ways to tackle the climate crisis and tread more lightly on this planet.

For those who say: “Greta Thunberg has never been to Winchester”. So? As much as anything she is a symbol of young people’s rising up to demand change. We have a statue of King Alfred, a great man rooted in this city, but the past. The message that Greta carries is just as important. It’s the future.