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The British Empire was a good thing!


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#1 Andy

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 07:47 PM

Michael Palin is right – the British Empire did a lot for us




By Ed West Last updated: October 2nd, 2009
13 Comments Comment on this article

Discussing the British Empire once with a friend, I was a little bit startled to be told the reason that the British were disliked around the world was because we had killed 6 million people in concentration camps during the Boer War. Are you absolutely sure? I asked. Yes, we invented concentration camps and murdered 6 million people in South Africa, she said. And the woman had a degree from Oxford.
So I always think about those poor 6 million Afrikaaners whenever someone raises the subject of the British Empire, of which almost nothing is known now by the general populace except;
1. Britain enslaved loads of black people
2. Britain starved loads of Irish people and
3. It was really racist, especially towards Mary Seacole (yes, I know Seacole is Rod Liddle's joke, but now they're planning to build a great flipping statue of her opposite Parliament I think more people should know about it).


Now Michael Palin has made news just for making a fairly modest defence of the Empire:
"If we say that all of our past involvement with the world was bad and wicked and wrong, I think we're doing ourselves a great disservice."
"It has set up lines of communication between people that are still very strong. We still have links with other countries – culturally, politically and socially – that, perhaps, we shouldn't forget."


I'd go a lot further and mention the abolition of the slave trade, the introduction of parliamentary democracy, an independent judiciary, civil service, post office, railways, women's rights (especially in places like Egypt and India) and the treatment of previously incurable diseases…
And yet, strangely, none of those are among the keywords for one school's module about the British Empire, called "the British Empire and Black History".


"Empire global Colony Imperialism Trade ‘Man on the spot’ Competition Strategic Popularity Slavery Racism trade prejudice chain gang slave slave-owner overseer plantation Abolition abolish plantation overseer equality William Wilberforce Colonialism Raj British Viceroy Inferior Tiffin Exploited.Mahatma Ghandi Khadj Amritsar Massacre Non-cooperation Independence"



Incidentally here are the same keywords for their module on "Islamic Empires"


"Islam Muslim Prophet Muhammad AH After hijra. Qur’an Five Pillars of Islam Hadith Hajj Meccca Empire Persia Syria Trade Caliph Caliph Umar. Byzantium Capital City Baghdad Caliph Trade Entertainment Fertile soil. Calligraphy Maths science architecture Mosque at Cordoba Taj Mahal. Ottoman Suleyman Sultan Turkish Pope Tudor"



Under "resources" the school lists Spartacus, which is not exactly a centrist website (its historical topics include "The Crimes of George H W Bush", "Assassination, Terrorism and the Arms Trade: The Contracting Out of US Foreign Policy" and "Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence Complex"), "the film Ghandi" (sic) and "Terry Deary's The British Empire book. Part of the Horrible History series". Deary is an incredibly popular children's writer but his history books are fantastically biased, and his Barmy British Empire is a work of sinister Stalinist indoctrination, including lengthy and graphic descriptions of white-on-black violence – just the sort of thing that should be presented to London schoolboys.
But until there is a shake up of the education system we'll continue to grow up apologising for our past, including the South African Holocaust, without being aware of the benefits we brought.
As Reg from the People's Front of Judea might have said: "All right… all right… but apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order… what have the British done for us?"

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#2 Andy

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 07:50 PM

The (British) Empire strikes back

By Jonathan Duffy
BBC News Online Magazine
Posted Image Posted Image
It lived for centuries, covered a quarter of the world's landmass and radically shaped modern-day Britain, yet schools have tended to sidestep the thorny history of the British Empire. Now, slowly, that's changing.

The British Empire and Commonwealth Museum, like the very institution it was set up to commemorate, did not happen without a fight.
Katherine Hann, one of the museum's founders, recalls the hostility she encountered when trying to whip up enthusiasm for the project in the mid 1990s.
"Empire was a dirty word. You almost felt you were going to be spat at when you mentioned it in polite company," she says. "We couldn't get any government funding in those days. It was politically incorrect to talk about empire."


Yet the prevailing climate changed and today the museum is a reality, chronicling Britain's imperial history from John Cabot's first foray across the Atlantic in 1497 (where he discovered Newfoundland) to the handing back of Hong Kong to China 500 years later.

For many children though, a trip to the museum will be one of the few chances they have to learn about this vast tract of British history.
The word "empire" still does not issue easily from all lips. A parliamentary report into the honours system, published on Tuesday, calls the word, which figures in the OBE (Officer of the Order of British Empire), "anachronistic" and "insensitive".



For decades school teachers have shied away from tackling this unfashionable subject head-on, fearing stories of British power and oppression will stir up racial tensions in the playground.
But that is starting to change.


A small but growing number of classrooms are starting to fizz with tales of the British Raj, the Irish potato famine and Dr Livingstone's exploits in Africa.


The issue remains highly contentious, but supporters sense the balance is shifting in their favour.

Ofsted, which monitors school standards in England, has renewed its call for more teaching of the history of British Empire, believing it has been neglected in favour of subjects such as World War II.

The Prince of Wales has also joined the debate and found a supportive voice in TV academic Niall Ferguson, who wants the empire to become the central organising theme of history lessons in secondary school.
Posted Image
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60% of Britons take pride in the empire
Yet most do not think it should have a 'large' place in the history curriculum
Almost half confess to 'not knowing much' about the empire
Source: Yougov, Aug 2003


Black British historian Steve Martin welcomes the idea of teaching children about the empire. But all too often it is told only from the "white perspective", he says.
"I remember being taught this at school in the 70s and there was no criticism of the British and no attempt to understand the experiences of those they conquered," says Mr Martin.


Katherine Hann says the most difficult scenario is when there's a class dominated by white children, with just one or two pupils from other ethnic backgrounds.
"Teachers are concerned that in these situations, the white children could use it as a way of intimidating the few black pupils."


Michael Riley, co-author of a new text book called The Impact of Empire, written for children aged 11 to 14, says one of the main obstacles to teaching the history of the empire is giving coherence to such a complex and vast subject.
And, it's no longer good enough to tell just one side of the story.
So, for example, children using his book are asked to consider the reputation of Lord Clive, whose warrior efforts helped conquer India.



In another chapter, pupils are asked to write a letter to Lord Mountbatten (the last viceroy of India) asking him to grant independence.
Mr Riley's book has been selling well and while teachers may be cautious about wading into these troublesome waters, children, he says, really enjoy the topic.
"We finish the book asking pupils to consider whether the empire was a good thing or a bad thing. It's deliberately a non-question, one that can't be answered because there are so many different viewpoints."
Nevertheless, it seems to be a question that teachers will increasingly have to grapple with.


Add your comments to this story using the form below:
As long as the subject is taught without bias, it is surely of benefit to the pupils. There is much to be proud of in our history and much to be ashamed of. But all of it must be taught so that today's pupils can draw their own conclusions
Robert Barr, Scotland


About time too! Rather than concentrate on "slavery & oppression" we should be reminded that the British were the first civilisation to ban slavery and actively hunt down and hang slavers. We turned a dozen or so princedoms into the largest democracy on earth (India) and laid down the basis for half the world's legal systems.
Peter, Nottingham, UK


There should be nothing wrong with telling the history of the British Empire as long as it provides an un-biased view of the good, bad and the ugly. In the US, history is not given its proper context in schools and subjects that do not fit the politicaly correct norm are not discussed or glossed over.
Peter Harper, United States


The British Empire has a lasting legacy. The impact of colonisation can still be seen throughout Africa and India. I think our children should learn about the British influence that has shaped many countries, and the good and bad consequences of our history.
Becky Hughes, England


How can we estblish the value, or otherwise, of the Empire? Possibly we should compare results. Compare Malaysia to Indonesia, Australia to Argentina, Hong Kong to China. I would suggest the legacy is positive.
BF, UK


As with all history the subject should be taught in an objective and detached manner. The British Empire was a significant period, not just in the history of Britain, but the world. Debating the pros and cons in the context of modern values is wrong. There is no doubt that today our attitudes and approaches are different but it does not give us the right to judge our fore fathers.
Gary Aldam, UK


When I was doing my O-levels in Aden in the 1950s, we were taught the history of the British Empire. I was surprised to discover pupils in Britain didn't have to learn it, but were taught ancient history or something similar.
CK Yoe, UK


Yes we should be proud of the empire. It has inculcated a great respect for the idea of fair play across large parts of the globe. Compared with the other major European empires it was tolerant and inclusive. Not the least, Britain deserves credit for largely dismantling it without violence.
Robert Wiener, New Zealand

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#3 Steven

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 08:50 PM

The 'British Empire' was a money-making venture and was controlled by a tiny elite in London. The beneficiaries were not limited to the wealthy mercantile class either, some of the new middle class had a stake, the upper class and the aristocracy an even bigger stake and, royalty had the cream. All those involved would total less than 1 per cent of the population. The exploitation of other races (the Slave Trade) was driven by profit and not racism - the word wasn't even invented until the 20th century. The peasants (working class) had fuck all to do with the who, the how or the what of Empire and most couldn't even read about it because they were illiterate. Since the vast majority of us are descended from peasants I don't see how they can blame us for Empire (which ended anyway before many of us were born, ditto slavery).

At school in the early 70's I was taught Empire history, good and bad because we had balanced teaching in the days before the Marxists took over the school curriculum. Fortunately, in the late 60's, I'd been taught England's history and we spent an entire term on the lives of the common folk - including visits to farms. I don't except any shit from those who peddle 'empire guilt'. I know my roots and they ain't tarnished with exploitation on the part of my ancestors, quite the opposite in fact: WE WERE EXPLOITED BY THE NORMANS WHO BECAME THE BRITISH.

Steve
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PARLIAMENT IS THE ENEMY OF THE ENGLISC NATION


Posted Image


The English, insofar as they recognise their origin, identity and cultural roots, are not 'Westerners', but an ancient northern people - Rev. John Lovejoy

hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare þe ure mægen lytlað


#4 Teutoburg Weald

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 09:43 PM

The Empire, ah yes the Empire, "On which the sun never sets!"

Lets look at the Empires long term affect on England now shall we. Well have a good look around you, what do you see?? Well, you see the long term affects and influences on England, and it ain't good at all is it, it hasn't really had any great long term affects and influences on England or us, but you can plainly see the rather ill long term affects and influences on us can't you..

In the Long term, it hasn't done us any good at all, we are suffering those sick long term affects and influences now, every where you go, you see the sick long term affects on us, its screwed us up, and we are still being kicked in the teeth by the world even now, now we are a fourth rate Banna Republic, poor, weak, governed by degenerate Socialist Quislings, and being swamped by Turd World Invaders from the ex-Empire, and on top of all that we are in the process of being Ethnically Cleansed, that is the Long Term affect and influence of the Empire...

Have i missed anything out????Posted Image

The Glory Days are over, fuck the Empire, now lets move on and get England back, before the affects of that stinking Empire screw us up once and for all!!Posted Image the Empire!

P.S. We had no stake in it, only the Elite, so why should we give a fuck about whether it was good or bad, or whether its remembered or not?

Answers on a stamp please!!Posted Image
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#5 Dan of Biggleswade

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 09:26 AM

The 'British Empire' was a money-making venture and was controlled by a tiny elite in London. The beneficiaries were not limited to the wealthy mercantile class either, some of the new middle class had a stake, the upper class and the aristocracy an even bigger stake and, royalty had the cream. All those involved would total less than 1 per cent of the population. The exploitation of other races (the Slave Trade) was driven by profit and not racism - the word wasn't even invented until the 20th century. The peasants (working class) had fuck all to do with the who, the how or the what of Empire and most couldn't even read about it because they were illiterate. Since the vast majority of us are descended from peasants I don't see how they can blame us for Empire (which ended anyway before many of us were born, ditto slavery).

At school in the early 70's I was taught Empire history, good and bad because we had balanced teaching in the days before the Marxists took over the school curriculum. Fortunately, in the late 60's, I'd been taught England's history and we spent an entire term on the lives of the common folk - including visits to farms. I don't except any shit from those who peddle 'empire guilt'. I know my roots and they ain't tarnished with exploitation on the part of my ancestors, quite the opposite in fact: WE WERE EXPLOITED BY THE NORMANS WHO BECAME THE BRITISH.

Steve


YES!! Someone else that sees the light Posted Image

I'll admit, as a young boy all i wanted to learn about of our history was the British Empire, with the attraction of hero types like Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington, i wanted to learn nothing else but how 'we' kicked everyone else's arse in war! Now i am older, and a bit more educated, i see it as nothing but one big tea party for the rich and those who have been extorting and abusing us since we, the English, lost control of our own shores. Nonetheless, we did a fantastic job! One that could not have been done better than by any other people.

Remember, the Normans are still here! Our 'leaders' may not be fully aware of their Norman past but they continue their work of exploiting the English and using us and our land for their gain.

Down with the Norman Bastards!!
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"Thought must be the harder, heart the keener
Spirit shall be more - as our might lessens.
There lies our chief all cut down,
Good man on the ground; for ever may he grieve
Who now from this war-play thinketh to go.
...... hence I will not,
But by the side of mine own lord,
By my chief so loved, I think to lie."

#6 Searu man

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 07:47 PM

"Black British historian Steve Martin welcomes the idea of teaching children about the empire. But all too often it is told only from the "white perspective", he says.
"I remember being taught this at school in the 70s and there was no criticism of the British and no attempt to understand the experiences of those they conquered," says Mr Martin
.
"

Shouldn't that be WE, Mr. Martin? After all, you're "British", aren't you? Don't recall the Olympic opening smugfest showing BME Imperialists oppressing poor foreign natives....strange that, they seemed to be involved in everything else!
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#7 Searu man

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 08:22 PM

While were at it, why can't the kids be taught about the genocides of the Mongol Empires, the oppression of Indians by the Mughal Empire (sorry I forgot, they were from the "religion of peace"); or the great epics of Indian history/legend explaining how their ancestors wiped out a thriving civilisation; the wonderful slave-raiding and aggressive Ottoman Empire (Sorry, I forgot again, "religion of peace etc....) the violent expansion of the Bantu peoples across Africa, including those lovely chaps the Zulus; the charming and quaint Aztecs, swimming in blood sacrifices; the slave-built wonders of the world in Egypt; the Assyrians coming down "like a wolf on the fold" (still doing that, it seems!)
Or indeed, let’s talk about white imperialists who oppressed the natives by educating them, curing terrible diseases, stopping them killing and enslaving each other, giving them railways, civil institutions, and a democratic legacy (which many have spurned and regressed to tyranny, tribalism, witchcraft and civil war).

Yes, the British could have stayed longer in some of these countries to ensure an even better legacy, but then again they weren’t wanted; the independent countries would be better off on their own…apparently!

As for post colonial guilt…forget it! We weren’t involved in any decision making in Empire building (or dismantling). We paid for it with our blood, and now with our homeland. I am no more responsible for any oppression, than some peasant in Ulan Bator is responsible for Genghis Khan’s mountains of skulls. Surely the current inhabitants of the West African countries are descended from those who SOLD the damned slaves!
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#8 Teutoburg Weald

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 09:07 PM

Oh yes, that's telling the Liberal/Left Apologists the real facts of Black and brown, and yellow, and red histories, but, wait a moment, those peoples are not and were not white, so therefore couldn't have committed such atrocities my good man, these peoples have done nothing in this world but be pushed around by a greedy and aggressive White Imperalist Race, of which the nasty English were the natural leaders.....

Of course, they could be wrong???Posted Image
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10489833_664318090328376_188312911168407

 

æsctír here sum ándaga wulfséaþas brecðan scildweallas

 

Lo  þær drohtoþ ic lóc min fæder, Lo þær drohtoþ ic lóc min módor, ond min gesweostor ond min gebródor. Lo þær drohtoþ ic lóc séo lang of min Angelfolc. Lo hig drohtoþ gecégan æt mé ond bid mé bryidan min bæcern ámang  þæge rice wiusæl of valhalla bæcern þæt mðdhwæt magan búan widan.

 

E.L.A.M.O