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UK News As Jeremy Corbyn proposes an inquiry into our colonial past, PROFESSOR ROBERT TOMBS fears it's a skewed gimmick and implores Britons to strike back for the truth about the Empire!

11:41  20 november  2019
11:41  20 november  2019 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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As Jeremy Corbyn proposes an inquiry into our colonial past , PROFESSOR ROBERT TOMBS fears it ' s a skewed gimmick and implores Britons to When you travel to the Empire 's former territories, such as India, Canada or Australia, people there often see it as far less negative than the

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a man wearing a suit and tie: Jeremy Corbyn (pictured) has suggested that Britain should consider paying reparations to its former colonies © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Jeremy Corbyn (pictured) has suggested that Britain should consider paying reparations to its former colonies

Some years ago, I met a London schoolgirl of East African and Asian heritage. She told me she didn't feel that she or her family were part of 'British' history.

I tried to explain that, in fact, they were living representatives of one of its major themes. That theme, of course, was imperialism — and the British Empire of which we are all, regardless of our race, descendants.

It was a shame that this girl had never been shown how intimately wound up her ancestry was in British history — but such unfortunate ignorance is all too prevalent in British schools and universities nowadays.

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JEREMY CORBYN will launch a review of British colonialism and its legacy if he is elected prime minister, in an election pledge that could have wide ramifications. The new policy takes this pledge further and would for the first time create a much broader review of Britain’ s colonial past .

It ' s mainly about the strange, sad moral and intellectual collapse of Labour moderates".[28]. The bill would require higher strike voting thresholds (40% of members of a union in protected sectors like during the 1984–5 miners' strike , calling for an inquiry into the Battle of Orgreave.[79] Corbyn is in

That is what makes Labour's planned inquiry into the history of the British Empire — reported in yesterday's Mail — all the more concerning. For as recently as this year, Jeremy Corbyn has suggested that Britain should consider paying reparations to its former colonies.

The Labour leader has further demanded that children in British schools be taught about the 'grave injustices' of an Empire that historian Niall Ferguson argued 'made the modern world'.

Corbyn's scheme, designed to play well to his hard-Left base, is intended to make ever more apologies for our former Empire. But let us leave aside the transparent political gimmickry, and treat the proposed inquiry seriously.

Oppressive

On the face of it, learning more about one of the most important historical phenomena of modern times, about which most people are woefully ignorant apart from a few clichés and images from TV dramas, is much-needed.

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It was opposed by all Scottish National party MPs, the Lib Dems and Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn , a And I have to say to the honourable gentleman the whole point of a deterrent is that our enemies need to Corbyn , the Labour leader, responded to May by making the case for nuclear disarmament

Jeremy Corbyn is poised to pledge an inquiry into the country' s imperial history. Nigel Farage has told people to stop apologising for Britain' s colonial past because 'obsessing' about events 300 A poll in 2016 found that only 21 per cent of Britons regretted their country' s colonial past , while 44 per

If that is what Corbyn were genuinely proposing, I would cheer it. Yet his own statements on the matter show that is not what he intends.

He and many of those who share his political persuasions approach the Empire instead from the reflexive position that it was straightforwardly evil.

The truth is much more complicated — and more interesting. The British Empire did much to make our country what it is today and greatly impacted the wider world.

Jeremy Corbyn et al. standing in front of a crowd posing for the camera: The Labour leader has further demanded that children in British schools be taught about the 'grave injustices' of an Empire that historian Niall Ferguson argued 'made the modern world' © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The Labour leader has further demanded that children in British schools be taught about the 'grave injustices' of an Empire that historian Niall Ferguson argued 'made the modern world'

When you travel to the Empire's former territories, such as India, Canada or Australia, people there often see it as far less negative than the British do.

It is true that the Empire ruled millions of people, usually without their consent. And if you think all rule by foreigners is 'oppression', then the Empire was oppressive.

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It ’ s about the fact that they — too many of them — don’t actually know their history. But Corbyn is not the only one to take issue with Britain’s history curriculum. Leading historians have called for an unvarnished approach to teaching about the country’s past .

In new talk of a war against terror with no frontline, the legacy of empire in north Africa and its impact on the French Muslim community is ever present.

But how much should we sympathise with those Zulu elders in South Africa who lamented in 1900 that under British rule they had 'practically lost control over their girls and women'?

British officers of the Empire also worked hard to end female infanticide, genital mutilation, widow-burning, cannibalism, head-hunting, tribal warfare, witchcraft and human sacrifice. Was it oppressive to ban these appalling practices?

The Empire is blamed for famines but rarely credited with raising living standards, or for the great cities it built, such as Calcutta, Sydney and Hong Kong.

And a serious analysis of the Empire's economics shows that Britain probably gained little or nothing overall from all those centuries of rule. However, the countries that comprised the Empire often gained a lot: defence, law and order, cheap credit, low taxes, technology, communications and profitable markets.

The biggest gainers were Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and the Gold Coast (now Ghana).

The world of the 18th and 19th centuries was in a frequent state of chaos. A civilised power — Great Britain — that provided law and order was welcomed by many.

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The Britons , also known as Celtic Britons or Ancient Britons , were Celtic people who inhabited Great Britain from at least the British Iron Age into the Middle Ages

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This is shown by the fact that so few people were needed to govern it.

Turbulent

In 1903, the Civil Service's entire Colonial Office in London had just 113 clerks. Imperial rule would have been impossible without the co-operation of its subjects.

That is why from its earliest origins in the 16th century, to its apex in the late 19th when, as the popular saying had it, 'the sun never set' on it, the Empire was a source of pride to patriotic Britons.

Of course, it depended finally on force, and it ruled many turbulent regions. But it used fewer soldiers than the states that replaced it, such as modern India and Pakistan.

If Labour's future inquiry is to judge fairly, it ought to consider the lives saved by the Empire — not just those lost.

It is true that, at times, the Empire was ineffective and destructive. It is easy to pick out acts of violence — and even sickening atrocities — in its history. That is true of every state or empire.

Look, for example, at America. Few people know today that a major cause of the American War of Independence against Britain, which led to the founding of the United States, was our attempt to protect Native American lands from white settlement.

Americans today also rarely mention that indigenous peoples and slaves overwhelmingly fought on the British side.

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Meanwhile, Woolf feared she would never finish The Pargiters. Alternating between types of prose was proving cumbersome, and the book was (Here surfaced for the first time in writing a memory of the teenage Gerald Duckworth, her other half brother, touching her inappropriately when she was a girl of

George Monbiot: New evidence of British colonial atrocities has not changed our national ability to disregard it .

Those who claim that the 'bad' aspects of the British Empire outweigh the 'good' make other assumptions.

For example, they argue that India, war-torn and divided when the British began to take over in the 18th century, would have created a peaceful, stable system. Maybe so, maybe not.

Would Australia have been an Eden without Captain Cook, the first European to chart its coast in 1770?

We cannot know — except that, if he had not done so first, some other European power would have taken over instead. It is perhaps just as likely that Australia would have become a free-for-all for gun-runners, rum-traders, gold-diggers and slavers, which is what nearly happened to New Zealand, and also Fiji (one of quite a number of countries that actually asked to join the Empire).

Of all the accusations against the Empire, slavery is the most notorious. Most states in the world were involved in slavery, and British traders were the biggest shippers of slaves in the 18th century.

I have even heard a prominent Left-wing intellectual claim that all Britain's wealth was built on slave labour.

This is absurd. It is true that Britain profited from slavery. But our ancestors were also the most energetic opponents of that evil trade.

Ridiculous

Britain did more than any other country to stop slavery, using its vast naval power to police the African coast, and later using diplomacy to suppress slavery in Africa, the Muslim world and the Pacific.

If reparations are to be paid for slavery, as Corbyn wishes, who should receive them? Descendants of slaves, many living in Britain, who are better off than the people of Africa? The issue becomes ridiculous. We should give aid to those in need, and we do. But bogus reparations would poison that relationship.

There is no chance that Labour's proposed inquiry would fairly explore any of these issues and help us as a country to understand and celebrate the diversity we enjoy thanks to imperialism.

The verdicts of history depend on who sits on the jury. I fear that this one would be packed with the most unimpartial jurors.

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