Opinion

Reparations for Empire? Let’s ask instead who wrecked Britain

The left argue that Britain should pay reparations for colonial rule around the world. The latest reparation claim is that we committed atrocious crimes in our colonisation by bringing starvation and genocide in our wake so, goes the argument, we should be paying for that past by opening our doors to the millions of migrants that demand citizenship.

In yesterday’s Telegraph there is a video of a Sudanese man who claims as much. I have spoken to many Sudanese in Calais, all of whom told me they were economic migrants, not asylum seekers nor claiming reparation rights. Odd that this chap should now be claiming that he has reparation rights.

Yes – some of our colonial rule was not what one would expect from a modern day democracy. But we are talking about a very different age, a very different type of democracy, and dammit man, women didn’t even have the vote, although we were ruled by a woman on the throne in England.

As one wit said to me on twitter last night, ‘Immigrants are consequence of centuries of colonial exploitation now sustained via invisible chains of debt’. Really?

We gave them our form of democracy that existed back then, our railroads, our road building, our rule of law, culture and language, all of which serves our former colonies quite well today. What they chose to do with that legacy is no fault of ours. Is it our fault that India still has a caste system whilst presiding over a space programme, aided by the UK?

Is it Britain’s fault that Pakistan is now beset with terrorism and illiteracy, to name but a few problems, whilst Britain still gives aid?

Is it Britain’s fault that the Middle East became wealthy from oil exploration aided by us? Yes, our modern day terrorism problems were exacerbated by the Blair/US invasions but we have paid the price in 9/11, 7/7 and the hundreds of British military personnel lost in conflict.

Is it our fault that South Africa and Zimbabwe are squandering their vast natural wealth in minerals or is it corrupt governments incapable of educating and providing jobs for their own?

A few successful colonies do spring to mind: Australia, New Zealand, US, Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong, et al, (it’s a long list).

Looking at it another way, what happened to that Britain? Let’s remember what we were. A Britain able to defend its borders; a Britain trading with the world without an EU Eurocrat in charge; a nation that gave our version of the rule of law which is now undermined by the European Court of Human Rights and its Ministry of (in)Justice; a proud seafaring nation now diminished – militarily and because of fishing quotas; a Britain that took on Napoleon and Hitler (although 200 years on from Waterloo we are having to be apologists for our part, with the BBC ignoring the British victory, venerating Napoleon instead).

Perhaps the message to the migrants should be this: ‘come, we are a shadow of the nation that we used to be’. Brought down by middle class, left wing academics who now dictate how we should run our country, the professionally outraged, those that would tear down our successful financial services industry, those that would impose an outdated and failed comprehensive education system on our children, those that would open our borders to every poor economic migrant soul on the planet because they would like to crush our British way of life, those that would be happy to see the lights go out because they think we are melting the planet with fossil fuels or just breathing, and the usual angry taxpayer-funded lobby and ‘charitable’ groups that preach their own version of hate and vitriol.

That’s why I am in politics, to stop these people succeeding and to stand up for Britain – its past, its present and its future.

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