Whenever Gordon Brown rears his not-available-for-interview head for 10 minutes before going off to earn ludicrous amounts of money again, I’m always reminded of this…
“We should celebrate much of our past rather than apologise for it.
“And we should talk, and rightly so, about British values that are enduring, because they stand for some of the greatest ideas in history: tolerance, liberty, civic duty, that grew in Britain and influenced the rest of the world.
“Our strong traditions of fair play, of openness, of internationalism, these are great British values.”
The thing that always bothered me about this speech is that I can’t remember Britain ever doing much apologising in the first place (link goes to a regret, not an apology). Certainly they didn’t feel as much of an apology was necessary as to pay reparations.
However, I noticed Brown was careful to say “much” of our past and fair play to him at least for that, but I don’t think a couple of wreaths and a few speeches can really paper over the mass graves.
Would an empire with much to be proud of have taken such care as to do all this?…
The full extent of the destruction of Britain’s colonial government records during the retreat from empire was disclosed on Thursday with the declassification of a small part of the Foreign Office’s vast secret archive.
Fifty-year-old documents that have finally been transferred to the National Archive show that bonfires were built behind diplomatic missions across the globe as the purge – codenamed Operation Legacy – accompanied the handover of each colony.
The declassified documents include copies of an instruction issued in 1961 by Iain Macleod, colonial secretary, that post-independence governments should not be handed any material that “might embarrass Her Majesty’s [the] government”, that could “embarrass members of the police, military forces, public servants or others eg police informers”, that might betray intelligence sources, or that might “be used unethically by ministers in the successor government”.
In Northern Rhodesia, colonial officials were issued with further orders to destroy “all papers which are likely to be interpreted, either reasonably or by malice, as indicating racial prejudice or religious bias on the part of Her Majesty’s government”.
I cannot recommend strongly enough that you read the whole of that article.
I suppose at this point I have to say that yes, the Scots were complicit in a lot of this. It is true, and I see nothing but cause for shame in that, and in fact it is one of the reasons I want out of the UK. I don’t want Scotland to be part of anything similar in the future (or the present).
I won’t say anything more on the Brown pension speech as plenty of other articles have taken it apart well enough. I just wanted to show that, for good or bad according to your own opinion, Gordon Brown’s British Nationalism™ goes very far indeed.
In case you were wondering how far, here’s a map of all those countries NOT invaded by the UK. They’re the ones in white.