Fri | Jun 18, 2021

Britain must never be ashamed of the empire

Published:Sunday | July 26, 2015 | 12:00 AM


Britons in Jamaica, who will be here when we celebrate emancipation and Independence, are going to be in for the regular treat about how they created an 'evil' empire that subjugated much of the world. No doubt, some of us will do the usual and make those Britons among us feel ashamed of their past.

The British have nothing to be ashamed of. Indeed, Britain should be very proud of its imperial past. She created the world's largest empire in all of history. Great Britain dominated the globe for all of the 19th century and the first few decades of the previous one. Indeed, many countries, including nations that are not former colonies, owe the British a lot.

The legal system of most of the western world is modelled on the British system. Throughout the former empire and beyond, many countries use the British system of government - to varying degrees. The empire is largely responsible for integrating many countries under a common language and culture. Britain gave the world the Industrial Revolution. What is so wrong with that?


nonsensical arguments


Remember World War Two? When the Axis powers were on the verge of conquering the world, it was British might that stopped them. In 1940, Great Britain refused to surrender, insisting instead on stopping fascism and Nazism. She stood alone, while the United States was too scared to fight, the Soviet Union was actively helping the Axis powers, and France was conquered. Imagine what the world would be like today had the British turned tail and run in 1940.

Some will try to shame the British into admitting that its empire was built on the so-called sins of slavery and imperial conquest. I urge the British not to be cowed by these nonsensical arguments. Most of those who make this claim have ancestors who were doing the same thing. Africans, Asians and many Native American peoples all built their empires - and nobody seemed to have any problem with them. These 'anti-British' yahoos must stop picking on the British.

I am here to tell the people of Great Britain that they have nothing to be ashamed of. Like all other empire builders of the past, the British did nothing wrong. Empire-building is not an automatic evil. Indeed, many of those who are trying to call down shame on Britain for the empire are simply doing so out of a sense of jealousy.

Don't be ashamed of your past, Britain, be proud of it.

Michael A. Dingwall