In Defence of the British Empire (2015), by Sean Gabb

On Thursday the 19th February 2015, Sean Gabb and Keir Martland, both members of the Libertarian Alliance Executive Committee, spoke at a debate organised by the Manchester University Student Union on whether the legacy of the British Empire should be regretted. Both spoke against the motion.

Sean Gabb, starting ten minutes into the recording, said that empires are a regrettable fact of history. The British Empire was not the first or last, and not at all the worst. Rather than condemned for its faults, which were common to all empires, it should be praised for its virtues, which were unique to our own country.

Keir Martland elaborated on the virtues of the British Empire – the suppression of the slave trade and slavery, the suppression of banditry and piracy, the spread of English law and science and the English language to formerly benighted regions of the world.

Their speeches were not always well-received by the audience, but were not greatly disrupted. Sean did his usual impersonation of a Soviet tank, not stopping even when someone began to shout obscenities. Top marks to Keir, who was brought in at the last moment for his first public debate, and who was steady under enemy fire. A fine debut.

Here is a recording of the event, though Daniel Harding may wish to play with the file or move it to another location. The recording was made on Sean’s Samsung Galaxy SII mobile telephone.

© 2015 – 2017, seangabb.

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Sean

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