In Defence of the British Empire, BBC Broadcast (2011), by Sean Gabb

On the 6th April 2011, James Kirkup wrote this about Sean Gabb in The Daily Telegraph: 

Sean Gabb, of the campaign group Libertarian Alliance, said Mr Cameron should not apologise for Britain’s past.

He said: “It’s a valid historical point that some problems stem from British foreign policy in the 19th and 20th centuries, but should we feel guilty about that? I fail to see why we should.

“Some of these problems came about because these countries decided they did not want to be part of the British Empire. They wanted independence. They got it. They should sort out their problems instead of looking to us.” (James Kirkup, "David Cameron: Britain caused many of the world's problems", The Daily Telegraph, London, 6th April 2011)

This is what induced BBC Radio Three Counties to set up the above media appearance.

The sentences quoted are a ruthless summary of a very long conversation. However, Mr Kirkup called because of this essay published in 2010:

In Defence of the British Empire, Sean Gabb, 3rd August 2010

© 2011 – 2017, seangabb.

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2 thoughts on “In Defence of the British Empire, BBC Broadcast (2011), by Sean Gabb

  1. seangabb Post author
    Dear Sean,
    You may quote me if you wish.
    I worked for government in Nigeria (Kaduna) for 2 years working towards independence.  I had a black lady typist, Christian.  One day, spontaneously, she said, "Before the British took over, my family could never go to sleep secure in the knowledge that they would not be enslaved, roof burned."
    The empire has bad moments (opium grown in  Bengal, sold in China) but for its last 50 eyars, a quarter of the world had pax britannica. There was nothing spectacular, just day to day improvement of roads, railways, ports,  agriculture, schools, libraries, police, – "government". With the population explosion (Nigeria from 25m to  150m) I do not know how much longer it could have held but as then…. for the first time millions of ordinary people had a fair crack at life.
    Think of S. Rhodesia and now Zimbabwe!
    In Nigeria before independence I treated Nigerians as equals. After independence I lived there another two years as a wife and mother, but the locals were then cock-a-hoop, a sense of not being my equals but ? better. It was very unpleasant.  But… people wanting a prescription from a hospital then had to pay dash (tip), unlike before independence. And money was given to territories "with no strings attached" and what did Nigeria spend it on?  A big arch over the rod to Lagos airport!   The ordinary people would have been far better off if  Nigeria had still been a colony!  The emphasis changes from governmetn to power/status/money.
    We are told  we are trying to put democracy into Afghanistan, Libya. What a joke. We do not have democracy right here.  Governmetn is at odds with a majority of us in all the big questions, national independence, finance, education, etc.
    We used to be the workshop of the world, exports. We now have imports and instead of factories we have leisure buildings, football stadia, leisure centres, theme parks!
    As TV gets ever more wonderful technically, more days pass with nothing to watch except repeats.
    I email Gove and it is AUTOMATICALLY  diverted to the DoE and I get a soothing, reply of spin from Runcorn!
    They were truly the good old days!
  2. Gary Sunbeam

    Dear Mr "Foot-in-Mouth" Gabb, Director of the 'Libertarian Alliance',

    Following the news report of your point-of-view in today's Daily Telegraph front page, bulling the British Empire, U certainly lack a gift for the gab, being on the record relaxed about all three Opium wars fought by the British against the Chinese in which we successfully forced the Chinese to legalize the import of British Empire opium whilst it remained an illegal drug in the British Empire. You did it in a national newspaper which will be scanned by the Chinese Embassy, many Chinese banks' Public Relations sections, many rich Chinese, and many Chinese students. I wouldn't like to be you, for the rest of time, Dr Sean Gabb.

    The editor of the Daily Telegraph and its owners, the Barclay Brothers in the off-shore tax haven of Brecqou, are far more to blame than you; for they needn't have published your silly letter, since the leaders of political parties are well-known for their lack of sense.  I humbly suggest to you that you successfully pull your feet out of your mouth, either by surgery, main force, or therapy, and write a grovelling apology to as many Chinese banks, businesses, politicians, newspapers, Chinese university student unions and rich Chinese individuals as you have the brains to find….soonest.

    In deepest sorrow for British creation of the opium trade with China, and for your crass stupidity, arrogance and bombast, I fee you £10,000 sterling to sort code 20-26-20 a/c 83851842. May nothing go bump in the night, near you, ever. May your car's brakes never fail, may the aeroplane that you're on be never hijacked, may you never be divorced, may you never be in a fight with an Irishman.

    On the other hand, it's entirely likely that you were massively misquoted by the Daily Telegraph, that you massively regret the Opium Wars, and that you'll start a class-action suit with the above Chinese against the Daily Telegraph, its Editor, and its owners. Whatever.

    From myself and from Gary Sunbeam Public Relations, I'm Yours Truly, Gary Sunbeam @ yr service; @ 40 Dartmouth Road, Chorlton, Manchester,  M21 8XJ, UK. ☏: (44) 0161 881 2716 . email: . 

    PSI am the author of the by-no-means-rubbish web cookbook . I bid you tonotice it for nourishment….which you are going to need a lot of, bigtime; soon and always.