Should London apologise for colonialism?
On the occasion of the Commonwealth Meeting currently taking place in London British Labour MP Emily Thornberry has called on Britain to apologise for the suffering it caused in its former colonies. Not all commentators agree with this view of the country's past.
British brought wealth and democracy to colonies
Britain's impact in the regions of the world it dominated was entirely positive, The Times comments:
“The British Empire gave the citizens of Commonwealth countries law and order, democracy, honest government and free trade. It suppressed slavery, internal warfare and a plethora of barbaric practices. The British Empire gave its citizens the opportunity to travel and trade. It gave them education and employment. It promoted freedom of speech, freedom of religion and equality before the law. ... Rarely, if ever, do historians acknowledge that western civilisation has done more than any other to relieve the plight of the poor and oppressed.”
Africa still under British control
The nations in question still suffer from the consequences of British colonial rule, The Guardian counters:
“Take Britain's relationship with the African continent, for example. At present, British companies control more than 1 trillion worth of Africa's key resources: gold, diamonds, gas and oil, and an area of land roughly four times the size of the UK. ... In the Caribbean 14 nations - including a good number of Commonwealth members - are attempting to sue the British government for reparations for four centuries of slavery, and Britain is using jurisdiction issues arising from the Commonwealth to block the claim.”