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Michael McGowan

Never underestimate the Stockholm Syndrome which has long-afflicted the UK's opinion-forming classes.

Peter Hatchet

Very well said Joseph.

The BBC have acted disgracefully, as usual.

They are completely obsessed with multicuturalism, particularly race politics and seem to have an inate hostility towards conservative attitudes towards such issues. They seem to think attacking anything historically British is the way to endere ethnic minorities towards modern Britain. Robin Aitken confirms as much in his book.

Clearly they thought the best way to address the 200th anniversary of the Slave Trade was to focus on the evils, inhumanity and culpability of Britain for the trade itself - rather than the positives of what came out of it. They are STILL posting headline articles on reparations/apologies/guilt etc. on their website today.

The only decent BBC programme to address the issue was "Moral Maze" on Radio 4 last week (presented by Michael Buerk) where the excellent Melannie Phillips totally obliterated the other panel members arguments for apologies and reparations. She gave a very good defence of the positive role Britain paid in defeating Slavery after the 1807 act had passed.


This is utterly ludicrous. No one alive in Britain or the US today is guilty of slave trade and no one alive today living in Britain or the US is a victim of slave trade unless they have recently migrated from a third world country that still practices slavery in which they were either a slave or slave trader. How come no one is demanding apologies or reparations from those countries? Slavery has been long gone in Western society for many years now and it's high time the self loathing and self pity ended. Dwelling on something that happened hundreds of years ago at the hands of people who are long dead and gone accomplishes nothing. We are responsible for our own actions. We, today, are not guilty; therefore, we owe nothing. It's also important to note that Africans are not the only people on the planet to have ever endured slavery. It's happened to people of many different races, including white people, throughout ancient history. Bottom line is it's time to get over it and move on.


The Royal Navy's use in the Wars Against the Slave Trade would be considered illegal under International Law today.

Which is just one of the reasons that I consider International Law illegitimate and not worthy of any respect whatsoever.

Peter Hatchet

Denise: "No one alive in Britain or the US today is guilty of slave trade and no one alive today living in Britain or the US is a victim of slave trade unless they have recently migrated from a third world country that still practices slavery in which they were either a slave or slave trader. How come no one is demanding apologies or reparations from those countries?"

Because they want some money.

We're rich, they're poor - hence the lack of interest.


The Archbishop of York has quite rightly asked those people criticizing Great Britain for the slave trade to address their ire to the African chiefs who sold their kith & kin for trinkets. These same Africans had been selling slaves to the Arabs for centuries, and it still goes on in Africa.
A few points to bear in mind:

1) The slaves sold to us in Africa were often captured tribal enemies who faced death unless they could be sold into slavery. Had they not been sold to us, they would probably have been killed or sold to the Arabs. Generally speaking, negro slaves in the Middle East were castrated - ours were not. On balance, therefore, we were doing the slaves a favour by buying them.
Thus our slaves have plenty of descendants in the Americas. However, in the Middle East, where more were sold over the last three thousand years, there are very few descendants .

2) There is nothing in the bible about slavery. Christ knew about it because slavery was part of the social system in the ancient world. He didn't apparently condemn it, which he would have done if it was so offensive to God.

3) George Washington owned 3000 slaves. Most slaves were well looked after by their owners because they were assets, and performed valuable tasks to keep the owner in business.
It was not in the owners' interests to treat his slaves badly.

4) The notion of human rights has been invented by man and they are of recent origin. Slavery is/was a political and economic condition, and arguably many slaves were better off as slaves than killed or left to starve. When our notions of "human rights" started to develop in the 17th century, it is remarkable that in just over a 100 years, Great Britain abolished the trade and enforced it through naval supremacy. The descendants of slaves should be praising this country and William Wilberforce. In so many ways, in so many countries, the Empire was a force for justice and liberty. We outlawed heathen practices where we could ( including thuggee and suttee in India), and at independence bequeathed all our colonies a civilised order of parliamentary government, an independent judiciary, an incorrupt civil service, an efficient local administration, a healthy economy, and peace through the rule of law. Never in the history of man has an Empire been so benign and paternalistic, and yet so misrepresented.

It is a tragedy that independence, particularly in Africa, has resulted in most of our colonies there reverting to the pre-imperial savage world of war, starvation and slavery - this is what the chattering classes and anti-slavery nutters should be focussing on.

Are these "inconvenient truths"? I believe they are.


Ref mine above - there is a typo - George Washington had 300 slaves not 3000 slaves


Slavery under Jewish law was generally for a maximum of seven years. Also it was for payment, used by many to pay their way out of debt. The Bible doesn't discuss slavery in the way we're talking about it. Jesus certainly wasn't condoning it.


Slavery was a political reality, as is assassination. I'd rather die a poor free man than be fattened as a slave, because slavery is not life, it's something else. To say otherwise is to go against what every human instinctively knows, that they're meant to have control of their own lives: if this were not so, then prison would not be considered a punishment.


Ref Jawn's comment above. Jewish law may have been more enlightened than others , but slavery underpinned Ancient Greece, Persia and the Roman world generally ,and in all peripheral civilizations and their successors ( Ottoman empire etc). In most of these civilizations, the 7 year concept did not apply.
What I am saying is that slavery is older than recorded history in nearly every culture. If slavery was really inimical to the Christian message, then it would have featured as such somewhere in the New Testament, and it does not.


One small country also took steps against slavery and the slave trade in that era. The country, which was not a world power, was located on the east coast of North America.

In 1787 Its national legislature passed the Northwest Ordinance which banned slavery in new Midwest territories that would become the states of Ohio, Michigan,Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota. This was in addition to the prohibition of slavery in Vermont, Massachusetts and Maine by their state constitutions and court interpretations of them, notably the Quock Walker case in Massachusetts ( which echoed the earlier case concerning slavery in the British Isles, In Re Somerset.)

In 1789, the national constitution of that small nation made a compromise on the issue of the slave trade. The compromise was that the slave trade could not be abolished before 1808.

After 1808 that small nation joined the UK in prohibiting the slave trade, but did not have the naval power to do what the UK did.

In both the UK and the small nation on the east coast of North America religious beliefs were the primary motivation of he persons advocating the abolition of slavery and the slave trade.


"There is nothing in the bible about slavery."

There's actually a lot in the bible about slavery.


This isn't an article about the Bible. That aside, Jesus as far as I understand was talking to the Jews, speaking inside a Jewish culture. He was not addressing 'Gentile' traditions, as they were all seen to be blasphemous by the ruling elite anyway. Notice he also doesn't condemn the Roman occupation, nor political violence. He's addressing Jewish issues of righteousness.


Had it not been for Britain, and later with assistance from America slavery would still be around so the idea that the West should recieve the total condemnation for a horrid institution that it outlawed is as stupid as it is ignorant.


If Knemon can produce any sayings by Jesus in the New Testament against slavery , then I would be very grateful.


I find it hilarious and all too predictable that all the esteemed persons who have contributed to this discussion have voiced opinions against the need for an apology for slavery. The attempt to use intellectual arguments on the issue of slavery in jewish law, slavery in the bible, the notion of human rights in european society, African collusion with slave traders is truly pathetic when the issue at hand is primarily an issue of human morality/immorality and remorse.
I would like to point out that it is generally not expected that any person involved in a criminal act to admit the offence and display remorse unless coerced by the threat of the application of negative sanctions.
With this in mind I can understand the difficulties a nation and it's people involved in and profiting greatly from genocidal agression commited over a period of centuries may suffer to acknowledge and show remorse for their actions.
As the continent of Africa currently lacks any credible sanctions it could use to coerce the Great Britons into a formal apology or God forbid the payment of reparations, it leaves the African diaspora only one option, the passage of time and the memories that are passed down the generations.
I can also appreciate the futility of apologising for slavery when the gesture will have to be repeated on the anniversary of each act of murderous aggresion perpetrated by persons originating from this small windy island.
Where would the apologies stop? Colonialism, Apartheid, genocide of the Aborigines, genocide of the Native Americans..in 100years or so when the history of this period in time is being discussed we may even have to apologise to the Iraqi people for the destruction being wrought on their peoples with our military support.
I would also like to add that had the aggression aginst the African continent and its peoples ended with slavery it may have been easier over time to consign it to history, however the agression and exploitation of the people and natural resources continued with the colonisation of vast swathes of the continent, followed by the sale of arms for profit to and collusion with corrupt post-independence governments, the economic exploitation of Africa is a subject in itself.
I think when the issues are viewed from that perspective the demand for an apology for slavery seems quite restricted.
In closing i would like to remind all who read this that the world changes over time and peoples change over time, nations develop and nations decay. Empires come and empires go, Britain once owned vast swathes of the mighty America now we are a nation desperate to carry favour in the 'special relationship'with America by sheepishly following whenever Uncle Sam decrees that someone has opposed their national interests. China was historically controlled from Europe yet now the world looks at the economic and military build up of the chinese state with the question. Is It peaceful? If we have any apologies to make regarding the boxer rebelion, i suggest we get them in a timely manner.
So it will come to pass that the equlibrium of power in the world will shift. Ask yourself the question If the balance of power at a later date shifts to the populous continent of Africa and it's diaspora, Will it be too late for our decendants to apologise?


My sincerest apologies for the spelling errors in my reply posted above..it was written in haste with the content above the composition and grammar. I shall endeavour not to repeat this mistake as it maybe used to colour the validity of my opinion.


Dennis, I categorically reject the premises of your argument. Slavery ended 150 years ago in the US. My great grandparents immigrated to the US and had nothing to do with the slave trade, so I have no personal responsibility for it. Yet society has taken upon itself the burden of affirmative action and preferences for minority-owned businesses in an attempt to make up for these ancient transgressions. So be it, but keep in mind that no living African-American has suffered from slavery, either.

As for Africa, despite its wealth of oil and diamonds, it has failed to develop economically. So the West has poured tens of billions of dollars of aid down the toilet in a selfless attempt to help Africa, to no effect. No, it's Africa's fault that Africa isn't developed. Why are all the former European colonies in Asia doing so well even after enduring the same resource stripping?

No reparations.


Rich -

Don't forget that the one small country to which you refer fought a bitter war over slavery which took 600,000 lives. 600,000 lives to free 4 million slaves.

Don't tell Brits or Americans we haven't paid our "debt." It's been paid, with usurious interest.


Had it not been for Britain, and later with assistance from America slavery would still be around so the idea that the West should recieve the total condemnation for a horrid institution that it outlawed is as stupid as it is ignorant.

Folks, it's all about hatred. That's all and everything. These people - the people who blame Britain and America for everything - are simply just filled with hate and rage. We can never do anything right. Show them they're wrong - hold the evidence right up to their faces - and they'll still deny it; still spit venom and bile for all they're worth.

Who's filled with hate? Look at the countries filled with crime; where democracy scarcely exists; where people leave all behind and jump on rickety boats and risk their lives to escape. THEY come to OUR countries fleeing such circumstances, and then call US bigots.

What they hate most is the fact that we do it right, and they don't.


Hi Craig
I would agree with you, if we were not supplying the weapons that the people in rickety boats are running from.
I would agree with you if our multinationals were not clamouring to finance & suppport their dictators in the hope of exploiting their natural resources.

You may do it right(whatever it means) but record number of people are leaving this country for a new life abroad, they may leave on a comfortable BA jet but they are leaving because it isn't quite as right as you would like to believe.
Have you visited Hull, Sheffield, Glasgow....Half the population of these depressed places would love the opportunity to hop on a rickety boat and make a new life somewhere else.
Are you daring to suggest that crime does not exist in this country?
Democracy, thats laughable..because you have an apparently free vote you think you have democracy.
I would refer you to review the application of Orders In Council in relation to the Islanders of Diego Garcia and what the High Court had to say.


Craig, I may have erred in presuming you are from the British Isles. If i did I apologise and retract any Geo-specific contention.


There you go again with the flawed superiority complex so endemic in even descendants of the simplest of European peasants.. Who or what invested you with the right to deem the complaints of the African diaspora as ancient transgressions?

How about the effect of the JIm Crow laws? 1876-1965.
They were a direct legacy of slavery and several generations who suffered the effects are still alive today. Underfunded education leading to low economic advancement, underfunded healthcare leading to low life expectancy, discrimination in the criminal justice system leading to diproportionate sentencing..the list could go on and on.

When they arrived, did they partake in the cleansing of the native Americans? or had the dirty work been done by the time they arrived to enjoy the fruits of the 'new world'?


Dennis, if I believed the culture of the US to be inferior, I would leave. I would expect you to do the same with the UK--after all, actions speak louder than words.

Who invested me with the right to dismiss the complaints of the "African diaspora"? My tax dollars did. If the African diaspora expects me to pay reparations, they can expect me to oppose them. Who gave them the right to criticize me for transgressions that neither I nor my ancestors were responsible for?

The legacy of Jim Crow has long been addressed by the Civil Rights laws enacted in the 1960s. I think it's rather racist of you to assume that since someone's father or grandfather suffered discrimination, that this person cannot achieve anything in life without government help. African-Americans head some of the largest and most successful companies in the US, have served as Secretary of State, and indeed, have run for President of the United States. You and the other supporters of reparations are the racists.

Regarding the cleansing of native Americans: I did not participate, nor did my own ancestors participate.

By the way, I acknowledge your condescension towards my "simple European peasant" ancestors. They and their kind are what made the United States the superpower it is today, while your elitist and self-loathing views are dragging Europe towards oblivion.


Dennis I have a few words for your elitist Europe hating agenda such as the following

Tiamen Square
No Free Speech in Russia

Naturally enough since such facts contradict your self hating (or just bigoted since I don't know what your ethnicity is) you chose to conveniently forget. Africa is the way it is because of native African misrule, and the Europeans were not the first or last to engage in slave trading in Africa which actually continues to this day despite massive efforts by Britain and the United States to end it.

Yes I am a descendent of Peasants, or am I? How do you know I don't have a Knight or a Bishop in my family tree? Afterall knighthoods where not uncommon in Medieval Europe, but what do you care calling people peasants makes you feel big now doesn't it?

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