On Empire


Having taken what they want

British pay the price


n.b. The extent to which the wealth of the UK was based on the trade in African slaves is now being more seriously considered and debated.

When Great Britain outlawed the slave trade, reinforced by the might of the Royal Navy, Parliament ensured that businesses affected by the abolition were paid compensation for the losses of revenue. The recent Prime Minister, David Cameron comes from a family whose family benefitted significantly from such a compensation settlement. Who can visit a Tate gallery without linking the name Tate with sugar, then sugar with slavery?

Now the question of compensation to countries exploited by the British Empire in ways, including slavery, is being formulated. It will be interesting to see how that develops in coming years.

Another aspect of colonial expansion and exploitation is that the UK has the highest proportion of expropriated plant species, which are now known to be less than complementary to the indigenous flora and fauna – an interesting unseen consequence of putting together collections of foreign plants.


CLP 25/10/2019

Published by

Christopher Perry

Liberté, Equalité, Humanité