Iain Hall's SANDPIT

Home » World Events » Africa » Geography and Empire

Geography and Empire

Leftist orthodoxy claims that colonialism and the age of European empires was a universally bad thing. This is an argument that has never rung true to me. I have always thought that, overall the British empire was actaully good for many of the parts of the world that were once coloured pink on the global map.

Michael Palin washing a bull elephant in Kaziranga Wildlife Park, Assam, India. The former Monty Python star said we should remember the good that arose from Britains days at the helm of a global empire

Michael Palin washing a bull elephant in Kaziranga Wildlife Park, Assam, India. The former Monty Python star said we should remember the good that arose from Britain's days at the helm of a global empire

Britain should stop apologising for its colonial past, Michael Palin has declared.

The travel show presenter and former Monty Python star said we should instead remember the good that arose from Britain’s days at the helm of a global empire.

Palin’s feelings are in contrast to the tendency of modern politicians to bend over backwards to apologise for Britain’s imperial past.

[…]

The TV star said: ‘If we say that all of our past involvement with the world was bad and wicked and wrong, I think we’re doing ourselves a great disservice.

‘It has set up lines of communication between people that are still very strong.

‘We still have links with other countries – culturally, politically and socially – that, perhaps, we shouldn’t forget.’

Mr Palin, who carved out a new career for himself after Python when he began travelling the world in  series of BBC travel shows, also said that he wanted geography  to be treated more seriously as an academic subject.

As Palin says there were a lot of good things that remain as a result of the Empire not the least of which is a way of structuring law and government that seems to work pretty well  in many parts of the world. The way that English  is for all intents and purposes the global language is another .

There you go something to consider over your Kippers this morning.

Tally ho, Pip Pip Comrades

😉


24 Comments

  1. PKD says:

    There you go something to consider over your Kippers this morning.

    Spoken like a true Arnold Rimmer there Iain – bravo!

    “Smoke me a kipper skipper, I’ll be back for breakfast!”

  2. Iain Hall says:

    You are wrong PKD ARNOLD Rimmer would NEVER say that but ACE Rimmer would!
    engage smirk mode:
    Oh and I believe the quote is actaully “smoke me a kipper,I’ll be back for breakfast” no “skipper” in it!
    see the end of this

  3. Ray Dixon says:

    I don’t know if the Indian example is a good one Iain. They had a pretty big population and a structured society before the Poms said, “Oh let’s take this for our own”.

    As for Australia, well it was inhabited but obviously it was ripe for more advanced societies to move in and take over. But you seem to forget that initially they only looked at Australia as a place to dump their convicts – a sort of class-cleansing of Britain.

    Obviously British rule has helped Australia emerge as a strong, stable & independent nation, but It’s just a pity that the English didn’t respect the rights of the original inhabitants.

  4. Iain Hall says:

    Actually Ray India is the perfect example of a country where the British empire has brought stability and by making English the lingua franca of administration many of the ethnic tensions pertaining to the different languages in usage there. Likewise the rule of law based on the British model has served that country well.
    and that is the sort of thing that Palin is talking about here.

    If the French had got here first just imagine what a basket case this country would be now …

  5. Ray Dixon says:

    We’d have better looking women though.

  6. Iain Hall says:

    Hardly Ray, unless your taste goes to Japanese girls.

  7. JM says:

    Iain,

    English is a second language for people in India.

    And if you’re at all familiar with the place (I’m not, but I read the papers a bit) you’ll know that it is rife with ethnic tensions and conflict regardless of the use of English as a lingua franca.

    And given that Britain’s major legacy has been the highly stultified bureaucracy that’s been killing the country for decades going on a couple of centuries, well hmmm …. maybe not so beneficial after all

  8. Iain Hall says:

    JM
    I am not claiming perfection because of the British time in India or any other country for that matter, just that it has had some benefit from the British influence, as have many other former colonies and out posts of the empire.
    But you miss the point English may be a second language for the people of India but it is a common second language that cuts across ethnic divisions.

  9. Alan Jackson says:

    Iain you are talking bollocks. English is a common second lingo in Africa, English and Afrikaans in South Africa and French in west Africa, and those places are about as stable as my arse after a hot vindaloo.

  10. PKD says:

    But Alan, “it *is* a common second language thats cuts across ethnic divsions”…so thats all right then!

  11. Iain Hall says:

    Alan my example was India and not Africa 🙄

  12. Alan Jackson says:

    Iain thats a pretty weak response, it was pretty clear what your point was (i.e. that making all the nig-nogs speak English somehow civilizes and unites them.) Frankly I think thats crap. Idi Amin could speak English. So can Osama bin Laden. It means nothing.

    The first time I read this I thought you were probably right but then I read it again and now I reckon its a lot of bovine excreta. Having the English invade your country, shoot a few thousand and put the rest to work in the mines or the fields wouldnt be much “fun” for anyone, and just cos they teach you their lingo and how to play cricket doesnt make it OK. “Tally ho pip pip”.

  13. Ray Dixon says:

    making all the nig-nogs speak English

    That’s one of the lines of the year.

  14. Alan Jackson says:

    Well Ray Iain does remind me a bit of “Eddie Booth” from the comedy show “Love Thy Neighbour”, Eddie was a big one for talking about “British values” and civilizing the blackies and the Pakis. From where I stand (or sit) saying that Britain invading those countries was a ‘good thing’ is like saying you’re glad you caught life threatening cancer and coughed up a lung because you got some nice flowers in hospital?! Give me a break.

  15. Ray Dixon says:

    It also sounds like something Alf Garnett from ‘Till death us do part’ would say. I think Alf called them ‘nig-nogs’ too.

  16. Iain Hall says:

    Alan
    You prove just how ignorant you are from both the tone and content of your comments, and you prove that you don’t understand the point being made by either Michael Palin or myself here.
    Read some actual history of the British empire and the ongoing legacy (in the form of the commonwealth) and then you can get back to us.

  17. Alan Jackson says:

    Is that all you can come up with Iain, “you are stupid, go read a book”? Piss weak champ.

    I know enough history to know what happens in colonies, e.g. slave labor, seperation of families, economic exploitation, people kicked off their land, puppet rulers, beatings rape, concubines, fat white fcukers sitting on verandahs sipping gin while the laundry wallah washes the skiddies out of his shirts. I have also been to India (have you?? nah didnt think so) and I know first hand what they think of the Brits and it aint pretty. Just because you think “white is right” and being English makes you one of the “master race” doesnt mean squat.

  18. Iain Hall says:

    Nah Alan I would say that you know squat about British colonial history.
    Oh and put away the race card because it does not win a trick in this debate.

  19. Alan Jackson says:

    Iain you and Palin are both English (well he is, your an Australian who for some reason still wants to be English but wont go back there) and youre both telling us that British colonialsm was pretty damn good. Thats about like someone saying the Nazis were good for germany because they made the trains run on time. I am no expert but I have at least been to India and other former Brit colonies and copped a bit of the local vibe about these sorts of things, all you can come up with is what you read in a newspaper on the Net.

  20. Iain Hall says:

    Alan

    Iain you and Palin are both English (well he is, your an Australian who for some reason still wants to be English but wont go back there) and youre both telling us that British colonialism was pretty damn good.

    Do you realise how dull you are being?
    I was born in London so that makes me an Englishman by birth and an Australian by choice.
    But you are mistaken the point being made by Palin that I agree with is NOT that British colonialism was all good and Jolly but that some of it was actually beneficial and something that any Englishman can be proud off.

    Thats about like someone saying the Nazis were good for germany because they made the trains run on time.

    Dare i say that you have invoked Godwin’s law and there by lost the argument?

    I am no expert but I have at least been to India and other former Brit colonies and copped a bit of the local vibe about these sorts of things, all you can come up with is what you read in a newspaper on the Net.

    How would you know just what I have seen? Or for that matter what I base any of my opinions on?
    at the very least I am not relying on a jaundiced Marxist understanding of history that does not distinguish the difference in the colonial experience depending upon who the colonising power actaully was.

  21. Alan Jackson says:

    How would you know just what I have seen? Or for that matter what I base any of my opinions on?

    Well it didnt stop you did it matey!!! Your the one who was blowing his trumpet and telling the world that I know jack. I know more than you think I know, whats more I have seen more of these places than you. So stuff that in your sock draw.

    Look, of course some good came of “colonialism” because some good comes of most things. I guess the “big issue” is whether there was more or less benefit for the Indians, Africans, etc. living under Brit empire. I say there is not…. and “Marxist understandings” has bugger all to do with it. It is just a matter of putting yourself in their shoes, which you dont seem to have done. If I drove up to Qld and took a dump on your lawn it would benefit me (I need a good clean out) and it might benefit your lawn (fertilizer) but something tells me you wouldnt necessarily agree.

  22. bingbing says:

    Interesting line of attack on this one, considering most international business is conducted in English. Go to any international airport and you’ll see English, along with the host language. English is the official, primary, and/or second language of many countries. Arguably, it is the world language, and this is mostly because of nasty English colonialism, followed up by nasty American imperialism. It is one of two official diplomatic languages.

    Being able to speak it is an invaluable asset, and opens many doors otherwise locked.

    Interesting then that some of the naysayers here just can’t accept what was probably meant to be a rather light post and a pretty soft point.

    No. English colonialism wasn’t perfect. But overall it did more good than harm – especially for everyone reading this post!

  23. bingbing says:

    PS And teaching ESL is my job, so yes, I have a vested interest, LOL!

  24. Alan Jackson says:

    “bingbing”, and if/when the Chinese over run Australia then we will all be speaking Chinese. So what.

    “No. English colonialism wasn’t perfect. But overall it did more good than harm”

    Yeah right.

Comments are closed.

Welcome to the Sandpit

I love a good argument so please leave a comment

Please support the Sandpit

Please support the Sandpit

Do you feel lucky?

Do you feel lucky?

%d bloggers like this: