• Friday, September 30, 2022

HEADLINE STORY

‘Bring back the British empire’ comment on UK TV show triggers backlash on social media

LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 19: The State Gun Carriage carries the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped in the Royal Standard with the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign’s orb and sceptre, in the Ceremonial Procession, after the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey on September 19, 2022 in London, England. Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was born in Bruton Street, Mayfair, London on 21 April 1926. She married Prince Philip in 1947 and ascended the throne of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth on 6 February 1952 after the death of her Father, King George VI. Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on September 8, 2022, and is succeeded by her eldest son, King Charles III. (Photo by Mike Egerton – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

Two journalists praised the British empire on a prominent news channel in the UK, sparking a backlash on social media, as the death of Queen Elizabeth II rekindled memories of the kingdom’s colonial rule.

While both said the decolonisation led to chaos in many countries, journalist-writer Rowan Dean’s call to “bring back the British empire” particularly infuriated a section of social media users.

The conversation between Dean and Daily Telegraph’s political editor James Morrow on Sky Network has gone viral.

Morrow is heard saying, “Decolonisation was a bigger disaster for most of the countries, which led to so much more bloodshed, violence, chaos that the empire itself did not cause.”

Then Dean comes in, saying: “I also want to talk about this. It drives me nuts that we educate people that the empire is bad. I am for it. Let’s start a new movement – ‘Bring back the British empire. Bring it back. You look at countries like Zimbabwe. You look at countries like Uganda… decolonised. As James says – disastrous.”

He goes on: “You look at countries like India and Pakistan – they have struggled since the colonial era. It’s fine to say that there were bad things that happened. Of course, there were bad things that happened but look at the rule of law, the establishment. Look at the opposite that has happened since the British empire left.”

Then Morrow says the British empire was “an era of civilisation”. According to him, “no other European empire created so many successful states.”

The discussion triggered a storm of reactions, with Australians for a Murdoch Royal Commission, an organisation campaigning against businessman Rupert Murdoch’s influence on journalism and governments, calling it “vile”.

“Murdoch’s commentators are calling for a return to British colonialism. They’re pushing to “bring back the British Empire”, saying countries like India would be better off under European rule,” it said in a post.

Social media user [email protected]_pater commented: “This is what they say in order to sleep at night? Nothing is more condescending than the statements like, “Engine of civilisation”. I don’t like playing the victim card of being a colony, neither do I blame colonisation, disproportionately, for our own problems, but this sucks!”

Another person who goes by the handle [email protected] said: “I am completely staggered! I shouldn’t be they’re only spouting the usual racist rubbish they normally do. Ask an Indian if they would like to return to Raj days?”

Internet user [email protected] said, “What the British did to the indigenous people in Australia, America, India, Canada, Africa, enslavement and committing genocide, is anything but civilised and these people are still living with the after-effects of colonisation. Does this look civilised??”

A person with the handle [email protected] reacted: “Really – why? Just a decade ago, Indian GDP was the eleventh largest in the world. Now, with 7 percent growth forecast for 2022, India’s economy has overtaken the United Kingdom’s in terms of size, making it the fifth biggest. That’s according to the latest figures from the IMF.”

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