MYTH OF THE EMPIRE; A New TV Series Will Trot out the Liberal Mantra That Britain Exploited the Colonies. Utter Balderdash, Says a Distinguished Historian. It Was the Empire That Exploited Britain

By Barnett, Correlli | Daily Mail (London), September 14, 2002 | Go to article overview

MYTH OF THE EMPIRE; A New TV Series Will Trot out the Liberal Mantra That Britain Exploited the Colonies. Utter Balderdash, Says a Distinguished Historian. It Was the Empire That Exploited Britain


Barnett, Correlli, Daily Mail (London)


Byline: CORRELLI BARNETT

THE BRITISH as an imperial nation are suddenly in the news again.

Robert Mugabe repeatedly denounces the Government for its outmoded colonialist interference in Zimbabwe's affairs. He is furious with British objections to the brutal evictions of white farmers in favour of his own supporters who either have no agricultural experience, or who are primitive subsistence-farmers with no idea how to manage highly capitalised modern estates.

According to Mugabe, the destruction of the prosperity enjoyed by Rhodesia at the time when it became Zimbabwe is not the result of his own fantasising incompetence and that of his clownish colleagues, it is all down to Britain's colonial legacy.

With perfect, if unintended, timing, ITV is to broadcast tomorrow the first of a three-part series called The British Empire In Colour.

The colour film itself - which comes from the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum in Bristol and dates from as far back as the Imperial Durbar in India in 1911 - is amazing.

Sadly, the actual commentary and its carefully selected voice- over quotations follow the standard Leftliberal line, whereby it is always the British imperial rulers who were in the wrong, and the peoples of the Empire who were either condemned to poverty or haplessly exploited.

Mugabe will surely approve.

The bias of the series is not surprising, since the chief historical adviser is an Oxford academic who believes it was Britain's fault that Hindus and Moslems in India began to slaughter each other on a mass scale as the British raj came to an end in 1947, rather than the fault of the Moslem and Hindu political leaderships.

YET THEIR failure to reach agreement on a future unified Indian state caused the partition of British India into the two states of Pakistan and India, and hence the murderous twoway 'ethnic cleansing' in the Punjab.

In contrast to the guilt-mongering about Britain's imperial role by the Left-liberals, a true-blue British elite proclaimed from the late Victorian era onwards that the Empire made Britain into the world's greatest power.

The repackaging of a historical ragbag of colonies and possessions into the 'pink- on-the-map' empire was completed by the elaborately staged celebrations of Queen Victoria's Golden and Diamond Jubilees in 1887 and 1897.

Between the world wars, imperial propaganda took such forms as the vast British-Empire Exhibition at Wembley in 1924, of which the Moghul-like twin towers of the football stadium are the surviving, although soon to be demolished, relic.

There was also an annual Empire Day fete for schoolchildren.

George V's Jubilee in 1935 and the Coronation of George VI in 1937 saw the imperial myth potently renewed, as colourful contingents from all the imperial forces marched in the procession through London.

Yet it wasn't only the man in the street or schoolchildren who, in the 1920s and 1930s, believed proudly in what I call the myth of Empire. The British ruling elite had come to believe it, too. There was a Committee of Imperial Defence and an Imperial General Staff, though both bodies were in fact purely British.

Every five years, Imperial Conferences took place in London. These were talking-shops attended by the prime ministers of the 'British Dominions beyond the seas' - Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. At Christmas, the King spoke on the wireless 'to the Empire'.

In 1934, Winston Churchill himself summed up in this newspaper what the Empire now meant to the British: 'Here we are on this 24th day of May, 1934, with the population of a firstclass power, 45 millions of us ensconced in this small island and dependent for our daily bread on our trade and Imperial connections.

'Cut these away and at least onethird of our population must vanish speedily from the face of the earth. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

MYTH OF THE EMPIRE; A New TV Series Will Trot out the Liberal Mantra That Britain Exploited the Colonies. Utter Balderdash, Says a Distinguished Historian. It Was the Empire That Exploited Britain
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.