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New documents showing the reparations given to slaveowners after abolition is major part of today's upper classes's wealth, sparking off new debate in reparations.

(46 Posts)
BigSpork Mon 25-Feb-13 13:09:25

Documents showing Britain's involvement in the trade of enslaved people, and mostly, the huge amounts of money that was given to slaveowner after abolition.

Tracing this money has shown that a lot of Britains' wealthy today gained their wealth through this deal where the "British government paid out £20m to compensate some 3,000 families that owned slaves for the loss of their "property" when slave-ownership was abolished in Britain's colonies in 1833. This figure represented a staggering 40 per cent of the Treasury's annual spending budget and, in today's terms, calculated as wage values, equates to around £16.5bn".

Obviously nothing was given to those people who were enslaved, and most of those were forced to work as 'apprentices' for room and board for some time after abolition (only children under 6 were freed straight away). This further information has resparked off the reparation debate (if not to individuals at least more to appropriate community groups) and consideration of whose hard work the wealthy really got wealthy off of.

Springdiva Thu 07-Mar-13 18:28:53

Well, it was jus something that was mentioned on the radio so don't have a link for it. It might have said that Glasgow unis allowed Catholics, I can't remember exactly, but it really struck me as interesting because Scottish engineers and inventors were at the forefront in those days and this is possibly why, unforeseen circumstances and all that.

creighton Thu 07-Mar-13 18:13:53

that's interesting, i would have assumed that scotland had the same type of sectarianism as the oxford and cambridge

Springdiva Thu 07-Mar-13 17:24:45

non conformists and anyone with brains to study whereas oxford and cambridge only accepted students who were c of e during the 19th century

This is why Scottish unis were in the forefront of discovery and writings in the 19thC because they did allow Catholics!

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Mon 04-Mar-13 09:02:03

I can assure you that your average Cambridge don is far from right wing grin

creighton Mon 04-Mar-13 08:56:06

i am not sure why fillyputty wants right wing universities in this country. i can imagine that there are lots of rightwing academics functioning very well in the existing universities in this country. as for ucl having 'left wing academics' as it was a leading non conformist university, wasn't it cambridge, the bastion of upperclass/right wing privilege that gave us the most destructive left wing spy ring in this country's history?

creighton Mon 04-Mar-13 08:51:23

cogito, where has anyone on this thread asked for individual reparations for slavery? read the thread before starting with the usual rubbish i.e. 'don't give the blacks anything/we don't owe them anything'.

get a grip. some people have spoken about longterm investment in the islands' infrastructure, in things that would benefit the islands and people in a general way. the people there are not afraid to work, they may need help in using the resources that are available on each island.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 04-Mar-13 08:11:44

A quick look at any family tree would tell you that the number of people descended from any one former slave since 1833 could amount to thousands Trying to track them all down in order to give them a sum of money and it would keep lawyers gainfully employed for centuries & make the PPI repayments look like a drop in the ocean. Who exactly gets compensated therefore... and for what?

FillyPutty Mon 04-Mar-13 03:13:46

There isn't a shortage of land in this country. The scarcity is artificial, restricted by our planning laws, not by inherited wealth (although certainly those with inherited property would have a vested interest in restricting the supply of building permits).

A lot of the current issues with benefits and poverty and so on are caused because there are not enough homes and therefore prices are grossly inflated.

Agricultural land is worth about £10-£15,000 per hectare. Residential land is worth a minimum of £1 million per hectare in suburban locations, and far more dependent on location, e.g., £3 million/hectare in Cambridge.

Most people believe they have a selfish interest in opposing new development, but I don't think that is true, most people have less house than they want - our homes being built now are 37% smaller than in the 1920s for example, and half the size of homes in the US.

MechanicalTheatre Mon 04-Mar-13 02:51:29

Er, you could apply the link that you used to that data as well, you know.

Beyond that, the difference between using data from 2002 and using data from 1900 is vast. There have been quite a few advances in medicine and society in 110 years. Yes, there have been some in 10 years, but nothing like as many. I'd imagine the smoking ban in pubs, for example, has done a great deal for people's health in Scotland.

Any way you slice it, it is shit that there is anything but a bleak future for a lot of people in this country. There is still less social mobility for ethnic minorities, appalling levels of unemployment in Scotland and the north east and people who live in families where no-one works and where no-one ever has. Meanwhile there are people who take up vast swathes of land with money they haven't earned.

I think that that is unforgivable. And yes, I know it's worse in other countries. But it's still unforgivable.

FillyPutty Mon 04-Mar-13 02:40:22

Well it's not true, because it only ever applied to men, and secondly because they took such a small area that it was almost akin to saying that 'life expectancy at the cancer clinic', and because there are no current data to support it (the life expectancy was 47 in 1900 for a man, anywhere in the UK, for example), so there's no use taking old stats).

According to this: the life expectancy in the most deprived area of Glasgow for males is 65.3.

MechanicalTheatre Mon 04-Mar-13 02:01:43

Maybe you need to read your links more closely, because that article doesn't prove the fact to be false. It says the stat is from 2002 - 2008. Do you think things have improved so greatly since then?

At any rate, whether the exact figure is true or not, it is true that there is a real lack of social mobility and that people on the bottom rung of the ladder are fucked in this country. Very little hope of their lives getting better, or even gaining employment.

Not what this thread is about though so sorry for the derail, OP.

FillyPutty Mon 04-Mar-13 01:47:35

That's almost certainly not true

MechanicalTheatre Mon 04-Mar-13 01:30:06

Yes, there is, but there is also a far greater gap between rich and poor than most countries.

The life expectancy in some areas of Glasgow is 54.

FillyPutty Mon 04-Mar-13 01:22:39

My ancestors (grandparents and before) didn't have two pennies. But education, which came in for my parents' generation (ok it was there before, but the school leaving age of 16 didn't come in until 1964 for example) has lifted us out of that.

I believe there is more opportunity in this country than most.

MechanicalTheatre Mon 04-Mar-13 01:12:34

I think it's weird how "meh" people are about this. The lack of social mobility in this country really pisses me off. The privilege some enjoy, not through their hard work, but through their ancestors, while others don't have two pennies, is disgusting.

There is still so much racism as well, and I think you need to look at and understand shit like this that happened in the past to deal with the problem today.

FillyPutty Mon 04-Mar-13 00:55:33

My ancestors, more recently than yours were slaves, came from Germany. My parents got a visa to work in the West Indies.

You seem to be making lots of racial assumptions about people.

White academics all have biases. Most of these are not linked to the colour of their skin. It doesn't make any particular viewpoint 'the truth' however. There are various bare facts about slavery, for instance the biggest African slavers were the Arabs, and if we wanted to push a particular version of history we need only highlight our chosen facts.

In this case the academic is intent on pushing a version of history whereby slavery defines this nation. He has been published on a similar theme in the past, and no doubt will come up with something very similar in a year or so.

You make a good point about UCL being a historically non-conformist university, and that would tend to attract left-wing academics there.

I'm not sure if we have any right-wing universities in this country, but there are certainly a number in the US, and if the report had been published by an Academic there, no doubt you would draw certain inferences from that fact.

I should probably respond to your insults about hating black people by turning it around to you but it's pathetically childish, so I won't bother.

vivizone Mon 04-Mar-13 00:41:03

I love you Creighton! my goodness some people just don't get it (or don't want to get it)

creighton Sun 03-Mar-13 23:20:38

if your family came to england, how did you end up in the west indies?

the point about the university of london was that it wasn't black people looking form sympathy or money but white people who were examining a historic question. you need to stop talking rubbish and try to learn something.

an interesting aside about the university of london is that is was the first university in england, i believe, that allowed catholics, non conformists and anyone with brains to study whereas oxford and cambridge only accepted students who were c of e during the 19th century.

the university of the west indies, i think, was established out of the university of london.

for someone who claims to come from the west indies, you really do hate the black west indians don't you?

there's a little information to add to your limited knowledge.

creighton Sun 03-Mar-13 23:13:33

i only know jamaica, i don't really know what other islands need. the use of solar power is something that should be pursued right across the west indies from there you would need to see what each island can produce and sell. an island like haiti needs drastic agricultural intervention to replace soil and planting that has been stripped from the land over generations. this could come from other islands like cuba, jamaica and their neighbours the dominican republic that probably have similar ecosystems.

FillyPutty Sun 03-Mar-13 23:03:52

My country left Germany to come to England actually.

West Indian blacks are not suffering. There are many peoples in this world that are though.

I'm not really sure what your point is about UCL. British academia is full of Marxists, and no shortage of people to write this sort of thing. I don't know if you think publication by a white person from UCL makes it more or less valid than if it had been published by a black person at UWI.

hmc Sun 03-Mar-13 23:00:48

I think people in this country are proud of empire because they don't have the first clue about what it involved. I didn't to be honest until I started studying the subject as part of my OU history degree. It was a huge (and sobering) eye opener. Personally I think history should be a much bigger more focal point of the national curriculum.

Yes, pushing the blame for slavery onto the Africans - not defensible, emphatically agree

hmc Sun 03-Mar-13 22:55:51

I don't know Creighton, I honestly don't - thats a valid question. Yes I agree that the west has a continuing responsibility but I don't know how that should be discharged.

creighton Sun 03-Mar-13 22:54:41

i don't blanket blame white people but people in this country are proud of the 'empire' without wanting to take account of the sustained violence used to create it and the resources taken out of these countries and from the people to line the pockets of people in britain.

it is said that liverpool has been 'dying' since the end of the slave trade as its existence as a major port came directly and only from the slave trade. it barely existed before the trade. people don't speak about that side of the empire.

i do object to europeans trying to push the blame for slavery onto the africans and thus absolving themselves of responsibility for their own actions over several centuries. the people in the west indies/americas who were abused get forgotten about.

creighton Sun 03-Mar-13 22:48:35

but hmc, when is the cut off for historic events/eras to be considered as having current importance? will people stop caring about britain's actions in kenya in the next 20 or 50 years? how do people know when to stop caring?

anyway, the report was written and published by university college in london, not the university of the west indies and showed that a full range of middle class people around britain petitioned for compensation not just large companies and landowners.

hmc Sun 03-Mar-13 22:43:43

And don't blanket blame 'white' people. It isn't constructive

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