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It should be a non-brainer. Was slavery bad? If it was then why does David Cameron not say sorry for it?

(49 Posts)
StitchesBurstinBath Tue 29-Sep-15 16:56:27

Even though we had Shakespeare and we stood up to the Nazis mostly, historically our country was a nasty piece of work mostly, going round bullying people. Out of all of our crimes, slavery must have been the worst. I read recently that slavery was so profitable that only one slave ship in three had to arrive to make it a successful economic investment, therefore investors would often abandon whole ships to a terrible death if faced with adverse conditions. It was abhorrent- and Daves gong to Jamaica. Will he say sorry? I hope so but people are saying he will not.

SilverOldie2 Tue 29-Sep-15 17:49:51

Slavery was unquestionably abominable but for how long should we and other countries go on apologising?

Do you also expect Germany to constantly apologise for what they did, or Russia for what people like Stalin did? Or other awful things going back in history? Should the UK expect Italy to apologise for the Romans invading us?

I can recognise any wrongs by this country in the past but I will not take on the responsibility or guilt of our predecessors.

MNemonica Tue 29-Sep-15 17:56:43

What Silver said.

Of course slavery was abominable. But at least Britain was the first country to abolish it.

BrandNewAndImproved Tue 29-Sep-15 17:57:55

Germany paid retributions to the Jews and America paid retributions to the native americans although not very much and they still have loads of issues now.

David Cameron won't say sorry as to say sorry is to accept responsibility of the ramifications of slavery today. Did you know millions and millions were paid out to the slave owners in this country when slavery was abolished. David Cameron money and lots of other old money was made off of slaves. Money makes money and they're still rich now. They won't pay back what isn't there's and they won't say sorry.

MadgeMidgerson Tue 29-Sep-15 17:59:18

Has the UK ever apologised for slavery, or colonialism?

I don't know that you can compare it to Italy apologising for the Romans given that the UK existed in the same sense as it does now in the time of slavery, whereas the Roman empire and the Italian state are arguable v different entities

Also, the wealth and power of the UK must surely owe in large part to wealth accumulated as a result of slavery and colonialism

JoeMommuh Tue 29-Sep-15 17:59:59

Eh? Why don't you apologise. It wasn't David who did it.

IrenetheQuaint Tue 29-Sep-15 18:06:59

David Cameron apologising for something that happened more than 200 years ago makes a mockery of the whole idea of apology. Should he be apologising for the brutal capital punishment of the time, women's total lack of legal rights then etc?

There is a separate argument about whether we should help out Jamaica, but that has to be set in context with all the other countries we've treated like shit.

BrandNewAndImproved Tue 29-Sep-15 18:08:45

Since David Cameron is quite happy to still profit off of the gains of slavery so yes he should apologies and pay it back.

SilverOldie2 Tue 29-Sep-15 18:14:46

Ah so this is all about money then.

I can see how it was possible for Germany and the USA to pay money to two fairly easily identifiable groups. I can see no way possible for that to happen re slaves. Nor do I think that David Cameron should apologise.

As I said above - it's in the past and no-one alive today is responsible. Just because David Cameron is rich is very poor reasoning IMO.

MyFavouriteClintonisGeorge Tue 29-Sep-15 18:16:19

I am not sure why an apology is so significant to some people.

When Blair said sorry for the behaviour of the UK in the Irish Potato Famine, it was meaningful as the first or at least clearest recognition of this country having done wrong. However, no one can be in any doubt that the UK recognises slavery was wrong, since that debate was being had openly as long ago as the C18 and was reiterated in 1833 (I think) when slavery was abolished throughout the Empire.

I'm a bit suspicious of how it feeds rather simplistic narratives of good guys and bad guys, too, in various ways. Certainly how African Americans

The burden of slavery and its ill effects does affect the relevant countries even now, but if you asked me what holds Jamaica back today I would say the plantation economy policies of the USA and its largest corporations is the biggest factor.

Alanna1 Tue 29-Sep-15 18:30:23

Slavery was clearly abominable, but reparations??. Many parties played a role including local war-lords/tribal kings who sold prisoners of war, and many European countries, and of course also the US. UK at least has an honourable role in its abolition, although that is not without its economic "justification". Many governments have since given billions in international aid and debt forgiveness (itself complex) since then. China (abused during the opium wars) is showing how to avoid some of the mistakes of the industrial revolutions. Many African countries are seeking to use renewables and mobiles to leapfrog our clunky industrialised energy (and telecommunications) structures. I reckon the balance sheets are pretty compex.

StitchesBurstinBath Tue 29-Sep-15 18:53:29

Slavery was unquestionably abominable but for how long should we and other countries go on apologising?

'go on apologising'- we haven't even said it once yet.

I can recognise any wrongs by this country in the past but I will not take on the responsibility or guilt of our predecessors,

No one is asking YOU to Silveroldie. You are not a representative of this country. He is.

But at least Britain was the first country to abolish it.

And we were the first to be really successful at it. We used it to change our fortunes. At the expense of millions.

BrandNewAndImproved Tue 29-Sep-15 18:58:23

Slavery was the most disgusting thing to ever happen to mankind.

They downplay the figures but with the almanac reference we can tell up to 100million Africans were taken from their countries. The war Lords were caught in a trap thinking if they could win the fight between the next tribe they would be ok but in reality they were all scooped up after the battles. To say oh well the odd tribesman also sold slaves is to lessen the part the west played in this holocaust.

If your in an accident and say sorry that is admitting your at fault, that's why no one will apologise.

BrandNewAndImproved Tue 29-Sep-15 19:04:40

Oh and money plays a huge part in this.

Money gives you a better life, it gives your dc more opportunities. You know the same opportunities that old money made off of the slave trade have to give their children.

Poverty is a huge issue in the black community and since they were took from their countries and had their history and gold robbed from them why shouldn't they be paid for what their ancestors did. If you inherit your parents wealth and money why shouldn't they get paid for their parents slavery. They slaved away making the west rich, it'd disgusting.

Racism exists to this day because of the slave trade, we had black people in Europe and England before the slave trade and their wasn't any racism. They were respected as anyone else was. Then along came slavery... I don't think a lot of people can actually comprehend it and if they do they dismiss it as it doesn't fit in with their congenital belief system a bit like religion.

BrandNewAndImproved Tue 29-Sep-15 19:05:20

There not their.

Lurkedforever1 Tue 29-Sep-15 19:07:56

Much as I hate Cameron even I can't find anyway in which he was responsible for slavery, or in fact anyone alive today. Therefore it's not relevant for Cameron to apologise either on his own behalf, or on behalf of the rest of us who internationally he represents. Acknowledge the UK did wrong in the past, regret, yes.
Personally I also think apologising for something so heinous, that you haven't had any part in, is also pretty insulting. What's the response 'Oh that's fine don't worry about it'?

nagynolonger Tue 29-Sep-15 19:32:35

Of course it's a no brainer. Slavery was and still is an unimaginable evil. It is still happening even in the UK. I was taught about what the empire did re the slave trade at school in the 1960s. We cannot put the clock back and right wrongs of our ancestors but we should learn about/from them.

What good would it do for the PM the Queen or any body else to say sorry for something that was done by others before they were born. Is it just the British PM you want to say sorry.......How about Scotland's First Minister or the Irish Taoiseach. We were all in it together not just the nasty English. Should a large % of the population of NZ, Canada, Australia also carry collective guilt?

If the PM were to say sorry and hand over a few million would that be it. Would my grandchildren be OK and guilt free. One of my DGC has two grandparents who are from Jamaica. Are they less guilty than the other three (soon to be 4!) who are descended from English peasant stock?

SilverOldie2 Tue 29-Sep-15 19:59:43

So if the UK and other countries paid billions of pounds to those countries affected, then what. What will the money be spent on? Will they track down the living relatives of each and every slave and give them a wodge of money? Of course not, that would be impossible and ridiculous. So what then?

Africa has received over 1 trillion pounds of aid over the past 50 years - yet still there is war and death and disease and people living in unimaginable poverty. I recall reading that there are at least four African countries who have chosen to start a space programme - so they would find our money useful to send up in smoke.

GlitteringGrass Tue 29-Sep-15 21:01:46

Cameron monstrous if won't say sorry maybe its because he personally benefited from this monstrous industry.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Tue 29-Sep-15 21:10:52

Is he the first PM to visit Jamaica?

StitchesBurstinBath Tue 29-Sep-15 21:16:53

SilverOldie- how about cancelling out tuition fees for the descendants of slaves in this country, evening up the playing field. THAT type of reparations, not the just the throw a bunch of money around type and make shrill Daily Mail readers hysterical .
I know its a little thing.
But it would be a start, and demonstrate reticence

nagynolonger Tue 29-Sep-15 21:19:50

Did he benefit personally? I know wealth does trickle down but he didn't choose his parents. I say that as a life long labour voter btw. I am willing to blame DC for almost anything......but not his parentage. Also if an apology is due it should come from the head of state surely.

StitchesBurstinBath Tue 29-Sep-15 21:29:35

he had an effortless existence on account of his parents wealth, wealth that came from- at least in part- from the slave trade. So yes he benefited.

nagynolonger Tue 29-Sep-15 21:35:21

So my half Jamaican DGC should get free tuition fees. Or maybe they should only pay half fees. Their cousins should pay in full naturally! Why should only people lucky enough/able enough to go to university get anything.

And what about Scotland do they have to make an extra payment to Scots of Jamaican descent because they don't have to pay tuition fees.

BrandNewAndImproved Tue 29-Sep-15 21:44:12

Nag your grandson already has white privilege, he's been born in a white family in a new generation.

My dc are also half Jamaican, they already benefit from my white privilege in what they have and how they're brought up.

You cannot give everyone the same size step to see over the fence. Some short people need an extra step to get on the same playing field as the rest. Treating everyone equal isn't being equal.

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