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The British Empire

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posted on Jun, 1 2006 @ 02:51 PM
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Hi all.

Brand new member here.

I am from the North of England, and my interests include, football, cricket, motorsport, history, especially military history, and cars the faster the better.

As far as politics are concerned I would describe myself as a liberal in the classical sense, but I support o political party, although I do tend to support the conservatives on local issues.

I am (strangely you may think for a liberal) an enthusiastic supporter of the British Empire. I would be interested to read your comments, both good and bad on this topic.

For instance what do you think was the Empires greatest contribution to the world, and what was it's worst wrong?




posted on Jun, 2 2006 @ 01:40 AM
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Greatest contributions to the world:
Railways in India and Africa, Democratic institutions around the world from Berlin to Dehli to Cape Town. British Beef. The Sandwich.

Great Mistakes:
The USA, repeated famines in India that killied millions through sheer idiocy. Ending fifteen years to soon in Africa.



posted on Jun, 2 2006 @ 09:11 AM
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The Empire certainly gave Britain a hell of a lot of wealth and a founding (if not outright controlling) interest in the various 'markets' it spawned.
Naturally it isn't an entirely one-dimensional story and one can point to 'progress' abroad that the Empire spurred on as well as horrific damage.

But there is no denying it sure did have it's downside.

Not least in the vast numbers of lives cut short in it's founding and maintenance.
Is there a single family in the British Isles that did not lose all of the potential of at least one (and for many less well off it was several) of it's ranks to 'the Empire'?
It was the friction caused by creating Empire building that gave us WW1 (which in turn gave us WW2).
Horrendous loses, in every 'category' (one might even say Empire made then broke the UK).

It's true it wasn't just the British Empire, the Empires of others did just as much damage (and in some places 'good').

What about the places and peoples displaced and colonised?
Africa and other parts of the globe are still ravaged by the on-going effects of arbitrary national boundaries drawn by those creating and carving out the Empire with no heed taken of indigenous people's interests, affinities or desires (all those long straight lines on the maps, what a give-away).
Or their economies once geared to function as part of an Empire where the diversity of production is almost utterly non-existent and which are now so desperately out of step with the (now independant) countries' needs now that the Empire is long gone?



[edit on 2-6-2006 by sminkeypinkey]



posted on Jun, 2 2006 @ 09:15 AM
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The biggest Empire seen by population, distance and size.

wiki has a nice article on us



posted on Jun, 2 2006 @ 01:39 PM
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What about the places and peoples displaced and colonised?
Africa and other parts of the globe are still ravaged by the on-going effects of arbitrary national boundaries drawn by those creating and carving out the Empire with no heed taken of indigenous people's interests, affinities or desires (all those long straight lines on the maps, what a give-away).

The scramble for Africa was certainly a ruthless enterprise no mistake there.

However if you check history and current events, I think that you will find, that with the possible exception of the Belgians in the Congo, Africans have and continue to do worse to other Africans than anything Europeans ever did.

I suggest you look up the reign of Queen Ranavalona of Madagascar, or the Emperor Theadore of Abyssinia (a country that was never coclonised by any European power in the 19th century) he makes Caligula look like an enlightened liberal.

More recently, there has been Idi Amin, and as if the Congolese had not had enough to put up with the Belgians in the 60s they got Emperor Bokhassa.

Nowadays Robert Mugabe keeps himself busy ruining his nation, and destroying the lives of his countymen for his own enrichment.

Looking at it that way, The British Empire was the best thing that ever happened to Africa.



posted on Jun, 2 2006 @ 01:41 PM
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Originally posted by infinite
The biggest Empire seen by population, distance and size.

wiki has a nice article on us


Well said Infinite. Love the avatar by the way, how do I get one?



posted on Jun, 2 2006 @ 02:36 PM
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as opposed to colonialists.




posted by Vox Populi
I am from the North of England . . my interests include, history, especially military history, and cars the faster the better. [Edited by Don W]


I suppose the new Bugatti Veyron featuring 1001 horsepower has attracted your attention? Offered here for a mere $1.4 million. Fast? Got to break the 500 km/h barrier, to bring that price. I expect you’d see most of the Veyrons romping across the Arabian Desert at the hands of young-ish Arab sheiks.



As far as politics are concerned I would describe myself as a liberal in the classical sense, but I support o political party, although I do tend to support the conservatives on local issues.


I think the classical liberal world died with William Gladstone.



I am an enthusiastic supporter of the British Empire. I would be interested to read your comments, both good and bad on this topic.


The best test of empires came after WW2. All the old pre-war empires failed, sooner or later. Some with dignity. Some with recriminations. By looking at the outcomes of the various colonies, you get a general idea of the quality of overlordship exercised by the empires.

I would rate the Spanish and Portugese the worst, followed closely by the Belgians. The Dutch are no easy marks, either, for those in servitude. But the French and Italians are several steps up, in that order. The Brits are no doubt, on top. Lesson? If you have to be a colony, then be a British colony.



For instance what do you think was the Empires greatest contribution to the world, and what was it's worst wrong?


That’s a hard one. Do you mean pre-War 2 or post-War 2?


[edit on 6/2/2006 by donwhite]



posted on Jun, 2 2006 @ 03:05 PM
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I’d guess the campaigns subduing India were the most violent.


GUNGA DIN is one of the greatest adventure epics . . actors Victor McLaglen, the dashing Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and the incomparable Archibald Alexander Leach, better known to the world as Cary Grant . . In the film, Jaffe brilliantly portrays Gunga Din, the slave/water boy, a native Hindu who desperately wants to be a "first class soldier" for the British army. GUNGA DIN is full of hilarious scenes, the movie's real story is about honor and courage.

In the beginning of the movie, a band of Hindus invade the village of Tantrapur. When Mac's regiment is sent to investigate, they find that all the villagers have fled, leaving their little town occupied by the Hindus. They are led by whom Ballantine refers to as "Toad face." Toad face won't tell where the villagers have gone and they won't go back to the army post with Mac and his men. The leader begins to call out to Kali, the Hindu goddess of blood.

The Thugs expect more soldiers to arrive to help . . Cutter. Mac, Bal and Din walk into an ambush. They are united with Cutter who has already been tied up and lashed for not telling the guru where the army is. The Thugs are planning to trap the army and kill every man in the regiment . . in the distance, there are bagpipes. The guru looks beyond the rocks and cliffs that surround the temple and sees the column coming to help the three soldiers. The army does not know that they are being led into a trap where hundreds of cultists are waiting to massacre them . . always wanting to be a first class soldier, young Din climbs to the steeple of the temple and does the call to arms on his bugle. His bravery and courage enable him to warn the column on time but he is shot to his death by the enemy in the process. Parts of Kipling's poem is read aloud by the colonel and tears of emotion shine in the weary eyes of the valiant soldiers. Gunga Din is laid to rest and we see, for the final time, the water boy in soldier's uniform, smiling proudly and giving us a farewell salute.


www.reelclassics.com...



[edit on 6/2/2006 by donwhite]



posted on Jun, 2 2006 @ 04:27 PM
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Originally posted by Vox Populi
However if you check history and current events, I think that you will find, that with the possible exception of the Belgians in the Congo, Africans have and continue to do worse to other Africans than anything Europeans ever did.

Looking at it that way, The British Empire was the best thing that ever happened to Africa.


- Well OK, I know there is that view out there.
I don't dispute the fact that some African leaders have been appalling to their own people (although often that was the result of the proxy 'war' between 'east and west' where 'western' governments were propping up and ignoring the actions of their chosen 'strong men' who received 'our' support supposedly to act as a bulwark against the spread of communism).

Mugabe is a predictable pure reaction to colonialism and the UDI regime of Smith (as anyone listening to him for 5minutes could tell), 'land reform' was always going to be a nightmare in a 'country' riven with tribal factions.

My point isn't that European 'rule' was always and in every instance 'bad' any more than it could be claimed that African leadeships were always and in every instance 'good'; it was that however understandable Empire building might have been in it's day it was on balance a disaster for the people in the Empire-building country and well as the long on-going problems it has bequeathed those colonised.

WW1 was a direct result from the rush to Empire and gave us in it's wake WW2.
By any sane assessment these were global disasters of an unprecedented magnitude.
Whatever wealth Empire gave the UK WW1 & WW2 bankrupted us and left us devoid of Empire and influence.

In the long run the aligning of a countries' exports and output to fit into an Empire system leaving them high and dry once the Empire disappears is a cruel and long-term injury that has done Africa and continues to do Africa no favours at all.


[edit on 2-6-2006 by sminkeypinkey]



posted on Jun, 2 2006 @ 04:30 PM
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Originally posted by Vox Populi
Well said Infinite. Love the avatar by the way, how do I get one?


Thank you and...

The joys of searching on google



posted on Jun, 2 2006 @ 05:00 PM
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posted by Vox Populi

I am an enthusiastic supporter of the British Empire. I would be interested to read your comments, both good and bad on this topic.

For instance what do you think was the Empires greatest contribution to the world, and what was it's worst wrong? [Editedy by Don W]




Greatest contritubion? I believe the British Empire spread the notion of self government so well, it ended the empire.



posted on Jun, 2 2006 @ 05:01 PM
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I suppose the new Bugatti Veyron featuring 1001 horsepower has attracted your attention? Offered here for a mere $1.4 million. Fast? Got to break the 500 km/h barrier, to bring that price. I expect you’d see most of the Veyrons romping across the Arabian Desert at the hands of young-ish Arab sheiks.

I am going to stick my neck out here and say that I believe that the Bugati Veuron is the fastest car on the road today. Of course some would say accolade belongs to the Pagini Zonda. However as I am not an Arab sheik, both motors will remain outside my price range.


"I think the classical liberal world died with William Gladstone."

I believe that in an ideal world the only obligation owed to the state by it's people is to pay their taxes.

Of course we do not live in an ideal world we live in the real one.

"The best test of empires came after WW2. All the old pre-war empires failed, sooner or later."

Such is the fate of empire, they fall.


"That’s a hard one. Do you mean pre-War 2 or post-War 2?"

Some wpuld say that the way that Great Britain withdrew from Empire after WWII was her greatest gift to the world.

We endeavored to create democracies governed by the rule of law in all our former colonies.

Contrast this with the French policy who tried to hold onto their colonies at all costs against the winds of change.


[edit on 6/2/2006 by donwhite]



posted on Jun, 2 2006 @ 05:10 PM
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Originally posted by sminkeypinkey

My point isn't that European 'rule' was always and in every instance 'bad' and Africans always and in every instance 'good'; it was that however understandable Empire building might have been in it's day it was on balance a disaster for the people in the Empire-building country and well as the long on-going problem it has bequeathed those colonised.

I disagree



posted on Jun, 2 2006 @ 05:23 PM
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What I meant to say pinkey is that Africas current problems have nothing to do with colonialism.

If this was the case, then why does'nt India, Malaysia, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, Africas one and only success story have similar problems?

They do not because they have stable government dedicated to upholding the rule of law and protecting property rights of individuals.

In contrast Africas leaders are nothing but gangsters more inclined to feather their own nests and maintain their grip on power.

As long as Africans conveniently blame Europe for their problems they will get no closer to solving those problems. The root of Africans problems are the Africans. As long as they are given a choice of electing men and women of vision like Morgan Changiri (spelling) who offer them all of the above and some Europe-bashing demagogue, they will always elect the anti-European gangster.

It is far easier to blame somebody else for your problems than it is to solve those problems.



posted on Jun, 2 2006 @ 09:27 PM
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posted by Vox Populii


posted by Donwhite
"I think the classical liberal world died with Gladstone."


I believe that in an ideal world the only obligation owed to the state by it's people is to pay their taxes. Of course we do not live in an ideal world we live in the real one. [Edited by Don W]


I’m a collectivist myself. Individualism passed into history when the Earth’s population passed the 6 billion mark. The doctrine of self-fulfillment will wreck this planet. My vision of governmental purpose in the economic area is to assure a level playing field, proper commercial standards such as quality of goods, terms of warranty, interest on time purchases and taxes on all forms of wealth, and on income, where it is earned, not necessarily where it is headquartered.

Bugatti Veyron is listed at 250 mph, versus the Orca 4.2 liter twin turbo at 258 mph. See link on fastest cars
www.nitro-uk.com...



posted on Jun, 3 2006 @ 02:42 AM
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"Bugatti Veyron is listed at 250 mph, versus the Orca 4.2 liter twin turbo at 258 mph. See link on fastest cars
www.nitro-uk.com..."

Maybe. Not a great deal in it though is there.



posted on Jun, 3 2006 @ 06:04 AM
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V/P, in 1959, I was enrolled in college, on the GI Bill, PL 550, and working in the PM. I needed a car. I had a 1953 Dodge with too many miles. I bought a brand new Ford 100E. It was a dandy car. Excellent gas miles, very comfortable and it looked great. This was my first expericnce with British cars. 1172 cc, flat head, 4 cylinders. 3 speed transmission. A great little car. but top speed was about 68-70 mph. 0-60? Maybe in 25 seconds. Maybe. Gasoline was cheap then, usually in the high 40s cents per gallon. But for a poor student, 30 mpg was welcome. The color was "Dover White." I learned about the EnFo cars through reading Autocar and Motor.



posted on Jun, 3 2006 @ 07:38 AM
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The Ford 100E

Back then we in Great Britain new how to build cars.

Those days are sadly way before my time.



posted on Jun, 3 2006 @ 08:16 AM
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Last year I read "Pegasus Bridge" by Stephen Ambrose, now deceased. It recounted the very extensive training and most through planning for this imperative mission. Actually there were two birdies, one over a river and the second over a parallel canal. These bridges were inland from Normandy beaches by about 15 miles. Local French patriots reported the bridges had already been fixed for demolition by placing explosives all across the bridge. The bridges could be blown by the German guards in a very few minutes.

Thanks to their training, and exquisite timing and a bit of good luck - always essential to a successful military operation - the British forces were able to capture the two bridges with the loss of but one man - the No. 2 lieutenant - who was shot as he walked across the bridge. Two companies of British Army had used gliders to reach the target. Itself a problematical undertaking. Holding those bridges allowed Allied tanks to cross the otherwise impassable river and canal system.

Did success or failure of D-Day rest on this venture? No, of course not. 150,000 men were landed on June 6. And an equal number June 7. The Allies were there to stay. The only issue was casualties. Holding that bridge may have saved as many as 10,000 men.



[edit on 6/3/2006 by donwhite]



posted on Jun, 3 2006 @ 09:02 AM
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Originally posted by Vox Populi
What I meant to say pinkey is that Africas current problems have nothing to do with colonialism.


- Well it is quite obvious that single (or at best) few product economies are the result of Empire and colonialism.
Infrastructure and investment was skewed to a handful of products (usually raw natural materials to be sent off to be worked in the 'mother' country) and as a result entire economies became dependant on the worth of one or two sets of earnings.


If this was the case, then why does'nt India, Malaysia, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, Africas one and only success story have similar problems?


- You're kidding, right?

India - only 50yrs after independence is India (an entire sub continent) emerging and they still have enormous problems ranging from a bloated civil service (it is still, for some, the height of achievement to be a CS in India) to crushing and large scale poverty.
Then let's not forget the whole on-going problems partition created for them.

Vietnam - never part of the British Empire anyway but if you think that is a country untouched by the negative side of Empire-building I suggest a lie-down in a darkened room!

Australia - Not so much an example of standard colonialism as a complete permanent take-over and theft of the land.
Kind of like saying the US is a great example of the benefits of colonialism.......so long as you ignore entirely the indigenous people(s).

New Zealand - ditto except the Maori people haven't been completely made powerless and the aren't taking it quite as 'lying down' as the Aborigines have been forced to.

Malaysia - racked by civil war before independence and fighting with Indonesia after it.
Also periodically suffering racial unrest as the Malay population and the large Indian and Chinese minorities quarrel. Still in a land dispute with the Philippines. Only in the last 20yrs has she been sufficiently diversified to stop relying on a handful of products.

South Africa - please be serious.


They do not because they have stable government dedicated to upholding the rule of law and protecting property rights of individuals.


- I don't think you can claim colonialism was a success for those places because decades after the event things seem to be settling down now to something more normal.


In contrast Africas leaders are nothing but gangsters more inclined to feather their own nests and maintain their grip on power.


- ......and why was that?
In large part it was because 'east' and 'west' preferred to fight 'proxy wars' during the 'cold war' using those places.
'We' wanted to make sure communism did not spread and 'we' needed and wanted their raw materials so 'we' were quite happy to install, support or simply overlook the criminal activity of those appalling 'leaders'.
A hang-over of the attitudes of colonialism if you will, up-dated for the 'cold war'.


As long as Africans conveniently blame Europe for their problems they will get no closer to solving those problems.


- I'd suggest that for as long as Europeans (and for that matter Americans too) conveniently blame any and everyone but themselves for the plight of Africa (and the others) there is little chance of real progress.

From markets simply closed or rigged in Europe or America's favour to leaderships encouraged to take on huge debt to buy weaponry they could not particularly afford.

It's fair to say there has been some progress on this recently but it is also undeniable that Africa has for decades been shut out of western markets, particularly agricultural markets.
Europe and the USA operate a system of tariffs that have done Africa no favours at all.


The root of Africans problems are the Africans.


- Sorry but IMO that is way too simplistic and simply not supported by the history.


As long as they are given a choice of electing men and women of vision like Morgan Changiri (spelling) who offer them all of the above and some Europe-bashing demagogue, they will always elect the anti-European gangster.


- Well I suppose that must make someone like Mandela a really out of step character then, huh?

I'd consider it like this - if you saw that the (few) commodities you produced and could sell internationally (for 'hard' currency) were forced to be sold (on markets in, run and controlled by 'the west/developed countries') at a price that gave almost all the 'value' to those who buy them from you and then 'work' them and that this process had made those countries very very rich indeed......and that this situation had gone on for almost a century, if not longer....how would you feel?
Grateful or indebted to those ex-colonials?
I don't think so.


It is far easier to blame somebody else for your problems than it is to solve those problems.


- I say that it's also pretty comforting to reduce and turn a series of complex situations into simplistic 'black and whites' and 'either or's' and then just walk away from acknowledging the enormous damaging influences one has had on countries that were completely 'moulded' by Europeans (so much so that by our reckoning they weren't even countries at all, 'we' designed them on our maps for goodness sakes!) and blinding ones' self only to see the 'good' you prefer to think 'we' did.



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