'Bring back British empire': Anger after debate on UK news channel

Published on Sep 20, 2022 11:18 AM IST

James Morrow, political editor with the Daily Telegraph, and another British journalist and author - Rowan Dean - were on the panel.

The Kohinoor diamond as part of the British Monarch’s crown.(HT file)
The Kohinoor diamond as part of the British Monarch’s crown.(HT file)

The death of Queen Elizabeth II earlier this month led to an outpouring of grief worldwide. But the longest serving British monarch’s death also brought back memories of colonial rule for people in many nations. Now, a debate has got kicked off on social media after “the British empire” was praised by panelists on the United Kingdom-based Sky News network.

James Morrow, political editor with the Daily Telegraph, and another British journalist and author - Rowan Dean - were on the panel. “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,” Morrow is heard saying in a clip being widely shared now.

At this point, Rowan Dean interjects, and says: “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.”

“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,” he adds.

Calling the British empire “an era of civilisation”, Morrow stresses, “No other European empire created so many successful states.”

Anger is brewing on Internet over the comments. “This is 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," read a post by Australians for a Murdoch Royal Commission, a non-profit.

"One of the most successful news channels in the UK is discussing this in 'prime time' debate: bring back the British Empire. Arguing de-colonisation brought disaster to Zimbabwe, Uganda, India, Pakistan...These people claim to have brought in civilisation," tweeted Rajgopal, a journalist.

Another journalist, Smita Sharma, took a potshot at the panel: "Akhand British empire dream, (undivided British empire)."

The world paid final respects to the Queen as her final rites were performed on Monday.

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