14 March 2007

Blair's Slavery Apology

"I think for us the most important thing now is obviously to remember what happened in the past, to condemn it and say why it was entirely unacceptable."

Not for the first time, I find myself in disagreement with Tony Blair. For one thing, as we approach the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade, we ought to be celebrating the efforts of, among others, Thomas Clarkson, William Wilberforce, and the Royal Navy to bring an end to this practice. For another, it seems to me the most important thing now is not constantly apologising for the mistakes of generations gone by, but admitting that we too have made mistakes and need to apologise for these. Readers may wish to suggest a list of current unacceptable policies and practices, but I'll start the ball rolling with the lack of honesty and planning both prior to and since the invasion of Iraq.


MikeC said...

Referring to the past in this way, condemning something that was legislatively abolished 200 years ago in the UK, and is virtually universely abhorred, is avoidance of the pressing issues of today, and the perpertual need to analyse and interrogate our own society for its ills.

We should be looking at the reasons for slavery that Wilberforce outlined in his campaign, and endeavours to explore in his manifesto, Real Christianity.

Ultimately he places selfishness at the heart of the evils of his day, and the book read uncannily as if it were written yesterday.

Let's celebrate our heritage of men and women of such character, full of integrity, and grit, and perseverance, and then inspect ourselves and our country for injustices that needs addressing now, not least the fact that there are more slaves in the world today, than were transported in the entire slave trade period.

Rebecca said...

I've just finished watching Moira Stewart's programme In Search of Wilberforce. What a load of liberal rubbish, setting up straw men to knock down, as though anybody is claiming Wilberforce achieved what was achieved single-handedly or that anyone is claiming the exploitation of slaves ceased in 1807. Nevertheless, the abolition of the slave trade was a milestone and it is right that we take the opportunity to remember the past and to reflect on the continued wrongs in today's world.