Rory Stewart is wrong, lots of people who experienced the British Empire are still alive

Stewart was born in Hong Kong in 1973.

Tory leadership contender Rory Stewart has told Time magazine that Britain should not pay reparations for colonialism.

One of his reasons was that “rage against the British Empire is now coming from people who have never experienced the British Empire”.

Is that true? There are still plenty of people alive who experienced the British Empire.

Rory Stewart is one of them. He was born in Hong Kong in 1973 when it was a British colony.

At that time, other colonies included many of the Caribbean and Pacific islands and Zimbabwe didn’t win independence until 1980.

Even countries which won their independence earlier will have many people still alive who remember being part of the British Empire.

Countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago won their independence in the late 50’s and early 60’s.

An 80-year old Nigerian would have been 21 when they became independent.

And of course, as the effects of the Empire last long after it officially ends, even the youngest Nigerian is still experiencing them.

In political terms, the legacy of the Empire is particularly clear in the Gulf where nations are still ruled by the sons and grandsons of the dictators who were propped up by the British.

This is not the first time Stewart has come out with questionable claims. Last November, he had to apologise after claiming that “80% of the British public support [May’s] Brexit deal”.

When challenged, he admitted that the 80% figure was just him “producing a number to try to illustrate what I believe”.

Joe Lo is a reporter for Left Foot Forward

Like this article? Left Foot Forward relies on support from readers to sustain our progressive journalism. Can you become a supporter for £5 a month?

5 Responses to “Rory Stewart is wrong, lots of people who experienced the British Empire are still alive”

  1. Dave Roberts

    What is the point of this article?

  2. wg

    It may have escaped Joe Lo’s attention that many of the former colonies have decided to stay as part of a Commonwealth, and many migrate to the UK.

    The British Empire is dead; and it is only obsessive EU empire builders who keep using the British Empire argument as a rod to beat older people who wish for their independence from the EU.

    It just seems a strange logic to me.

  3. Dave Roberts

    Those countries that remained in the Commonwealth did so because they knew they were onto a good thing. Lots of grants and handouts and even Mozambique that was never a colony joined.

  4. Martyn

    If the British Empire was a force for good, why has the British state tried to cover-up what it did in Kenya? The whole purpose of Empire was to bleed colonies of their natural resources. People who think otherwise are allowing a false patriotism to blinker them from reality.

  5. Dave Roberts

    The bulk of the killings were done by the Kikiyu Land Army known as the Mau Mau. Kenya and Malaysia along with Singapore gained their independence within the Commonwealth in 1964. At that time they were roughly at the same level of economic development. And what happened? I really would like an answer.

Leave a Reply