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Be grateful for Britain

In his letter ‘Countries left in a mess’ (SA, July 22), Stephen Thompson states (the British Empire) ‘is an institution as evil as the Third Reich.’

What nonsense!

It’s true that the British Empire exacted a toll but it also gave something in return. It created nations. It raised the standard of living. It spread science and democracy, technology and industrialisation. It was the first western nation to abolish slavery, and it gave us our modern trade networks and legal representation.

Indeed it was this recourse that ultimately gave minorities a voice.

The British were not saints, but they were not without honour, integrity or sacrifice.

So while the rest of the world got Hitlers, Maos, Lenins, Stalins, and Pol Pots, perhaps we should just stop for a moment and be thankful we got Britain – for all its faults.

Take India.

In 1892 the British passed the Compulsory Vaccination Act, saving millions of lives. They banned child marriages, suttee, etc

The Indian army was formed in the British era where British military practices and etiquettes still persist today. Indian railways, the foundation of one of the largest railworks in the world, was laid under British rule. They brought postal services, Indian penal code, Indian civil services and judiciary system to India.

Before the British ruled India it was nothing but a bunch of princely states, the British united all, thus creating India – a unified nation. Yet Britain’s empire, much better than any other, as even Orwell acknowledged, was a liberal empire.

Imperialism in some form will always be with us.

China remains an empire as much as a nation-state, and pursues policies in places such as Tibet, Africa, and the South China Sea that are reminiscent of European colonialism of old. Even the European Union bears some hallmarks of empire. The existence of an American empire, in an era of ‘pax Americana’, is both denied and asserted in equal measure.

Political correctness is founded on western guilt and self-loathing, as promoted by the likes of Stephen Thompson.

Jeff Adams, Bloomsbury, Swindon

A worrying message

So both of our local MP’s are pleased to see Boris Johnson take over as our new unelected PM, with Robert Buckland in particular singing his praises concerning Johnson’s promises to re-unite our country (SA, July 24).

May I remind both that Johnson’s lies about the EU during the referendum campaign are not only a significant part of the reason why so many people refuse to accept the 2016 referendum result as legitimate, but also a significant part of the reason why our country is so deeply divided.

This is concerning enough when you consider the message sent out about our society by our local MPs assisting and supporting a liar such as Johnson to achieve his goals. However, in Buckland’s case this support becomes quite worrying when you consider his former role as a criminal court barrister and judge and Johnson’s self-admitted use of class A drugs. How many prosecutions has Buckland been involved in for possession of drugs and similar offences? How many people has Buckland convicted and sentenced for possession of drugs and related offences?

One has to ask what sort of message this sends out? Particularly to our young people and those involved in countering drug use. Are prosecutions for possession to be stopped? Or is it one rule for senior members of the Tory party and another for the rest of us?

Adam Poole, Savill Crescent, Wroughton

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