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Why should I say sorry?

December 5, 2006
First of all, let me start by saying that the idea of slavery is abhorrent. I wholeheartedly agree that generations of people had their lives torn apart in order to “serve” the master who paid the highest price. There is no place in society for slavery (unless of course you include the free half hour for the Queen) and it is highly unlikely that slavery will ever return to these shores.

Tony Blair is currently courting publicity (for a change) by suggesting that Britain issues an apology to the nations of the world whose inhabitants were dragged from their homes onto ships bound for this country. Hang on a minute – what good will this do? Other than being another step towards his elevation to sainthood.

I’ve researched my family history and I’ve found no evidence that any of my ancestors employed slaves. Far from it, in fact. My forebears were all farm workers, no better than slaves themselves. So nobody in my past has drawn any benefit from the slave trade, either directly or indirectly.

So to the point of my post – why does Blair presume to think that he can apologise on my behalf for the behaviour of people totally unconnected to me? Behaviour that took place hundreds of years ago and incidentally was sanctioned by the government of the time. A government that none of my ancestors would have been franchised to vote for, by the way!

Will Saint Tony be asking Dubya to do the same thing? Let’s face it, Britain wasn’t the sole player in this global trade. If Tony feels it necessary to say sorry, then let him do it in his own name, not mine. I’ve got nothing to apologise for!

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    December 5, 2006 19:35

    Quite agree with you, the only person who can say sorry to any wrong doing or mistake of any kind is the person who actually did the deed, you cannot apologise on behalf of anyone else, it has no value at all except as a vain attempt to be polite.

  2. PC South West permalink
    December 5, 2006 20:57

    I couldn’t agree with you more.
    Apparently the city of Bristol was asked to or has issued an apology to the black community for its part in slavery.
    It’s quite ridiculous really, for a start the city can’t speak and everyone who was responsible in any way is long dead.
    Maybe we should all just start saying sorry to everyone just in case.

  3. Stan Still permalink
    December 5, 2006 21:00

    OK – I’ll apologise in advance to all those who have to use their time to respond to my post!

  4. Annette permalink
    December 5, 2006 21:32

    I agree that Tony Blair should not feel he should apologise for what happened years ago, but I can understand why he would want to.

    Everyone was sick of Mrs T. and the way she treated us.
    She got rid of the National Wage Council, which to me was the dirtiest trick any one can play on us.We had no protection from her.All she ever wanted to do was destroy the unions.
    When Tony came to power he soon sorted that out.

    There are so many other reasons why Tony is such a good P.M.

    Yes, he is a good P.M. and he is a saint.

  5. ted permalink
    December 5, 2006 22:38

    When are the Italians going to apologise for their unprovoked attack on the UK in 55 BC?
    Until they no there’s no more pizza for me!

  6. totallyun-pc permalink
    December 5, 2006 22:48

    If I might be so bold as to quote P.G Wodehouse, who once famously said, “it’s a good rule of life never to apologise, the right sort of people don’t want apologies, and the wrong sort take a mean advantage of them”….

  7. Anonymous permalink
    December 6, 2006 02:34

    In the US we were taught that black people sold in America as slaves were bought from African black people who had captured them in tribal disputes. They kept some as slaves and sold others for export as slaves. Seems like maybe modern black people should look to themselves for an apology first.

  8. Diogenes permalink
    December 6, 2006 03:30

    I felt much better when he apologised to me on my behalf for the Irish potato famine.

  9. gonorr permalink
    December 6, 2006 06:35

    Guess hw won’t be saying sorry for ye olde illegal war anytime soon?

    Still, at least he’ll be remembered for other good stuff, such as “tough on crime “, improving the NHS and many others.

  10. Anonymous permalink
    December 6, 2006 08:08

    To Anonymous from US 6/12 2.34
    Yes there was slavery in Africa – it acted as a kind of social security – you enslaved yourself to someone who had enough food for your family and worked for them for free in return for your family’s food – it was not a barbaric practise. And yes, Africans captured other Africans to sell to the White Man with the Guns, just as thousands collaborate in any regime. My stance on this has nothing to do with ‘collective responsibility’ a concept Germans my age have no problem with, more with fairness. Look at places like Liverpool and Bristol, whose wealth was based almost entirely on the slave trade, and look at the way the global trading systems are still heavily weighted in our favour, with tariffs and quotas placed on anything other than raw materials. Yes there are a lot of corrupt governments, but that works in our favour, especially bearing in mind that debt servicing outstrips aid c.3 to 1. The ONLY thing I like about TB is that his scottish sidekick has been trying to do something. Won’t be enough as we will always put our interests first i.e. you want a new airport – ok we’ll pay for it but you must use British firms to build it. Apologies for appearing to go off subject, but if you feel you’ve done nothing wrong, take 2 seconds when buying your tea/coffee/sugar (prices fixed in Commodities market, not by producer) and have a look at the Fair Trade brands. Cost a few pence more but a lot more of the profit gets ploughed back into schools and healthcare and decent (relatively) working conditions. Rant over. j

  11. busybizzie permalink
    December 6, 2006 17:44

    Wait till we start paying out the compensation.

  12. Stan Still permalink
    December 6, 2006 17:48

    Good point Bizzie

    The whole thing has left me harassed, alarmed and distressed. Could I be eligible for a few quid?

  13. passerby permalink
    December 12, 2006 22:52

    to anonymous from the US, who exactly thought you a white man or an african man? it would really make sense if you could answer alot was written about africa by non africans hmm

  14. Naijadude permalink
    December 19, 2006 12:44

    I am sorry its your blog, but apparently your post sound a little bit deluded! If you aint a racial bigot, you wouldnt have the insensivity to type this up. Whatever the heart conceives the mouth speaks, you sure have been nuturing this hatred, come clean what you hatred for black people, likewise Africans is!

  15. Donna permalink
    December 20, 2006 13:40

    I’ve got a personal interest in slavery. In fact, it was only a few weeks ago I wasn in Liverpools slave museum donating a historical document for the archives.

    Slavery is alive and well today in a wide range of aspects that could keep debate running for decades. It is not a phenomena restricted to any particular race. People of all colours were involved in the widely known enslavement of native Africans, including their own towns people. In fact, the majority of the slaves in modern day that I am aware of, are white.

    I’ve spoken with people who have been slaves by force and by free will (yep, slave by free will) and those taken by force are seriously screwed up cookies.

    The world was, and still is, involved in slavery throughout. I, personally, believe that there is no case for any one country, town or city, to apologise to any people of any particular origin, for anything. This is just people wanting to scam some money from the taxpayers; I can’t beleive that this is happening. Oh, no, this is PC Britain, of course it’s happening; weak at the knees and unable to say when enough is enough.

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