Sub Editor of Naked Politics
The Queen’s official style is “Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.”
It’s a little known fact that “Her other Realms” includes the most famous country in the Caribbean, as she is also the Queen of Jamaica. However the Jamaican Parliament has moved to replace the Queen and her Governor-General with a non-executive President; in effect moving Jamaica towards becoming a republic.
As a personal fan of the Queen and the Monarchy, it’s with my subjective hat on that I write this article. I love the Queen and everything she stands for, and I am fascinated by English Royal history. However, Elizabeth of Windsor being Head of State in Jamaica, just like her being Queen of Papa New Guinea, the Bahamas, St. Lucia and many more, is entirely because of colonialism and the British Empire.
The legacy of the British Empire
The British Empire is, contrary to popular British opinion, a bad wolf which brought death, destruction and economic misery to people all over the world. Whether it was raping and torturing at least 40,000 women and children in Kenya, wilfully causing three million people to die of famine in India, inventingconcentration camps in South Africa, attempting to obliterate evidence of great historical African civilisations in Zimbabwe, or transporting millions of people across the world in bondage, it has been a nightmare to the countries its claws ensnared.
Was the British Empire a good thing?
Contrarians would bleat about “oh, but the industrial revolution! They built roads and trains!” This is incorrect. The parlous state of Jamaica’s infrastructure, for example, shows what ‘British civilisation’ brought to countries in the Empire. The British built roads and infrastructure that would benefit them, in their palatial residences on top of hills, and left the rest of the population to struggle on in squalor.
Japan was never conquered by the British, neither was China. Yet both of those are at present amongst the largest economies on the planet. If they didn’t need the ‘gift’ of British Civilisation to facilitate their dizzying climb to the top of the world, then why do the British seem to think that their interference is the only way that a country can develop?
Before the British conquered India, India’s economy made up 22.6% of world GDP. By the time the British left, this had fallen to 3.8%. The British tore into the subcontinent and literally sucked the country dry, before waltzing away when Indian nationalism got too hot. It is a testament to the Indian people that the country is experiencing its present economic boom at all.
Wasn’t this all aeons ago?
Nope. The US didn’t break up the British Empire until a scant 70 years ago. There are people alive today who would have lived under the English yoke, and the consequences are still being felt today. When the British left countries, they offered them un-payable loans with crippling interest rates. You can have your freedom, but if you think that you’re going to be able to rebuild your country – think again.
Even now, the condescending and paternalistic attitude of Great Britain towards Jamaica has not changed, as last year the British spoiled a £300m aid payment for infrastructure across the Caribbean by inserting a back-handed benevolent grant of £25m to build a prison in Jamaica that nobody asked for, with the sole purpose of deporting the stereotypical violent and drugged up Jamaicans from Britain.
If Britain is so bad, why would you accept money from them then?
If somebody crashes into your car then you would expect them to pay for the damage. And £300m is nowhere near the sum that Britain actually owes Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean in reparations. At the end of the day, Britain’s entire economy is built off of the wealth from slavery. Without it, Britain would not have had the cash resources to emerge supreme as the global superpower in the 1800s. And yes, Britain did take the lead in abolishing it, but this was only as it became more economically profitable to force former slaves into indentured service: paying them a rubbish wage which cost the employers less than being responsible for feeding, clothing and housing them as property.
But I’ve got away from the point. Although I love Her Majesty the Queen as the Head of State of the UK, I decry her right to claim dominion over countries that Britain only acquired through rape and conquest.
Jamaica has got independence, but with an absent and foreign white woman as Head of State, who has even more extensive theoretical powers over the Jamaican government than she does over the UK’s, it’s a half kind of independence. Let us replace her with a Jamaican head of state and let Lizzie be Queen over the British.