Were your family ‘slave owners’?
On Wednesday the BBC gave publicity to a divisive and dangerous project that seems to have a very specific agenda….hunting down the descendants of long dead slave owners with the intent of publicly shaming and villifying them and shaking them down for cash.
“The most surprising thing is how embedded the whole slavery business is in British society.”
‘Today’ also ran an interview…..This project is not just a chat about History….this has a hidden agenda….just follow the money.
“What we have done is to establish the life-trajectories of some 3,000 absentee slave-owners in Britain, and analysis of this has allowed us to trace the legacies of slave-ownership in Victorian Britain.”
For the descendants of slave owners that means: ‘We know where you live and we’re coming for you!’
and especially him:
‘Other famous names who were distantly related to people involved in the slave trade include the Prime Minister, David Cameron.’
The BBC couldn’t resist mentioning his name.
Whilst there might have been a case for the actual slaves to have been recompensed in some manner that cannot possibly be applied to a world that has moved on 200 years.
Slavery was legal and accepted, if morally questionable, in previous eras…just as many other acts were…..it seems purely a highly politicised and singular attempt to raise this subject that would, if successful, have every man and his dog combing history for an ‘injustice’ and a lawyer to claim on it.
Will the Egyptians be paying off the Israelites for enslaving them? Will the Spanish be handing back the value of the gold they plundered from the Americas? Will the Greeks cough up for the destruction of Persepolis by Alexander? Can the Scots claim for the Highland clearances?
This is a money making piece of ‘moral’ blackmail in essence that the BBC is giving airtime to.
Ironically on the same day the BBC publishes this article on Witch hunts:
“Witchcraft is very closely related to envy,” says Professor Lyndal Roper, of the University of Oxford
It seems the same conditions apply when hunting down descendants of slave owners….the politics of envy….if these people are ‘rich’ it must have been through the use of slaves by their forebears….therefore they ‘owe’ what might be called ‘blood money’.
In other words an invented grievance and connection to the past to justify a spot of blackmail.
The witch hunt article is of course intended to be seen as a parable for our own times and the religious conflicts we see now inside our borders….instead of irrational witch hunts we have ‘Islamophobia’ demonising Muslims, in the BBC’s opinion….however it seems appropriate to suggest that demonisation of entirely innocent people whose only ‘fault’ is to be a descendant of a slave owner is in the making and the BBC is a willing partner.
In the 1640s, East Anglia was mired in the kind of religious conflict in which witch-hunts can thrive – when opposing beliefs could readily be equated with heresy or evil.
There were pockets of Catholic practice as well as areas of intense Puritanism, creating a climate of paranoia and fear….The conditions required for a witch-hunt may be extreme but in the religious and social conflict of East Anglia during the English Civil War, Hopkins and Stearne found exactly that – a perfect storm which bore them through the region on a wave of paranoia, grievance and zeal.
The only people who should feel shame are the people who run this project and those in the BBC who endorse it.