In 1833, Britain used 40 per cent of its national budget to buy freedom for all slaves in the empire.
Britain borrowed such a huge amount of money for the Slavery Abolition Act that it wasn’t paid off until 2015. This means that living British citizens helped pay for the ending of the slave trade with their taxes.
The British government raised £20 million to pay out for the loss of the slaves as business assets to the registered owners of the freed slaves, but at the time, not a penny was given to the slaves themselves for their time kept as prisoners and forced to work for nothing.
So, in effect, the slave traders or owners were remunerated with funds from the general public and it was only paid off in 2015 and it’s been revealed that David Cameron’s family were slave owners when researchers from the University College London examined compensation payments made to Britain’s most influential families following the UK abolition of slavery in 1833.
I suspect all the dirty historic laundry of England is being washed in public now and even the legendary Penny Lane in Liverpool was named after a slave ship owner.
Even Picton Street in Bristol was named after General Thomas Picton who came to public notice originally for his alleged brutality throughout his governorship from 1797-1803 of Trinidad, as a result, he was put on trial in England for illegally torturing a 14-year-old girl but even though he was convicted, the conviction was later reversed.
I’m presuming that in the next few days or weeks, there will be plenty of stories like this, so I guess by tearing a statue down, we’re going to learn a lot about our corrupt past.
Thousands of British people owned slaves and were remunerated, from vicars, politicians, aristocracy and rich widows, it’s a matter of record, just look it up for yourself.
So, taxpayers were still paying off government debt borrowed to pay millions in restitution to affluent slave owners and while some were knowledgeable of the payments, which finally ended in 2015, there were a lot of people who had no idea modern Brits were paying off the money the British Treasury gave to people, which made them wealthy through human suffering.
The government pledged in 1833 £20 million to compensate the owners of slaves when slavery was abolished in Britain. The amount, while big now, was enormous in 1833, and it took the British taxpayer 182 years to pay off.
There’s a lesson here, and if it wasn’t in our history book, then it should have been and it’s up to us all to read about it and recognise that Britain chose to allow this to happen and yet evidently we’re not racist!
And David Cameron’s family profited from the payouts to the slave owners and his family were still getting payments up until 2015, what a delightful family.
Yes, the slavery abolition act was an entirely pragmatic business dealing by the British aristocracy when they could smell the smoke from the torches and see the shimmer of the pitchforks and the British people didn’t profit from slavery, they may have paid the debt but that ultimately went to the elite.
Racism is the direct link to slavery, without slavery there would have been a free equal world for all men and racism still exists now with weird people who look down on colour and no amount of money can compensate that.
Racism is a nasty word and we shouldn’t be blamed for wincing at the sight of it now.
It unsettles all of us, despite the context that it crops up in and race doesn’t make for comfortable conversation and it’s a fairly dangerous assumption by those who don’t experience it, that racism isn’t a thing anymore, at least, not here in little old Great Britain.
And the way we’re educated about race relations in school doesn’t reflect where we are now, not in England – absolutely not and not so many people brazenly use the ‘N’ word anymore.
Slavey is prohibited, people can sit wherever they want on the bus and police brutality is more America’s problem than ours, so apparently, things are fine, right? But sadly, no. Not really and they haven’t been fine for as long as many people of colour will remember.
And over a period we’ve watched as the United Kingdom has gradually woken up to the fact that we have just as much of a race problem as the one so prominently associated with the United States, past and present.
It may display in various forms, and it may be approached differently, but societies both sides of the pond still have an inherent, systemic, really fecking big problem on their hands.
And I can’t help but feel that Britain’s sudden recognition of how profoundly racial bias is engrained into our political system, employment prospects, social movement, criminal justice and the education system, and I can’t help but feel that it’s all a little patronising.
And this level of ignorance isn’t restricted to the United Kingdom. The difference is that our understanding of what racism looks like in the USA is much different over here in the United Kingdom and it’s no secret that we follow in America’s footsteps and what happens, happens there first before we in the United Kingdom take heed and follow suit.
We haven’t just started to publically address our race problems here in the United Kingdom, we’ve known about it for a long time but all the drama in America has made people wake up and realise that enough is enough.
We can’t just ignore racism as much as we can’t accept it as part of our daily lives and in England, racism is just wrapped up in a nice, more refined packaging, however, it’s just as bad.
And while nicer and politer may describe the way we address our history of discrimination in the United Kingdom, it doesn’t describe the level of influence it has on the way we live.