I received an email recently inviting me to lend my support to something called the International Coalition For British Reparations. Of course, the precise value of my support lies somewhere between exactly zero and almost exactly zero, in the wholly unlikely event that any Harry’s Place readers are considering or have ever considered trying to enlist me for some campaign or other. So I’m unlikely to be much use, but even so it’s nice to receive these invitations anyway, and particularly so for a campaign as worthy as this one. In its own words the ICBR is a “global network of citizens who have suffered injuries at the hands of the British Empire over the last five hundred years”.
Five hundred years is a long time for anyone to suffer an injury, so understandably the ICBR has decided that enough’s enough. The British, they say, are “the greatest criminal nation on earth”, adding that “All roads of human suffering lead back to Britain”. But don’t just take their word for it; according to their Facts page, “Any student of world history will tell you that if he had to pick a single nation to pin all the world’s troubles on, Britain is far and away the obvious choice”. Well given that every single student of world history is apparently unanimous on this point, who am I to disagree? The crimes of the British fall into four categories: Genocide, the Industrial Revolution, Global Misrule and “Bad Inventions”. These inventions include “machine guns, slums, prisons, child labor, bad hygiene, the Black Plague, concentration camps, you name it”. If at this point you’re thinking that the Plague or “bad hygiene” hardly count as inventions, and that in any case the British must have saved hundreds of millions of lives through the discovery of penicillin and the Smallpox vaccine, or that the machine gun was invented by Richard Gatling in Indiana in the 1860s, then the ICBR Facts page has a ready response:
If Britain really is behind all the world’s problems as you say it is, how have they managed to keep up such a positive image for so long?
Britain has long controlled our patterns of thought through the modern university, an English invention. They control what we say through their hold over English, the global master language.
Is there nothing we won’t stoop to? Fortunately though, there’s a way to make amends; all we need to do is pay £4,770 to every man, woman and child on earth. This amounts to £31 trillion, which is the ICBR’s estimate of the financial cost of British global misrule, and they’re confident that we’ll pay up; the website states that “With enough pressure from the international community-both at the grassroots and highest diplomatic levels, we fully expect Britain to comply with the terms of our proposed settlement”. And the grassroots are responding; as the ICBR’s founder Steven Grasse proudly boasts, “We’ve added over 400 friends to our MySpace page”.
Pressure at the highest diplomatic levels may currently be proving elusive, but there’s a reason for this: not only does the ICBR have an arch-enemy in the form of Michael Chessman from Canada’s European British Coalition – here he is on YouTube, saying “are you guys out of your mind? British reparations? What utter nonsense. Get a job, and do something serious with your lives” – they’ve also been victims of a “conspiracy of silence”, organised, they suspect, by the British Crown. As they report, “Lack of local coverage in the Philadelphia market, home of the International Coalition for British Reparations, has many media watchers scratching their heads in disbelief”. Well this blog is happy to support your campaign, and could quite possibly be induced to do so again in return for a complimentary copy of Steven Grasse’s book, Evil Empire: 101 Ways That Britain Ruined the World, for which I suspect this may all be a giant publicity stunt.