This may come as a shock, but European nations once colonised the world. Who’d a thunk it? That did not stop Corbynista Claudia Webbe from spreading conspiratorial accusations among her 45,000 Twitter followers on Easter Monday.
The Leicester East MP – who is currently suspended from Labour – shared an illustration of Africa, showing how Western imperial powers colonised the continent following the Congress of Berlin in 1884, known colloquially as the “Scramble for Africa”. Accordingto Webbe, this “map has been hidden from you all your life”.
It may come as a disappointment to Webbe that this is old news. Many online – including teachers – were quick to jump on Webbe’s suggestion that this aspect of British history has been whitewashed. Among the respondents was David Banks, one of the country’s leading media law consultants, who said he was taught Western oppression back in the 1970s.
British imperialism continues to be studied in schools and remains part of the national curriculum. The Department for Education’s “History programmes of study for key stage 3” says that all programmes should “know and understand… the expansion and dissolution of empires [and] achievements and follies of mankind”.
An AQA history workbook from 2015 has a module on the British Empire and advised that, before tackling the content, pupils should already know something about the Scramble for Africa and the process of decolonisation.
Anyone who paid attention – or who has the faintest memory of modern history –will know Britain, like France, Spain and others, had an Empire full of splendours and miseries.
Meanwhile, Webbe is embroiled in an ongoing harassment trial at Westminster Crown Court.