• Jacob Rees Mogg MP on the deal on the table, “It’s not so much the vassal state anymore, it’s the slave state”.
• Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, who resigned this morning described “fatal flaws” in the draft Brexit agreement with the EU.
• Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that the government has produced: “a botched deal”.
“She hasn’t so much struck a deal as surrendered to Brussels and given in to everything they want. It is not so much the vassal state anymore as the slave state!” said the Chairman of the ERG and MP for North East Somerset.
No, Jacob Rees-Mogg. This is quite frankly insulting, given Britain’s history of using slave labour.
Let’s remind you that the UK taxpayers paid off slave owners and traders until recently, 200 years after the abolition, because that was the price to be paid for the abolition of slave labour.
By contrast, freed slaves were not given any compensation. People who mistreated them and forced them to work, were.
“Am I right in thinking that means that descendants of slaves – who never got any compensation – have been paying for the compensation paid to slave owners?” Bristol historian Kirsten Elliott asked.
Let’s also not forget the human tragedy of Windrush, through your Hostile Environment, was an indirect result of slavery.
After colonizing many countries, and enslaving people, the UK subsequently sought to restrict immigration from those countries, especially after Enoch Powell’s Rivers of Blood speech, which brought up a spectre of mass-migration of darker citizens.
Resulting in the 1981 with the British Nationality Act, which took away citizen rights from Windrush-generation immigrants. Prior to this, everyone was a CUKC citizen. After, people from the Commonwealth could not automatically come to the UK.
The Windrush debacle was basically this retrospectively taking away of rights, plus the Hostile Environment which sought to limit immigration. The fact is that the UK happily used slave labour and colonized countries, then became unhappy that those people come here.
Note also, how, in good old Empire-style, Britain refused to meet with diplomats from Caribbean countries, who were concerned about the Hostile Environment policy and deportations, to discuss the children of Windrush.
Being in the EU means being a team player. You have decision-power over the laws enacted in the EU, but that is a shared power as it is a shared responsibility. Compare this to Empire where the UK basically made all the rules and could treat people with impunity.
Even Boris Johnson now admits the UK had power in the EU. He said, “For the first time in a thousand years, this place, this Parliament, will not have a say over the laws that govern this country. It is a quite incredible state of affairs.”
Jacob Rees-Mogg, nobody in the EU is forcing the UK to leave or to become a “slave state”. You could have opted for the Norway-style deal (still inferior to membership) which is not the same as vassalage (Norway has some say and some divergences).
Britain held all the cards and it would be the so-called “easiest deal in history”. Waking up to cold reality, to an increasingly interconnected world where former colonized countries now wield more power (like India), who can now make demands, must be uncomfortable.
This is not slavery, but a lesson in humility. An unnecessary, albeit perhaps a needed one. Do not make light of the UK’s shameful history of slavery.🔷
TWEET THIS STORY NOW:
(This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article, with the author’s conscent, with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected.)