“But, do you really think Empire was really all that bad?” Everyone in our corner of the pub went silent as one of our course mates brazenly put this question to our Indian professor. “It was an absolute catastrophe – all we got out of it was the railways, and even that we’d have done ourselves”. Furious, panicked backtracking ensued. He’d been expecting another kind of answer altogether.
Back in 2011 this student might have probed further if he’d known he wasn’t alone in his longing to hear about the supposed brilliance of Empire. Last week a YouGov poll revealed 43% of people think the British Empire was a good thing and 44% think this country’s colonial history is something to be proud of. Just three years ago another YouGov poll found 34% of people even said they’d like it if Britain still had an…
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