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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

British Empire: A force for good.

We've all heard about the downsides of the British Empire, haven't we?

Well there were also many upsides, and having read Empire by Niall Ferguson (excellent book by the way), I thought I'd have a go at a blog setting them out.


1) Abolishment of suttee in India. The abolishment of suttee, widows jumping onto their husbands burial pyres, through coercion from family members, is surely a benefit of the British rule in India. I can't see how anyone could argue to the contrary


2) Eradication of the Thuggee. This mean that travellers in India no longer had to fear being strangled while they slept by men they regarded as their travelling companions (and gave an unlikely plot to a Harrison Ford film). The only downside I can see is the interference with religion.


3) The rail network of India was brought by Imperial rule and makes up a considerable proportion of modern India’s transport infrastructure


4) Whilst the British Empire was one of the main participants in the slave trade, it was also the first major empire to forbid it, and after the slave trade was made illegal, a whole squadron (West African or Preventative Squadron) of the Royal Navy was made available to hunt down slavers. This squadron took at times, one-sixth of the Navy and Marines from other duties. This was while fighting a major war elsewhere, showing that despite appearances, Britain wasn’t just a self interested nation riding roughshod over everybody else.


5) The military strength of the Empire lead to a century with only 3 major conflicts, a vast improvement on the 17th and 18th centuries.


6) The USA wouldn’t exist without the Empire (though the benefit there may be debatable). It took the expulsion of the French during the Seven Years War for the colonists to be secure enough to rebel and not rely on Britain


7) Areas formerly under British rule often enjoy more secure legal and economic systems.


8) Clichéd I know, but without Britain’s resistance during 1940-1, and the provision of a secure base from which D-Day could be launched, World War 2 would have gone very differently and may well have ended with Hitler ruling a German-controlled European super-state that could have taken America’s superpower position.




Thanks for reading, even if it didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped.

1:03 pm - 10 comments - 0 Kudos
Wednesday, March 17, 2010

5 minute chocolate cake


4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
A small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. 

Pour in the milk and oil and mix well. 

Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again.

Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts (high). The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed! Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.

6:15 pm - 2 comments - 0 Kudos