I think this is a bit harsh John - it was after all a Scots king who went
south, thus beginning the process of civilising South Britain, a process
which continues to this day by missionaries who travel over the border,
engaging with the natives, and sometimes marrying them, in an attampt to
raise the tone of the place.
Slightly more seriously, the 'British' Empire was driven as much by Scots
know how and military muscle as by English, and probably more so - it is no
accident that the chief engineer in Star Trek was a Scot (alright he was a
Canadian with an appalling accent but the character was meant to be
Scottish)Scots engineering skills being widely applied, while one of
Scotland's great export since at least the 17th century has been soldiers.
I think it would be better to examine the Empire in terms of economics and
class than of 'civilisation - yes or no?' questions.
Interesting theory on the drivers for empire in a book I am reading ('The
Victorians', can't recall the author) which point up to similarities in
Imperial powers in terms of sexual mores - the apparatus of the British
Empire is said to have had a fair number of actual or closet homosexuals at
the top (Curzon, B-P, Kitchener etc) and is likened to the Byzantine and
Ottoman empires in this respect, with a final comment on the current state
of the USA in terms of equality issues.
From: John Wood [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: 07 July 2006 11:50
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [BRITARCH] Teaching Basic British to Foreign Students
I'm with Rachel on this. 'Page 32 Cultural Influences' is really rather
disturbing - is this really what the government expects new immigrants to
believe? At least with immigrants of Commonwealth origin, who are they
In the revised English national curriculum, Jerome Freeman apparently says,
'Empire has been given more emphasis and greater strength. It is a
significant part of British history and a topic that history teachers have
to embrace more.' Yes it is significant, but if the 'British Empire' is
going to be taught in English schools, what sort of angle will the
government expect teachers to take? Is the test for immigrants any guide?
After centuries of forcibly bringing 'civilisation' to all those
unfortunate, unappreciative natives, (starting of course with the Welsh,
Irish and Scots) the world as a whole is still suffering from the
after-effects of the British and other Empires and their successors.
What about a more critical assessment of past mistakes and a decision to do
better in future? Or is that too much to ask?
John Wood of the Highlands
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
This email and any attachments is intended for the named recipient only.
If you have received it in error you have no authority to use, disclose,
store or copy any of its contents and you should destroy it and inform
Whilst this email and associated attachments will have been checked
for known viruses whilst within Defra systems we can accept no
responsibility once it has left our systems.
Communications on Defra's computer systems may be monitored and/or
recorded to secure the effective operation of the system and for other