Hain apologises on behalf of Wales and Northern Ireland…

The deputy leadership competition is in full flow and Peter Hain has taken it upon himself to apologise on behalf of all of his charges on the Celtic former Celtic fringe for our our ancestor’s role in the slave trade…

  • Yokel

    He can go feck off. He doesn’t care a jot as long as it looks good.

  • David

    I would suspect that the role of Northern Ireland and Wales in the African slave trade must be pretty much nil.

    Perhaps he should apologise to the Welsh for the fact that Irish slavers abducted St Patrick from there?

  • Paul

    There wasn’t even a “Northern Ireland” at the height of the slave trade so is Hain apologising on behalf of the Irish people? He certainly needs to now.

  • Henry94

    He can’t apologise on behalf of people he does not represent.

    And his role is not a representative one so he should now apologise for his apology.

    Northern Ireland did not exist when the slave trade was in operation.

  • Free Agent

    What slave trade? I’m sure if there was any it was minimal compared to the role played by England in this trade and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that if anything the people here at the time were involved in anti slavery agitation.
    The bandwagon jumping of this man is breath taking. He is not elected by the people of this island and has no authority to apologise to anybody on our behalf for anything.

  • NOT IN MY NAME!

  • Butterknife

    I regret that society thought it was correct to do what they did but why should I bare the guilt of my forefathers? This infers that I can do immoral acts today and leave it for my sons to apologise for me.

  • slug

    Ulster produced someone who fought to expose slavery – Sir Roger Casement. That was in the early days of his career (which got off to such a good start in the period after leaving Ballymena Academy).

  • GavBelfast

    I think many of us will look forward to the day when someone apologises for Peter Hain and closes the door behind him.

  • All the best people leave Ballymena Academy. 😉

  • Crataegus

    Correct me if I am wrong but Belfast did not play a direct part in the slave trade. Back in the days when Belfast was progressive there was solid opposition to it.

    McCabe’s ‘May God wither the hand and consign the name to eternal infamy of the man who will sign that document.’ referring to setting up a local slave trading company.

    Hain should do his homework.

  • DK

    “McCabe’s ‘May God wither the hand and consign the name to eternal infamy of the man who will sign that document.’ referring to setting up a local slave trading company.”

    Maybe he’s apologising on behalf of that local slave-trading company. What were they called?

  • Nevin

    Was the Belfast slave-trading company established? It’s likely that companies and individuals many a lot of money trading with slave-owners. For example, a Stewart estate near Ballintoy was purchased in the late 18th century by Alexander Fullerton using wealth accumulated in Jamaica. The Fullertons were a long established family in north Antrim.

  • Crataegus

    DK & Nevin

    No the slave trading company was NOT established in Belfast. Belfast was well ahead of its time.

    Cheap sound bite by Hain and fundamentally wrong.

  • The Dubliner

    Slavery played a huge role in generating the wealth that was the foundation (and purpose of British Empire). Those taxes on the profits of slavery and colonisation – the systematic extraction of recourses and wealth (where even human beings were merchant commodities) – built the great civic buildings in Northern Ireland, so all who benefited from the ignoble history of British imperialism and all who take pride and a sense of identity from said ignoble history are guilty.

    Slavery, by the way, isn’t a ghost of Britian’s past. There are cuurently thousands of imported slaves working in Britisn’s sex trade.

  • willis
  • willis

    Dubliner

    I think you are going to have to try a bit harder than that.

    Which of the great civic buildings of Belfast were built before 1807?

  • Tochais Síoraí

    Indeed, Dubliner, isn’t it great there are no imported sex slaves working in your own city.

  • DK

    Yes Dubliner, but then ancient Irish stories and culture involve using slaves siezed from elsewhere, including Britain. If you take pride and a sense of identity from said ignoble ancient Irish history then you, too, are guilty.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Paul

    You’re right, Northern Ireland didn’t exist at the height of the slave trade.

    However, it didn’t exist when slavery was banned either.

    Hain is a numpty.

  • Phil McCavity

    “What slave trade? I’m sure if there was any it was minimal compared to the role played by England in this trade and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that if anything the people here at the time were involved in anti slavery agitation.”

    So it was only the English eh? That’ll explain all of the Campbell’s, Cameron’s and McDonald’s in the West Indies then!

  • willis

    Phil

    No, clearly it wasn’t only the English. It was principally the English though. But what are the English? There was plenty of opposition to the slave trade from English Non-conformists.

    One thing is pretty clear though. Belfast was not a part of it.

    Still, feel free to provide some evidence.

  • GrassyNoel

    Oh give over for f*ck’s sake.

    People are constantly bleating on about how NI is, was and always will be part of the UK on this blog and how proud they are about it.

    Then as soon as slavery is mentioned everyone jumps behind a rock and denies all knowledge, connection or association with such a concept as ‘the British Empire’ before a particular date and of course we have the classic ‘oh sure everybody was at it back then, everyone was and is guilty in some way or other, what about this saint or that guy’.

    ‘I regret that society thought it was correct to do what they did but why should I bare the guilt of my forefathers? This infers that I can do immoral acts today and leave it for my sons to apologise for me’.

    Yeah nice try.. By the same token maybe the fear that future generations of your offspring may suffer cruelly at the hands of your enemies might encourage you to act honourably rather than dishonourably?

    I’m sure there must be a name for it, as it’s this kind of belief, this fear of some form of punishment in an unforeseen and unimaginable future which forms the cornerstone of every religion and explains their timeless hold over people’s minds. Before laws existed, there were only morals, and before morals there had to be superstition – if only to keep order in society. But one doesn’t have to be too superstitious to imagine that if a terrible injustice is perpetrated, the desire for justice will live on beyond the earthly realm of the perpetrator.

    Not that it seems to have worked in the case of slavery and other circumstantial series of events such as those which led ultimately to where we are today but let’s not go into that for fear of offending someone and sure nobody was really guilty of anything and sure everyone’s a victim at the end of the day now let’s all move on together holding hands and silently weeping.

    By the way d’you see there’s an asian family after moving in at the end of the street. Don’t like that now so I don’t, them foreign ones coming in here.

    We live in hope…

  • willis

    “I’m sure there must be a name for it, as it’s this kind of belief, this fear of some form of punishment in an unforeseen and unimaginable future which forms the cornerstone of every religion and explains their timeless hold over people’s minds. Before laws existed, there were only morals, and before morals there had to be superstition – if only to keep order in society. But one doesn’t have to be too superstitious to imagine that if a terrible injustice is perpetrated, the desire for justice will live on beyond the earthly realm of the perpetrator.

    Not that it seems to have worked in the case of slavery and other circumstantial series of events such as those which led ultimately to where we are today but let’s not go into that for fear of offending someone and sure nobody was really guilty of anything and sure everyone’s a victim at the end of the day now let’s all move on together holding hands and silently weeping.”

    Stand back from the keyboard… breathe deeply….
    Better?

  • Phil McAvity

    What you talking ’bout Willis (sorry, I couldn’t resist that)

    I wasn’t trying to link Belfast or Ireland to the slave trade nor was I trying to deny the role of some Englishmen in it. The point that I was trying to make is that as usual anything unpleasant to do with Britain’s imperial past is blamed upon us English (for other examples see Hain’s intention to apologise for the Croke Park murders on the eve of an England match there). If you want evidence of Scotland’s role in slavery may I suggest you look up a few (slave)names in the Bridgetown or Kingston telephone directories or think about the surnames of a few black celebrities (Sir Trevor McDonald or Sol, Kevin and Darren Campbell). Did their ancestors once roam the Highland Glenns hunting for wild haggis or did they gain those surnames by some other means?

  • IJP

    Northern Ireland is the successor state of the country that existed when slavery existed.

    It’s also the successor state of the country which existed when it was ended.

    Well done lads and lasses.

  • The Dubliner

    “Which of the great civic buildings of Belfast were built before 1807?” – willis

    Shouldn’t you fast forward to Government of Ireland Act, and then claim that you’re blameless because Northern Ireland didn’t exist until 1920? The immense profits of British Imperialism – the systematic extraction of recourses and wealth from the countries and peoples subjected to militant colonisation – raised the taxes that built the Empire. All who embrace that history – who seek to portray its systematic exploitation of the wealth, peoples, and recourses by the use of invasion and violence – as other than what it actually was are acting as parasites on wound that is still very real in its consequences for those regions that were subjected to the criminal campaign. These apologies that are proffered by government (Blair proffered one last November) are aimed at fending off claims for massive repatriations from those countries. Slaves were a lucrative commodity for the British Empire – worth about 25,000 each in today’s money. While ended in the UK in 1807, it was permitted in the colonies of British Empire until 1834 (with slaves having to serve another 6 years as “apprentices” until freed). Since slavery never occurred in the UK, the ending of it there had no effect. It continued for many decades thereafter until Christian campaigners suddenly decided that the bible didn’t endorse the practice as they had previously argued that it did, and it gradually diminished to ‘acceptable’ levels at which it continues today. Ghana, I believe (I may be out on the numbers) is seeking 600 trillion in repatriations. If it gets even a fraction of that, British taxes will rise considerably to repay the debt that is owed. So, it isn’t just about token regret for that which your Empire benefited massively from – and that is why the smarter folks (government) aren’t being so arrogantly dismissive here.

    “Indeed, Dubliner, isn’t it great there are no imported sex slaves working in your own city.” – Tochais Síoraí

    There are an estimated 8,000 imported sex slaves working in Britain’s sex trade. There is an estimated zero working in the Republic of Ireland. You’ll have to try harder with your failed what-about-ery, alas. Ireland, free from Britain’s sordid history of commercial slavery that is the keystone of imperialism, is also free of the cultural mentality that tolerates the practice on such a vast scale (or on any scale), unlike its afflicted neighbour. It’s also one of the egalitarian advantages that republicanism has over imperialist monarchy. Happily, the British government announced last month that such women would no longer be instantly deported, but would, instead, be flung out of the country within 30 days of arrest. This they proffered as a worthy tribute to mark the 200th anniversary since slavery was officially abolished with the UK. It doesn’t seem to occur to government that imported slaves in Britain’s sex trade are victims of appalling crimes, who need therapy, assistance; and, in many cases, treatments for the sexual diseases which Britain’s males have infected them with.

    “Yes Dubliner, but then ancient Irish stories and culture involve using slaves siezed from elsewhere, including Britain. If you take pride and a sense of identity from said ignoble ancient Irish history then you, too, are guilty.” – DK

    Yes, DK. You are absolutely correct – and not even a tad hysterical – to equate a few Celtic myths and legends with the reality of Britain’s ignoble imperial history, a cornerstone of which was the systematic enslavement of tens millions of people. Not even Germans will argue that they share no responsibility for the Nazis and the Holocaust on the grounds that someone from Finland spat on a Jew in 1913. You can now cite Godwin’s Law to claim that you won that argument.

  • The World’s Gone Mad

    The Dubliner – couldn’t possibly comment on the number of imported sex slaves in Dublin, although you’ve obviously hunted high and low to work that out but with regards to..

    ‘Ireland, free from Britain’s sordid history of commercial slavery that is the keystone of imperialism, is also free of the cultural mentality that tolerates the practice on such a vast scale (or on any scale), unlike its afflicted neighbour. It’s also one of the egalitarian advantages that republicanism has over imperialist monarchy.’

    … I guess the ‘The Magdalene Sisters’ had absolutely no basis in fact then?

  • Greenflag

    The history of civilization is the history of slavery. Without the latter there would not have been the former . Every ancient civilisation and Empire was built from the wealth extracted from the labour of slaves .

    Britain can take credit from the fact that she was the first Empire to make slavery illegal. This arose from not just the humanitarian impulses of reformers but also due to increased mechanisation in the 18th and 19th centuries which replaced human labour by machine and thus made it ‘profitable’ to end slavery.

  • Oranges for Sale

    Let’s not overlook the fact that slavery is actually still rampant all over the world. I guess we are all guilty to some extent, i.e. How many of us have purchased cheap clothing manufactured in Asian sweat shops? Rather than making useless gestures about events which occurred 300 years ago, we should be trying to stamp out whatever slavery remains in the 21st century.