Colonialism is often in the news and as a ‘former’ colony Australians might have some sympathy for the Indian perspective presented by Shashi Tharoor for the affirmative side of this debate “Does Britain owe reparations”.
Or do we feel that although Australia was a colony of Britain for over one hundred years between 1788 and 1900 it was not like the other British colonies.
It could be argued that Australians need to think again, and that Australia might find a lot of food for thought in this short speech having regard to the enthusiasm of both major parties – even ALP ‘Left Wingers’ like Penny Wong – for supporting and allowing massive levels of barely regulated control and influence over Australian infrastructure, industries, assets, workers AND the political and policy class to pass into foreign hands.
When foreigners increasingly control or effectively control your companies, your infrastructure, your land, your housing, your mineral resources and the volume of workers and the conditions under which they work can you honestly still claim that you are not on a slippery slope to colony status?
If the politicians in both major parties insist that we should allow massive amounts of foreign control over our economy as they accept massive donations from foreign (or local branch offices) of foreign companies, individuals and governments can we honestly claim that we can resist the process of foreign colonisation.
As a consequence of the speech above ‘going viral’ the speaker recently completed a book “Inglorious Empire” that details the ‘colonial’ experience of India and that is well worth a read by all Australians.
While we may have not experienced the worst of the Indian experience we should not take our status as a sovereign independent nation for granted.
Modern colonialism may not involve a single country or corporation marching down your streets and running their flag up your poles but it can still rob your wallet and without you even realising what is happening.
We’re a sovereign nation, we are not in the same league as the Indians being colonised by the British. I was aware of those figures about the Americans and British – in fact they also own huge chunks of the Big Four Banks. Our situation is much better than (say) the Greeks who have forfeited lots of their control to Brussels. I agree with you that the situation with the gas and electricity gouge isn’t good but all we really need is a government with a spine and we can take back control of our nation… calling the next Ben Chifley?
What – they’re still blaming the British 70 years later for the fact that it’s a stonking cesspool of corruption? Whose fault is that? Imran Khan said it beautifully when he opined that the third world would forever be poor because they were incapable of stopping the endemic nepotism and corruption that keeps them poor. They should take some responsibility instead of trying to blame a former colonial master – it’s like the Irish trying to blame their GFC misfortunes on the British instead of their own financial mis-management and the rush to join the EU.
Having said that I think you are absolutely right that we should not be chipping away at our own sovereignty by allowing the grand sale to end all sales, especially on crucial national assets like ports and energy. Tony Abbott’s “open for business” comment on election night was fair warning of what was to come (read: “everything is for sale”).
I think it is worth watching the video as blaming the British for present day corruption is not really what it is about.
I repeat my point – it’s been seventy years since the British have left India, Tharoor is talking about the British occupation like it’s still something that’s going on. Like Jacob Zuma still blaming Apartheid era for the deprivations of the majority of South Africans – at what point do you stop blaming your former colonial masters and take responsibility for the endemic poverty in your own nation?
He specifically refers to the point you are making and agrees with you. What is more he specifically says he is not asking for reparations but just acknowledgment that wrongs were done. What is wrong with that?
The colonisation of India was at the end of a barrel of a gun. You might think that aggressive colonisers owe the countries they colonise nothing but arguing that the countries they colonise are ‘whingers’ for simply pointing out the historical facts of colonisation is a bit unreasonable.
Plus I am not sure why you think Australians should resist voluntary economic colonisation if forced colonisation and foreign ownership is no big deal and produces no lasting damage.
Keep in mind that there are lots of Australians – especially in both major parties and the business media – arguing for economic colonisation of Australia as being ‘good’ for us. They often claim that any Australian who argues against them is a whinger too.
Bad politicians often look for ‘excuses’ but that does not mean there is no basis for any of their complaints. The idea that more than a few of the problems encountered by Indian post independence might have something to do with several hundred years of administration designed to extract wealth does not seem far fetched to me.
The former colonies that seem to have done best (USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia) were those with lots of Europeans who had more than a few advantages when it came to negotiating or forcing the end of their colonisation.
We’ll just rip the Chinese off the same way we ripped off the Japanese in the early 90’s when the QLD real estate market tanked… the Chinese are paying over tote for lots of things in this country in the belief that they can either get enormous returns or that they can ultimately socially and politically colonise us. How wrong they are! Others have already tried and failed.
Tried and failed?
Is that why 23 million people sitting on a gold mine of natural resources are paying through the nose for electricity? Is that why despite our resources we are running up massive debts overseas when people like the Norwegians own a trillion dollars worth of assets?
I think you are forgetting our true economic masters in the US and the UK. They still dwarf the Japanese and Chinese. You should check out DFATs fact sheet for Australia and Japan. They are still buying up our assets hand over fist.
Australians are great for colonisers because they insist they are not colonised when it is clear they are and they love digging themselves in deeper believing that we can sell off assets and claims to our future income endlessly.
Even though we exported $16B more than we bought from Japan last year ($19B v $36B) they still invested over $90B FDI – versus what looks like zippo – (roughly 5 times our trade surplus) in Australia?
Click to access japan.pdf
If we have a cunning plan to rip Japan off it had better be a good one because it looks like they are buying up a lot of assets.