Minister slams BLM over 'cartoon-like view' of the British Empire

Minister slams BLM over 'cartoon-like view' of the British Empire

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng slams Black Lives Matter for a ‘cartoon-like view’ of the British Empire and attacks calls to ‘decolonise’ history lessons by saying that schools should teach MORE about the UK’s imperial past

The most senior black minister in the Government hit out today at calls to ‘decolonise’ teaching of Britain’s imperial past, saying schools should tell children more about the nation’s difficult history.

New Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng also accused the Black Lives Matter campaign of having a ‘cartoon-like view’ of colonialism and the British Empire.

In an interview with the BBC’s Political Thinking podcast he attacked protesters who tore down and defaced statues of slave traders and other historical figures with chequered pasts, describing it as ‘an act of vandalism.

Mr Kwarteng, 45, whose parents came to the UK from Ghana in the 1960s, said : ‘I don’t think you can just rip down statues – I mean that’s illegal and an act of vandalism.

‘People should learn more about the empire. I don’t quite understand what ”decolonising the curriculum” means.

‘Is the implication that it’s a colonial relic and that you’ve got to try and decolonise it? ‘I’m saying the opposite – that you’ve got to learn more about colonialism.’

New Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng (right) accused the Black Lives Matter campaign of having a ‘cartoon-like view’ of colonialism and the British Empire.

In an interview with the BBC’s Political Thinking podcast he attacked protesters who tore down and defaced statues of slave traders and other historical figures with chequered pasts, describing it as ‘an act of vandalism.

Mr Kwarteng took over as secretary of state from Alok Sharma, who was appointed full-time president of the UN Cop26 climate conference, three weeks ago.

He has previously not been afraid to call out racism in the UK. Last February he attacked Andrew Sabisky, who was ousted as a No10 adviser over vile social media posts.

Mr Sabisky – a self-style ‘superforecaster’ – quit amid fury at past comments in which he talked about forced contraception of the ‘underclass’ and suggested black people had lower IQs.  

Mr Kwarteng, then a junior business minister,  said there must be ‘much more severe’ vetting in No10 so the same mistakes could not ‘happen again’.

‘What I do know is his remarks were offensive and racist and as soon as they came to light he left the government pretty quickly,’ Mr Kwarteng told Sky News.

Speaking to the BBC today he attacked Black Lives |Matter for a one-dimensional view of British history. 

‘I’m not someone who is obsessed with trying to correct history. I think you’ve got to understand history and understand that it’s very complex and there are different arguments that are presented and I have a plea to understand the arguments and the context of the British Empire,’ he said.

‘Even when you say the phrase the British Empire, you’re talking about something that lasted more or less 400 years and covered a huge expanse of territory.

‘So within that time and geography there’s a huge amount of variety, different cultures and different time periods and getting a sensitivity to that is hugely important.

‘I think a lot of the debate around Black Lives Matter and imperialism or colonialism has a very kind of cartoon-like view of what was happening over centuries across a quarter of the world.’  

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