FD Hoskins expresses the strong view that this country should NOT be asked to apologise for events in our history.
The idea that this generation can and should 'apologise' for the actions of a past generation is ludicrous and futile. Is the country as a whole required to apologise - or only the British of white descent; which brings to mind Lord Tebbit's question "Which side do you support in a test match?
This constant badgering of the white population of today about the slave trade, in which they had no part, does nothing constructive but, on the contrary, is likely to harm race relations.
It has been suggested that if there is to be a Slavery Commemoration Day there should also be a Peasants' Revolt commemoration, while others say that it is time to get off our knees and stop apologising. I agree with the latter, but if we are to indulge in this sort of thing why not have a day to commemorate the transportation of convicts? We could also commemorate the brutalities of the press gang, flogging in the army and navy, shooting at dawn, witch hunting, burning at the stake for religious heresy, the workhouse, child labour in the mines and factories, chimney sweep boys - and many more.
To make it more convenient, and so as not to disrupt life too much, we could lump all these commemorations together into a National Self-abasement Day when we could reflect on all the things our forebears might or might not have done, whether deliberately or accidentally, centuries ago. It could be named "Sackcloth Day" and we could all wear wrist bands made of sackcloth (a Fair Trade product, of course).
F D Hoskins