A blast from the not too distant past from Boris Johnson.
Justin Trudeau had his blackface problem. Bad, very bad. But it doesn't hold a candle to Boris Johnson's past musings about British colonialism in Africa.
Boris Johnson said colonialism in Africa should never have ended and downplayed Britain’s role in the slave trade, an article written by the prime minister while he was a Tory MP reveals.
Critics are urging Mr Johnson to explain whether he still holds the views expounded in the 2002 piece, where he argued that Africans would not have grown the right crops for export without British direction.
“The continent may be a blot, but it is not a blot upon our conscience,” he wrote. “The problem is not that we were once in charge, but that we are not in charge any more.”
BoJo is virulently opposed to British anti-racism protests.
The prime minister this week argued for the retention of controversial statues of slavers and British colonialists in UK cities, which he said should stay up because they “teach us about our past with all its faults”.In the past he argued that colonial plantation agriculture was the best thing that ever happened to Africans.
“If left to their own devices, the natives would rely on nothing but the instant carbohydrate gratification of the plantain ... the colonists correctly saw that the export market was limited.”
Suggesting that one way to boost the economy of African countries would be for British tourists to holiday in them, Mr Johnson wrote: “The best fate for Africa would be if the old colonial powers, or their citizens, scrambled once again in her direction; on the understanding that this time they will not be asked to feel guilty.”
The shadow secretary of state for women and equalities, Marsha de Cordova, said: “Boris Johnson’s past comments are an example of why we need to educate people about the impact of colonialism.
“The legacy of British colonialism and its role in the slave trade is a scar on our society. To infer this is something to be proud of, and that African countries are worse off because they are no longer ruled by the empire, is an insult to millions.”