Rethinking the British Empire and its Legacy Today

Rethinking the British Empire and its Legacy Today

On Thursday, 13th February, the British Foreign Policy Group welcomed Dr Maya Goodfellow, Professor Simon Heffer, Dr Shahmima Akhtar, Professor Sally Tomlinson and Professor Robert Tombs, for a discussion on ‘Rethinking the British Empire and its Legacy Today.’

Chaired by Director of the British Foreign Policy Group, Sophia Gaston, the panel discussed the framing of the ‘Empire question,’ with Dr Maya Goodfellow arguing that we should ‘move the conversation to ‘how we remember Empire,’ rather than arguing about whether it was something we should be proud or ashamed of.

The panellists broadly agreed on improving education around Empire at all education levels, and Professor Sally Tomlinson said that: ‘education has failed at all levels to alleviate xenophobia that people have been subjected to… and contributed to lies and misinformation on Empire.’

The panel considered the nuances of the British Empire, and reflected not only on the actions of the British government in the time of empire, but also on how those actions have filtered into our public discourse today. The panel considered the recent Labour Party manifesto, and its calls for a commission into Empire and reparations, in an engaging and thoughtful debate on the political and historical questions surrounding the British Empire.

The British Foreign Policy Group is an independent, non-partisan think tank based in London. Through dynamic research, events and networks, we seek to strengthen the UK’s international engagement, and advance our understanding of global affairs in the 21st Century.

You can listen to the full event below. To receive updates on upcoming British Foreign Policy Group research and events, please sign up to our newsletter.

Matt Gillow

Matt is the Communications & Events Manager at the British Foreign Policy Group.