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International Coalition for British Reparations: People of the World, it's Time to get Paid.

Letter To The ICBR: Re: Response to your arguements, and a few questions thrown in


For the attention of Steven A. Grasse, or any other members of the
International Coalition for British Reparations,
Recently, I had the displeasure to come across your site, and therefore here
is my response to what you state as „The Facts‰. I apologise for any typing
errors, my spellcheck was broken.

1. „Any student of world history will tell you that if he had to pick a
single nation to pin all the world's troubles on, Britain is far and away
the obvious choice.‰

? I am a student of world history, and would state that one cannot place
blame for all the world‚s evils upon one nation. If I were to blame current
key troubles (climate change and the Middle East Crisis) on one nation, that
would be America.

2. „The Nazis had to pay off the Jews. The U.S. government has settled with
many Indian tribes, offering them land, lucrative casino rights, and in some
cases, cash‰.

? The Nazis did not and do not compensate Jews affected by the Holocaust
? The U.S government did not settle with all Indian tribes, and furthermore,
this is only one of many examples of evils committed by the United States of
America (The Vietnam War, the fuelling of the Middle-East crisis and the
invention of the atomic bomb to name but three)

3. „Sure, Britain isn't behind all of the world's problems‰

? Then why is Britain your only target in this rather ridiculous campaign?

4. „But most of these deaths happened by way of prison camps (a British
invention) or machine guns (another British invention).‰

? I accept Britain invented the machine gun (although much of the
significant development of the machine gun was done my Maxim; and American),
but in the example which you use, it is illogical to consider the Soviet
Union completely innocent, arguing they merely used these methods to kill
millions and did not invent them. Both logically and legally, this is

5. „Stretching more than a millennium to the crowning of Alfred the Great in
871, the British Monarchy is simply one of the oldest continuous
governmental bodies on earth‰

? I apologise for being pedantic, but to have a successful debate detail is
everything. The British Monarchy has not been a continuous governmental body
since 871, as after the English Civil War the Commonwealth was established,
with Oliver Cromwell as Lord Protector of England, not a Monarch. Neither
does it still operate as a governmental body, although it is officially, it
no longer has any governmental power.

6. „Modern Britain was founded through the systematic erasure of indigenous
culture and language.‰

? A country cannot found itself by erasing its „indigenous culture and
language‰, as it would therefore be erasing itself. This would only be
possible in the case of an expansion into a foreign nation, very much like
the Americans did to the Indian tribes.

7. „Anyone who dissented faced extermination. This practice began in

? I presume you have heard of an academic discipline commonly referred to as
„history‰. It may well be in you benefit to study it, as I presume in this
circumstance you primarily refer to the 18th Century wars against the
Jacobites. In this instance, it was after a prolonged military campaign in
which the rebels were defeated in battle only to return and rebel again
(Battles of Sheriffmuir and Culloden) that such extermination occurred. If
one was to investigate the history of most nations, similar exterminations
would have taken place.

8. „The British Empire plundered natural resources‰

? Plundered is such a negative word. It was not piracy, but development of
the economic potential that these nations contained. In almost all
circumstances it improved those nations, which otherwise would have been
very much tribal in their way of life

9. „?and enslaved native peoples‰

? The sorry business of the slave trade has been going on for thousands of
years; it was not invented by the British.
? Although, like all developing countries and many undeveloped countries at
that time, Britain did have a role in the slave trade, it was the first
civilised nation to abolish slavery in 1833. We then actively sought to
abolish the slave trade worldwide, using the Royal Navy to inspect detain
vessels involved in the trade.

10. „Beginning in the 18th century, Britain began making our lives worse
through the introduction of machines in the workplace‰

? This is one of your most entertaining „arguments‰, and if it were a comedy
website, it would be top draw.
? I cannot honestly believe that you this Britain should pay for
revolutionising industry, making our lives richer, more enjoyable and
? Without the Industrial Revolution, the following would not have come
about: (these are not all of the inventions in the period, purely the ones
that I could think of whilst writing this response):

Seed Drill
Selective breeding
McCormick's reaper
Four-course rotation

Steam engine
Coal gas
Electric Light bulb

Flying Shuttle
Spinning Jenny
Water Frame
Crompton's Mule
Bethollet's bleaching process

Iron and Steel
Darby's way of making iron from coke
Cort's Puddling Process
Bessemer Convertor
Steam hammer
Iron bridges, boats

Coal Mining
Upcast shaft
Board and pillar working
Better ventilation techniques

Transport and communication
Screw propeller
Internal combustion engine

Medicine and health
Germ theory
Blood groups
Improved Sewer design
Tin cans

Need I say more?

11. „The health, safety, and wages of workers took a back seat to owners'
greed for ever-higher output and profits‰

? If you believe damage was done to British people, should the government
only be giving them reparation, what right does a New Zealander have to
reparations because of damage done to the British working class in the
Industrial Revolution?
? The British government was the first to face such an issue, and it was
therefore exceptionally difficult for them to know how to manage it, it was
a revolution after all.
? During the Industrial Revolution, particularly in the mid to late 1800s,
Britain had far more proactive legislation on conditions and safety than any
other nation in the world.

12. „The melting of the polar icecaps, the loss of countless plants and
animal species, and the imperiled (I presume you mean imperilled) condition
of the human race on a planet made poisonous by misapplied technology are
all a consequence of British negligence and hunger to accumulate wealth at
any cost.‰

? This is rich coming from an American, if U.S. cars and light trucks were a
country, they would rank fifth in the world in overall CO2 output, equalling
the emissions from all sources in Japan and eclipsing those of Germany,
India and Great Britain. Furthermore, in 1990 America accounted for 36
percent of world greenhouse gas emissions
? Your point that the technology has been misapplied is a fantastic one.
Many thanks for accepting the British inventions of the Industrial
Revolution were not invented to do damage, but have instead been thoroughly
misused by others, most notably the United States of America

13. „The terrorist threat has its roots in British mismanagement of the
Middle East‰

? To some extent, yes. However, as all issues do there is no single cause.
Personally I am of the opinion that American involvement in the Middle East
Crisis, most notably the funding of the Israeli military, has played a more
significant role. The suicide videos of the September the 11th bombers did
not, to my knowledge highlight British imperialism in the 19th and early
20th Centuries as their reason for such evil murder.

14. „Now America is deploying our sons, daughters, and tax dollars to clean
up the mess that Britain made.‰

? It may be a little more accurate if it read as follows: „Now America is
deploying our sons, daughters, and tax dollars to clean up the mess that
former American presidents have made, to secure world oil resources that
the American economy is so dependant upon, and attempt to reconstruct a
country after military invention to topple one of the most evil dictators
the modern world had ever seen‰

15. „The deaths caused by all the major wars of the 19th and early 20th
century could have been prevented, or at least lessened, if the British
hadn't waited until their backs were up against the wall before getting into
the action.‰

? I apologise in advance for being quite blunt about this. This a is a
bloody insult. Let us look at the major wars of the 19th and early 20th
Century and test your historical knowledge:

1. Napoleonic Wars ˆ waited until our backs were against the wall? No, we
won it after war was declared on us, with few allies for the majority of the
Wars, sacrificing thousands of British sailors and soldiers to achieve peace
and stability in Europe. It could not have been prevented, as Napoleon
sought control of all of Europe and Russia.
2. Crimean War ˆ Again, a war in which Britain did not wait, but, with an
Anglo-French alliance, stopped full scale war between an Ottoman-French
alliance and Tsarist Russia, which would have resulted in far more
casualties than the Crimean War did.
3. American Civil War ˆ Britain could not have prevented this, and did not
„get into action‰
4. Franco-Prussian War ˆ Britain did not carry out a military intervention,
after negotiations to prevent a conflict failed, and should not have become
involved. The result would have undoubtedly been a war on the scale of the
Napoleonic wars. Britain also gained an assurance of Belgian neutrality and
5. Now your greatest insult of all ˆ The First World War. A war impossible
to prevent, due to the fractious peace in Eastern Europe, and the strength
of alliances on both sides. Britain did not wait, as a certain United States
of America did, but reacted instantly.
6. If this extends to the Second World War, your statement is even more
ridiculous, as Britain intervened to prevent Hitler conquering all of Europe
and Russia, similarly to what Napoleon had planned. Britain may have
initially attempted appeasement, but only superficially, as during this
time, the investment in the armed rocketed, as Britain prepared for war.
When we intervened it was not when our backs were up against the wall, as
Western Europe had still not been taken. I apologise of constantly using
America to highlight the weakness in your arguments, but it only became
involved when America itself had been targeted at Pearl Harbour, taking
little consideration for the killing that was raging in Europe.

16. „Bad Inventions. Machine guns, slums, prisons, child labor (another
spelling error, you mean labour), bad hygiene, the Black Plague,
concentration camps, you name it. If it hurts people, the British probably
came up with it.‰

? Where to start in ridiculing this has probably been the hardest issue I
have faced when writing my response to your argument. But I shall take it
one step at a time:
? Bad inventions ˆ my previous list of British Industrial Revolution
inventions should be enough to prove my point, but just in case I shall add
Penicillin, jet engines, the World Wide Web and television.
? Machine Guns ˆ most countries have invented some sort of weapon in the
history of the world, the machine gun was a development in weaponry. Given
you are based in America, I shall choose the examples of barbed wire that
killed hundreds of thousands in WW1 and the atomic bomb that killed hundreds
of thousands at Nagasaki and Hiroshima at the press of a button.
? Child labour ˆ Child Labour has been going on for at leas hundreds of
years, as children used to work in the fields.
? Bad hygiene and slums ˆ these were not invented, as they are not designed.
Bad hygiene is a problem that arose in every large town or city at that
time, and was not a problem exclusive to Britain. These arose merely because
we were the one nation to be ambitious, enterprising and intelligent enough
to industrialise. The same problems arises in all other countries that
industrialise rapidly, they naturally occur, they are not inventions.
? The Black Plague ˆ it would be interesting to know your sources for such a
preposterous suggestion. It was experienced in continental Europe before
Britain, as it was not the point of origin. If you are interested enough to
actually want to know its origins, nobody knows. However, to quote Norman
Cantor, Professor Emeritus of History at New York University, recent
scholars, believe that the Plague began in East Africa.
? Prisons ˆ What is so bad about prisons; a place to keep those who harm
others out of society and punish them. Are you truly suggesting that you
would prefer a country with no prisons, where criminals were put to trial
and then walked free regardless of the verdict?

17. „They control what we say through their hold over English, the global
master language‰

? This is balderdash, a language does not control what you say it gives one
means to express oneself, rather than, as you suggest, take it away. If the
English language controlled what one could say, how would you have been able
to write such an Anti-British article, in English?

18. „More recently, they've bought the minds of some of our best and
brightest˜including numerous top U.S. politicians and public
thinkers˜through the Rhodes Scholarship, thus insuring that the false
innocents of Britain's public image never has to face scrutiny‰

? This scholarship is not to indoctrinate the bright, but instead to educate
them at probably the most prestigious academic institution in the world.

19. Your reparation calculation

? I hope you do not try and get this audited, as it would not pass. You
highlight many areas where Britain has „done damage‰ but pick only four
points, with little justification. The sums of two Iraq wars are, if I have
understood this correctly, merely a reimbursement of the sum America has
spent in the war, and does not correlate to your „collateral damage‰
argument that has been constant throughout. Furthermore, Britain was
involved in the Crusades, but so too were other European nations, and
Britain was generally supportive of the Ottoman Empire, particularly in the
? The Opium war settlement at Nanking, as all peace treaties were at that
time, benefited the victor; the same happened with all major wars in this
period, before, and for some time afterwards.
? The Versailles settlement was not „extortion‰, it was for Germany to pay
for the rebuilding of Europe after it had destroyed it. Secondly, Britain
was not the sole benefactor, with other countries such as France and
Belgium, receiving more than Britain did. The settlement was extorted by
Britain, it was an agreement reached between the Germans, French, British
and the Americans. Finally, Germany did not pay all of the reparations, as
Hitler refused to.
20. Interest

? What interest rate are you using here? To me it sounds like an excellent
investment. If I were to invest £26, 93 years later it would be worth
£25000. Could you please refer me to a bank with such a generous interest
rate. Many thanks.

21. You claim your organisation is „massive‰ and I presume it does have
mass, but how many actual active members does your organisation have? By
active members I mean people frequently involved in campaigning, debate,
fundraising etc. not simply people who have „signed‰ the online petition, as
I have a healthy distrust of the things.

22. „letting the British Empire get away with savaging the world's culture,
economy, and environment without having to pay any price sets a terrible

? I am now quite tired of trouncing these rather poor arguments, so I shall
be brief. We built much of the world culture, and the majority of the world
economy, rather than savaged it as you suggested.
? Your reparations for Versailles argument was based upon the fact that you
cannot punish a country that has done something awful, you yourself judged
it „extortion‰ and „unfair‰. How are reparations 32 times the GDP of that
country not „unfair‰?
? You also say this was a primary cause of WW2, which it was. Why do
something even more ridiculous. Do you want another world war, but time with
nuclear weapons?

23. How will you „distribute the reparations monies equally between all the
people of the world‰?

To close, your arguments are weak, your „facts‰ wrong, your opinions
unjustified and attitude rather naïve. To blame the evils of the world on a
country with a population of sixty million is ludicrous. By now I understand
that you are a staunch opponent of Imperialism, but Britain was relatively
good in comparison to other imperial nations. One need only examine the
Spanish invasion of South America to see that Britain‚s ruling of its
colonies, and development of their economies was relatively good, despite
being far from perfect. I have little understanding of why you launched such
a campaign, and hope you shall soon tire of it, for you own sake, as I doubt
our great Queen will ever find the time to accept your petition in person. I
would appreciate a response to my arguments, as, in every debate, one cannot
make conclusions until you have nullified any arguments against what one has
suggested. I presume you are someone interested in politics, and should
therefore relish such a challenge. Naturally, the lack of a response will
solely prove the fact that my arguments are close to watertight, and your
debating skills are lacking to the extent you cannot even find any minor
flaws that may have crept in. I hope, that in my actions, I have
demonstrated that, although you may have an ingrained hatred of Britain (the
origin of which I would be interested to know), your dreams of receiving
£4,770, which would actually be around $9,540 due to the current weakness of
the dollar against the pound, will never be realised.
Yours Sincerely

Jack Rendle

And yes, I am British and proud of it

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