David Blackburn

Paxo Britannica

A ‘gigantic confidence trick’ — that is how Jeremy Paxman describes the British Empire. The first episode of the TV series which accompanies his book, Empire: What ruling the World Did to the British, aired last night.

Paxman’s thesis can be reduced into a string of his trademark soundbites. British imperialism was a ‘protection racket’, based on the conceit that a handful of well-equipped soldiers and well-educated officials could provide stable government for the feckless potentates of India, Africa and the Middle East.

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