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DECLINE .... and FALL?

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is perhaps the most famous history book ever written. All empires decline, either gracefully or violently. Including the British Empire. But do they all fall?

Decline is what has happened to us since the Second World War (though perhaps we had not noticed it). I am a supporter of the British Empire. Of course, there were historical horrors like slavery and the Amritsar massacre in 1919. But seen as a whole, our Empire was a blessing to the world. It brought to many countries, from India to Africa and the South Seas, the blessings of democracy, the rule of law, education, and medicine, not to mention Christianity. If the Empire was such a diabolical imposition on the Colonies, as so many people today seem to think, then why are the children of Empire so keen to come here, even risking their lives in small boats crossing the Channel?

However, the two World Wars, with hindsight, exhausted us in the old mother country, financially, economically, mentally, and spiritually. You can see the decline in every way. We have lost our confidence, our energy, our vision, even our faith in God, over these post-war years. Now, we cannot be bothered even to look after ourselves, never mind an Empire. We do not seem to have enough doctors or nurses, pharmacists, postmen or even dustman to do the jobs: waiting lists for appointments, undelivered post and unemptied dustbins are now the pattern of everyday life. We depend more and more on immigrants to come and do the work for us. All of which is aggravated by a new wave of interminable strikes, and some 1.5 million people of working age who are not working but drawing out-of-work benefits.

Perhaps the greatest irony of post-imperial Britain is that we are now ruled by a Government in which the three highest offices of State, Prime Minister, Foreign and Home Secretaries, are all held by coloured people, all children or grandchildren of the Empire. But perhaps I can draw some comfort from this, and even some hope, for the future of this tired old country. Has God sent these beneficiaries of the British Empire to come and save the old mother country in its geriatric decline?

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