The UK’s Sewell report reveals a failure to see racism for what it is
Britain is better aware of its inadequacies than earlier but still bristles when warts are pointed out
British foreign policy has often been described as ‘perfidious Albion’, another name for duplicitous conduct in pursuit of self-interest. Tell some things to some, something else to others, keep cards close to your chest, and bend the rules to get what the British elite desire. It goes back at least to the 17th century Treaty of Limerick, which gave Irish Catholics a few rights, but these were soon revoked to reassert the pre-existing order. Elegant phrases gloss over crass inhumanity, making injustice seem inconsequential and replacing brazenness with insidiousness. For example, Britain claims credit for abolishing the slave trade, after which it created indentured labour.