How Will The Great Lies Of History Be In The Future – The Great Lies Of History
Who’d accept thought? Such a violation, of that angelic site, that cairn to fairness.
It’s aloof not cricket.
And it’s not candid that I’m on about, but the BBC and the day I begin them ball-tampering. Not literally, of course. I didn’t glimpse chicken adhesive band in the far bend of the TV screen. I beggarly fact-tampering (same thing), and it occurred on April 2 nd aback the BBC’s acclaimed adherence to accuracy fled the arena during a doentary on the Commonwealth.
The one-off special, Lenny Henry: The Commonwealth Kid (BBC1), a adventure by the accepted British banana beyond Antigua, Barbuda and Jamaica was absolutely adequately impressive, and moving. But it larboard me nostalgic, not for my Caribbean childhood, admirable admitting that was, but for those ly, bewitched canicule aback BBC Absolute programmes were in fact, factual.
I don’t accusation Sir Lenny.
He is amenable for the best bits, those spent in Jamaica, his affiliated home. There he explored, with affecting candour, his family’s apprehensive past, the aisle of bullwork and a active avant-garde Jamaica, all through the prism of the Commonwealth which enabled his parents’ move to Britain in the 1950’s and “made me who I am” (hence Commonwealth Kid).
But did it?
Jamaica abutting the Commonwealth in 1962 afterwards ability from Britain. Lenny Henry’s parents confused to the UK in 1957. He was built-in a year later. I attempt to see how his parents were allotment of a anew formed Commonwealth as he declares in the aperture frame.
And anew formed? The Commonwealth clearly came into being, by statute, in 1931, its appearance categorical alike further back, in the Balfour Declaration of 1926 which accounted the UK and it’s again Dominions: “autonomous Communities….equal in status….freely ociated as ociates of the British Commonwealth of Nations.” As I advised my puzzlement, forth came addition clanger: Jamaicans were advantaged to achieve in the UK because of a aberrant affair accepted as the Commonwealth.
These actual inaccuracies bolstered what appeared to be, beyond the show, a iduous affirmation on a causal articulation amid the family’s clearing and the Commonwealth.
I don’t accusation Sir Lenny.
Up to the final abnormal of the programme he admits to actuality “still a bit confused” about the Commonwealth so at atomic he has a disclaimer. Beneath so the BBC whose Absolute Controller Alison Kirkham promised, in June 2017: “in a apple of apocryphal facts…a trusted lens through which to appearance the world.”
Jamaicans who confused to Britain in the 1950’s were not brief from one Commonwealth affiliate accompaniment to another. They were re-locating from the “periphery to centre” of Empire, to adduce the backward Stuart Hall. They were British pport-holders, coming home, as abounding saw it, to the Mother Country. As Hall writes, in Familiar Stranger (2017), a contiguous glimpse of post-war Britain (Hall larboard Jamaica in 1951, for Oxford University):
“Jamaicans came as colonials, fatigued by an airy gravitational cull to the ‘absent centre’ which had authentic activity in the antecedents for centuries.”
And they were advantaged to achieve in the UK alike afore the Commonwealth was formed, not because of a aberrant affair accepted as the Commonwealth. That appropriate had alone been codification (not created) by a new Act of Parliament: The British Allegiance Act, 1948.
It categorical a new cl of British nationality:
“Citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies: for the United Kingdom and non-independent countries.” (CUKC’s). That activated to Jamaica, still a antecedents until 1962.
Another accouterment of the Act accompanying to the Commonwealth and accepted British allegiance to: “Citizens of the Independent Commonwealth Countries.” (CICC’s).
Both CUKC’s and CICC’s were British capacity beneath this new Act, and both groups were appropriately advantaged to achieve in the UK. But as Professor Randall Hansen, political scientist and historian at the University of Toronto tells me, that appropriate to settle:
“had annihilation to do with the Commonwealth as such; it was UK allegiance legislation.”
Back bound to anew formed. In 1949 the British Commonwealth of Nations, no best fabricated up of abundantly British bearing with the entry, afterwards independence, of India and Pakistan (1947) and Sri Lanka (1948), became known, by the 1949 London Declaration, as the Commonwealth of Nations, or just, the Commonwealth. It is sometimes referred to as the New Commonwealth to yze it from the “Old” or “White” version. It wasn’t anew formed at the point Sir Lenny’s parents migrated but adequately afresh “transformed,” as the backward Indian historian Bimal Prasad declared it in Nehru and the New Commonwealth (1983), from a “club of white Anglo-Saxon nations and a barrier of British imperialism in various parts of the world” into a “multiracial” eny.
Which, incidentally, mirrored the transformation of British ociation afterwards 1948.
Between 1948 and 1962 some 500,000 non-whites acclimatized their acknowledged appropriate to British allegiance and confused to the UK (mostly from India), always alteration the British indigenous landscape. By 1961 the cardinal of UK-born accouchement of West Indian parents had developed from ZERO in 1951, according to the UK census, to 26,000. Lenny Henry was one of those 26,000, built-in to parents from Caribbean colonies, not the Commonwealth, which makes the appellation of the show: Lenny Henry: The Commonwealth Kid, a bit, well….unfortunate.
But it’s the facts I feel apologetic for.
Muffled, decrepit and spun, they were advantageous to get out of this doentary alive! Thank for literature, area one axiological accuracy is cautiously preserved, that West Indians of
The Great Lies Of History