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Opinions of Friday, 20 November 2009

Columnist: Appiah-Yeboah, Kwame

Hypocrisy of the British

The recent revelations coming out of the Mabey and Johnson corruption proceeding in the UK has reaffirmed my long held convictions, that the British people are nothing but hypocrites. A brief examination of British relations with their colonies, especially those in Africa, will back my assertions.

As a people, the British love to reap where they have not sown. Their hypocrisy knows no bounds. They love to preach virtue while practicing vice. They run with the hounds while chasing the hares. The British came to Africa with Bibles in one hand, alcohol in the other hand, and guns hidden under their tunics. While the natives welcomed them with open arms, the British were plotting to steal and enslave them. In short they came to deceive, pillage, kill, and loot to enrich their motherland. In Ghana (Gold Coast) they built rail links directly to the main sources of raw materials (cocoa, gold, bauxite, timber, etc) and neglected the rest of the country. I am sure the early and latter day explorers convinced themselves that they were in Africa to bring light to a dark continent.

The British championed and actively supported the slave trade. When it became politically incorrect to support the slave trade, the British changed their tune and fought against the very system they had propagated. PM Callaghan, Thatcher, and others before them were the number one defenders of the racist South African regime known as Apartheid. This was a system that treated black South Africans as second class citizens in their own land. I remember Thatcher in particular vehemently and dogmatically opposing imposition of sanctions on the racist South African regime. Her hollow argument being that it will bring untold hardship on the black majority. Her real motive however, was to protect British investments in South Africa. When the tide turned and Mandela was freed, Britain was the first country to extend an invitation for him to visit their shores.

One will ask; all this is in the past, the British of today are very different from their ancestors? Nope. They are the same two-faced goody-goody phonies. The hypocritical British lead by PM Blair was the only other major power to support G. W. Bush in his murderous rampage across Iraq. Now that the Brits have lost their influential role among the world’s elite, they love to hang on to the coattails of the Americans to feel relevant. When British defense firm BAE was accused of bribery and corruption in the Al Yamamah arms deal with Saudi Arabia, the SFO of UK was ordered to stop its’ investigation. Attorney General Lord Goldsmith declared that the decision to drop the probe was made in the wider public interest, which had to be balanced against the rule of law. When is corruption in public interest and when is it against public interest. Corruption is corruption. Whether it is by Africans, Jamaicans, or Americans; whether it is by Anglicans, Episcopals, Catholics, or Protestants, it is still corruptions. Only the hypocritical British can qualify corruption in the name of public interest.

In the Mabey and Johnson case, the British court did not name one single Director of the company involved in the corruption case. Meanwhile, they named several Ghanaian officials. Those directly and those indirectly involved in the case. Even going as far as to name officials of the then ruling party who were not involved in the case. If Mabey and Johnson self reported their misdeeds to the SFO, why couldn’t they name a single director. That was the hypocrisy of the British at work.

I am in no way condoning the activities of the bribe collecting officials from Ghana; they are as guilty as sin and should be dealt with according to the laws of the land. But the bribe giving officials should have been named and shamed, and possibly prosecuted as well. They are equally guilty with the bribe takers. To the Brits I say: “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.”In Matthew 23:27-28 Jesus said: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, HYPOCRITES! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”

The Brits are paying and will continue paying the price for their hypocrisy. Their best brands are being taken over by foreigners: Rolls Royce, Bentley and Rover are now owned by the Germans, Jaguar and Land Rover by the Indians. Even their soccer clubs Manchester City and United, Liverpool, Chelsea, etc are now owned by foreigners. Land Rover, the quintessential symbol of British supremacy is now owned by Indians! How many times have I seen a white British master being driven by his Indian or African driver? Now there is a reversal of roles. I can’t help but picture the day the Indian owners of Land Rover will visit the plant at Solihull, and the British workers lined up and bowing to their new bosses with their fake smiles.

Now the SFO of UK and Ghana are both probing the divesture of Ghana Telecom to Vodafone International. Observers are watching to see if the public interest excuse will be used to halt the probe in UK. Hypocrites come in all shades and colors but the British Empire personifies it.

By Kwame Appiah-Yeboah