At last, someone stands up for the British Empire. We've had to get used to sneering comments of how 'brutal' and 'inhumane' we were to the poor inhabitants of the 'oppressed' lands which made it up. Now, in an article in the Sunday Times, Lawrence James writes a spirited defence.... ''Empires of one sort or another have been a constant of history. They grow, wither and leave their legacies. I believe that on balance the British empire was a force for good and should be a source of national pride. It provided an interlude of stability in which countries divided by race and religion could develop and, in the case of India, discover a national identity. Alongside railways, schools, universities, hospitals and sanitation projects, the empire introduced political and social ideas dear to the British. These included extending civil rights to women, a free press and, most important of all, a culture of popular consent and reasoned debate. English spread as the language of learning, law and commerce.'' Full article:- http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2092-2230453,00.html What is your opinion?