Britain, like every other imperialist power involved, should do more than apologise for her role in the slave trade, as well as other atrocities committed by her Empire. Britain has a moral duty to atone fully for the appalling legacy of discrimination and social deprivation suffered by generations of Afro-Caribbean peoples. But for wannabe British Deputy Prime Minister Peter Hain to apologise, on behalf of Wales, for Wales’ role in this crime against humanity is misleading in the least.
Yes, of course there were Welshmen – mostly Anglicised landowners – among those who had their dirty hands of greed at various levels of this evil trade, and there’s no denying our obligation to apologise for the actions of these leeches that our country unwittingly produced.
But why should Wales as a country, nation and post-devolution proto-state, have to apologise for the actions of the British State? Politically, Wales did not exist at the time of the Slave Trade. Wales had no government or voice of her own, she was politically, administratively and constitutionally a part of England. No Welsh government caused, nor built its economy on the back of, this deliberate human misery. No Welsh Government conquered a fifth of the world and enslaved human beings to facilitate economic growth for its colonies and their Motherland.
No, these heinous crimes were committed by Great Britain, a state that neither Wales nor her people had a democratic voice in its affairs, and a state that served no interest other than the landowning classes of the English/British State and its Crown.
If anybody should speak for Wales it should be our democratically elected Assembly First Minister, not the Blair-appointed British Government Minister who, rather than apologise on our behalf for a crime we did not commit, should be apologising on behalf of the English/British state for dragging us into such a disgraceful state of affairs.