On 1st April 2007 I blogged a piece about the then proposal that Tony Blair should deliver an apology over the role of this country in the Slave Trade. I criticised the Archbishops of Canterbury and York who wanted the apology to go ahead. My take on it was that the slave trade ended a very long time ago, attitudes in much of society were vastly different at that time and that for Blair to say sorry for something that neither he nor his government had put into place was a total nonsense. I stick with that opinion 100% and see no reason at all to alter it.
The reason I am mentioning this again is that I see that Gordon Brown is set to make an apology, not over any of the mistakes he is responsible for of course. No this bit of news concerns the child migration scheme which over the decades sent thousands of young children from this country to the colonies, principally Australia. Many of them were told, incorrectly, that their parents were dead. Huge numbers were abused. It is now regarded as a truly shameful episode in this country's history and what might seem particularly surprising is that it didn't stop until 1970!
Following the logic of my earlier blogpost I ought to be condemning Brown's intentions I suppose. However the slavery thing was absolutely clear cut but this is a little different. Bear in mind that 40 years ago children were still being packed off to another country - therefore, fairly obviously, there are folk still alive today who were on the receiving end of the policy. I'm still not totally happy with the concept of apologising for something over which you had no say but, having said that, these people should receive some sort of apology and I guess it is down to the Prime Minister to do this. Brown's counterpart in Australia, Kevin Rudd, will be saying sorry to the several thousand still in that country this week.
There is a piece about Australia's child migrants on the BBC website here. You can also read about the 'Child Migrant Trust' by clicking here.