Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Monday, May 30, 2005

The Telegraph's after Thabo
The most verbose journalism of the week award goes to the UK's Telegraph newspaper for its attack on Thabo Mbeki for "lambasting" UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown over comments made on British imperialism.

Mbeki was discussing the various positions on Africa and Africanism on Africa Day in his usual Friday missive, and he quoted an article by Seamus Milne in the UK Guardian entitled "Britain: imperial nostalgia". Mbeki highlights Brown's comments quoted in the article, basically stating that the Britain should not be apologetic over colonialism and should be proud of its imperialist history. Mbeki's point is that Britain has never apologised for colonial crimes and that it is "a matter of serious concern" that Gordon Brown would make such a statement, when he is seen to be the custodian of Labour's Africa policy. Mbeki undoubtedly has a point here, especially when Brown's comments were made when he was in Africa.

The Telegraph labels Mbeki's comments as "furious" and wrongfully associates quotes from Mbeki with his comments on Brown, when he was actually discussing the white minority view in South Africa. The entire 2000-plus word letter has less than 100 words discussing Brown's comments. Clearly, the vested interest of the Telegraph's conservative slant is aimed squarely at reveling in an African leader having a pop at a Labour government slip-up.