The tragic death of George Floyd has had an impact well beyond U.S. borders with the ripple effects being felt right around the world. In the UK, increasing awareness of slavery and colonial oppression resulted in crowds toppling statues of slave owners earlier this year. A statue of Winston Churchill, Britain's wartime prime minister, was also under threat of being pulled down with the authorities stating that it may have to be relocated to a museum.
Churchill is credited with providing Britain with the resolve it needed to make it through the darkest hours of the Second World War but he has also been criticized for his policies in some colonies, particularly his inaction during the 1943 Bengal famine in India which saw three million people die. He has also been blamed for dispatching the paramilitary Black & Tans to Ireland during the Irish War of Independence where they went on to commit numerous atrocities.
While the true number of people who died under the British Empire remains unknown, some sources claim that at least 29 million Indians starved to death during the late 19th century as a result of deliberately adopted British policies while some Irish researchers blame the catastrophic potato famine on a lack of action and support from Westminster. That resulted in one million deaths and another million people emigrating.
Considering the British Empire's reputation, it might come as a surprise to hear that more than a quarter of people in the UK wish they still had an empire, according to YouGov. They are by no means alone with 26 percent of people in the Netherlands wishing their empire was still in place. It is estimated that 15 million people died as a result of Belgian colonial oppression in the Congo and 21 percent of Belgians wish they still had an empire. Controversies are continuing in the UK with the BBC recently backtracking on halting a TV performance of patriotic songs Rule, Britannia! and Land of Hope and Glory. Both songs have proven controversial due to perceived historical links with slavery and colonialism