[QODLink]
EMPIRE
The sun never sets
It once ruled a quarter of the world, but what is so great about Great Britain?
Last Modified: 29 Aug 2010 14:00 GMT

Britannia, so the song went, ruled the waves, and for more than a century, much of the planet - in 1922 that was 458 million people, and 33,670000 square kilometres, one quarter of the world's population and total land mass.

THIS MONTH'S GUESTS

Tony Benn
Former Labour minister in the British government
Sir Christopher Meyer
Former British ambassador to the US
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown
Journalist and author
Ken Loach
Film director

But since World War II, the United Kingdom has been in terminal decline. 
 
Today, Britain is a fifth rate military power, and a fifth rate economic force, a country that cannot even win at sports it invented - see cricket, rugby and tennis.

And yet London still decides the fate of 16 overseas territories, with a grand total of 230-odd-thousand people, who still claim to be members of the British Commonwealth.

INTERVIEWEES

Dr Priyamvada Gopal
Professor of Colonial Studies, Cambridge University
Dr David Washbrook
Author of India & the British Empire
Professor Rashid Khalidi
Author of Resurrecting Empire
Anthony Howard
Parliamentary historian
Professor Joseph Nye
Former chair of the National Security Council

But Britain also helped decide the fate of millions of Iraqis when Tony Blair, the then British prime minister, unilaterally decided to back George Bush, the then US president, in his illegal invasion.
 
So what gives this faded island off the coast of Europe the right to act like a global power player? What is so great about Great Britain?

This episode of Empire can be seen from Wednesday, May 26, at the following times GMT: Wednesday: 1900; Thursday: 0300, 1400; Friday: 0600; Saturday: 1900; Sunday: 0300.

Source:
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Western fighters have streamed into the Middle East to help 'liberate' Arab countries such as Syria and Libya.
The Pakistani government is proposing reform of the nation's madrassas, which are accused of fostering terrorism.
Weaving and handicrafts are being re-taught to a younger generation of Iraqi Kurds, but not without challenges.
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Featured
Deaths of 13 Sherpas in Nepal has shone a light on dangerous working conditions in the Everest-climbing industry.
Al Jazeera investigation uncovers allegations of beatings and rape in Kenya's ongoing anti-terrorism operation.
Incumbent Joyce Banda has a narrow lead, but anything is possible in Malawi's May 20 elections.
Western fighters have streamed into the Middle East to help 'liberate' Arab countries such as Syria and Libya.
The Pakistani government is proposing reform of the nation's madrassas, which are accused of fostering terrorism.
join our mailing list