Take, for instance, Liz Jones, who notes the recent controversy over the government's refusal to apologise for the events of the Kenya Uprising:
A contemporary radio interview was replayed on Radio 4, in which a woman with the clipped tones of Celia Johnson was describing how several ‘boys’ attacked her in her home, her dog then set about one of them, and unfortunately (her word) she shot her dog by mistake. It was the sort of recording that makes you ashamed to be British.Steady on, love! We can't all be good shots, you know...
But of course, that's not what she means. To a certain type of progressive, the idea that a woman - or man - might defend themselves with deadly force when attacked and, what's more, not be sorry to do so is anathema.
My father was deployed to fight the Mau Mau and so, rather than just being ashamed to belong to a particular nation, more pertinently I had to ask myself this question: Was he a racist, part of a rotten regime?You just know the answer she's seeking is going to be 'Yes' no matter what, don't you?
My father died more than a decade ago. I went to see my mum on the day of that replayed radio broadcast, last Thursday. She is suffering from dementia, which means she has no idea whether she has had lunch that day or not. I rummaged around for the box of family photos, and tipped them out in a pile.Just savour that image. Mother gaga, dutiful daughter visits to...rummage through old photos for a newspaper column. That's cold.
My mum’s most vivid memory was the night the military police turned up and arrested Josephine, who had taken the Mau Mau oath. What happened to her, no one knows. The family never saw or heard from her again.It never crosses her mind to wonder why, does it? And readers of a nervous disposition might want to avoid too much Googling of just what that oath actually meant.
Now, my mum is looked after in her own home by a succession of full-time nurses. They are nearly always African.
My mum has to sit on a hoist to be moved from chair to bed, and Rita’s routine is to place a hot water bottle on the seat so that my mum is warm as she is dangled across the room. I think there are moments when my mum thinks Rita is Josephine, and she smiles at her, and asks whether my dad’s uniform has been pressed. Rita smiles back. She is all about forgiveness.Rita may be all about forgiveness. It seems it's an alien concept to Liz.
But I cannot help but wonder how little has changed. Rita, like Josephine, doesn’t live with her children. Africans are still serving us, one way or another.
Also alien is the concept that there's evil in the world that isn't the responsibility of the first world. After all, the biggest percentage of Mau Mau victims were their fellow African villagers, not white British settlers. Those were a concern of her father, and the men who served with this, too.
The violence and depravity is not quite as one-sided as 'journalists' like Liz and her fellow travellers would have you believe. Not is it all in the past.
Why, it's almost as if a mutilated African child's corpse wasn't discovered in the river of our capital city a few years ago, isn't it?