May 12, 2016
Delegates from all across the world have arrived in Britain for a major anti-corruption summit in London. But the event has already been marred by remarks – not supposed to reach the public’s ears – made by UK Prime Minister Cameron earlier this week in his conversation with the Queen and Speaker of the House John Bercow. Cameron was accidently caught on camera saying that Nigeria and Afghanistan are “fantastically corrupt.”
RT: David Cameron has voiced these comments even before the summit started. Do you think that might have an impact on the conference?
John Wight: I don’t think that will have an impact on the conference itself, but it will certainly have an impact on people’s perceptions and understanding of the nature of global power. What we have been treated to with these unguarded, indiscreet comments is a rare insight into the mindset of a British ruling class that remains in the 19th century with regard to its disrespect towards countries such as Nigeria, China and Afghanistan. These people treat these countries as if they are of lower culture, as if they are unfit to rule themselves. And I am sure they would much prefer… if they were still ruled directly by Britain. So this is a very, very rare insight into a mindset of a ruling class which has been responsible for much of the corruption in places such as Nigeria and Afghanistan through its history of colonialism.
RT: Apparently the prime minister didn’t want these comments to be heard. Is it a blow to his reputation?
JW: I don’t think David Cameron’s reputation could get any lower than it already is. We’ve already had the revelations surrounding the Panama Papers with his father and family connected to the huge corruption that was revealed in those. We’ve already had the role of his government in whipping up a frenzy of anti-Semitic charges against Labour Party members and politicians and so forth. So I think the general public knows the history of the Tories and David Cameron is only the latest in the long line of discredited, dishonorable Tory prime ministers.
RT: The president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, rebuffed the accusations and in fact said his country’s assets had been stolen by officials who fled to London. What would you make of those allegations?
JW: Mr. Buhari’s comments are entirely accurate. Britain, and London in particular, has become the favorite second home of assorted international criminals, whether they are taking money and resources of Russia, post the collapse of the Soviet Union, or of Nigeria, or other countries in the global south. London is the go-to place. The City of London has benefited from this huge influx of wealth, which it has then re-invested and through its greed come close to crushing the world economy, or played a key role in that regard in 2008. What we’re seeing is an excess of corruption that starts in London and ends in London.
The history of colonialism and its role today as a second home of international criminals from places such as Nigeria and Afghanistan… This is the truth of the matter. And every single statue in the center of London – Downing Street, Westminster, everywhere you go – all these statues and monuments are monuments to a history of colonialism, raping, devastation, and super-exploitation of countries such as Nigeria. When we talk about foreign aid – that is an insult to countries such as Nigeria. We should be talking about reparation for those countries, for that history of colonialism, which has done so much to keep these countries mired in underdevelopment.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.