Niall Ferguson and his ilk have made it fashionable to emphasise the beneficent effects of British imperial rule.
The truth of the matter is that Britain was a brutal, exploitative, venal and racist colonial power which humiliated, robbed and beat down native peoples throughout the entire world. Nary a continent was left unscathed. The much-touted benefits of English laws, commerce, railways and cricket [!] must be weighed against the incredibly harmful political legacy the British bequeathed to their colonies. Masters of pitting subject groups against each other, they wilfully created many of the world's most intractable conflicts, from Kashmir to Nigeria to Iraq to Palestine.
Fuck the British Empire.