UK more nostalgic for empire than other ex-colonial powers

A YouGov poll reveals 30% of Britons believe colonies were better off as part of the British Empire

A third of people in the UK believe Britain’s colonies were better off for being part of an empire, a higher proportion than in any of the other major colonial powers, a global survey has revealed.

Britons are also more likely to say they would like their country to still have an empire than people in France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany or Japan, the YouGov polling found.

The results were shared with the Guardian as Britain prepares to find a new place in the international order after Brexit. They have been interpreted by some as a proxy for high levels of nationalist sentiment. Conservative voters were almost twice as likely as Labour voters to yearn for Britain to still have an empire, while Brexit-supporting leave voters were more than twice as pro-empire than remainers.

The results were described as “alarming” by Oku Ekpenyon, who is leading a campaign for Britain to erect a new memorial to the transatlantic slave trade, which has so far failed to attract government backing. She said they raised questions about British education on colonial topics and highlighted the country’s tendency towards nostalgia.