Team Empire? Britain’s former imperial possessions won the Olympics, claims Tory MP
Heather Wheeler MP has been heavily criticized after posting an image of the hypothetical tally of medals for the British Empire if it still existed.
Now that's what I call winning!!! Well done Team GB & all our Commonwealth friends, now for the Trade Agreements.... pic.twitter.com/Qg9qkYxWHp— Heather Wheeler MP (@HeatherWheeler) August 22, 2016
The score was overlaid on a map of Britain’s former colonies and vassal states.
“Now that’s what I call winning!!! Well done Team GB & all our Commonwealth friends, now for the Trade Agreements...” she said in the accompanying tweet.
She was immediately mocked on Twitter, with one user asking how the figures stood for other long-dead empires.
Another pointed out how hard many of the colonies fought to escape Britain’s clutches.
@HeatherWheeler Those 13 colonies (not to mention many others on your map) fought hard to get away, might not be that impressed— James Mackintosh (@jmackin2) August 22, 2016
Another pointed out that Britain’s patriotic Australian and New Zealander cousins may not take kindly to being lumped together with their former ruler.
@HeatherWheeler Are you drunk? Try showing this to Aussies and Kiwis. You Brexiters are a joke and this rubbish is why it won't happen.— Black Phillip 62% (@DoomlordVek) August 22, 2016
One Indian twitter user was less than complimentary about the MP’s personal reinvention of an empire under which South Asians struggled for centuries.
Wheeler, a vocal Brexiteer, also included a tally for post-referendum Europe and one for the “rest of the world.”
Britain’s imperial record and global antics have come under considerable scrutiny from former colonies pressing for it to make amends in recent years.
As well as calls for reparations for slavery from Jamaica – whose top athlete Usain Bolt won yet more sprint gold medals in Rio in 2016 – there have been demands for a payout from Indian politicians for the hardship imposed on the population.
Britain has also been called on to return some of the ill-gotten gains of its colonial heyday with different parties lobbying for the return of the Elgin Marbles – sneakily acquired from Greece in 1812 – and the Koh-I-Noor diamond, which was taken during one of Britain’s wars of conquest in the Punjab in 1849.