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The Anti-Slavery League did rather well actually

Summary:
The Guardian reviews a new book discussing the abolition of slavery rather than the earlier killing of the slave trade. The implication of the review at least is that it took an unconscionable long time. In moral terms indeed, and yet as a political movement we disagree - it worked with stunning speed.The Interest is the story of how widespread and deeply rooted such attitudes were, how powerfully calls for abolition were resisted and why the British parliament nonetheless voted at last in 1833 to end slavery in its West Indian and African territories. In 20 brisk, gripping chapters, Taylor charts the course from the foundation of the Anti-Slavery Society in 1823 to the final passage of the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833.Only a decade? How quickly does anyone think societal change normally

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The Guardian reviews a new book discussing the abolition of slavery rather than the earlier killing of the slave trade. The implication of the review at least is that it took an unconscionable long time. In moral terms indeed, and yet as a political movement we disagree - it worked with stunning speed.

The Interest is the story of how widespread and deeply rooted such attitudes were, how powerfully calls for abolition were resisted and why the British parliament nonetheless voted at last in 1833 to end slavery in its West Indian and African territories. In 20 brisk, gripping chapters, Taylor charts the course from the foundation of the Anti-Slavery Society in 1823 to the final passage of the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833.

Only a decade? How quickly does anyone think societal change normally happens?

We speak, of course, as professionals in this field. We exist to propose methods and manners by which society can be improved. Only 10 years strikes us as being lightning speed. To take one of our own proposals, something as seemingly trivial as a substantial rise in the personal allowance for income tax. It took 5 years from first mention - the idea that it is entirely ridiculous to have a minimum wage upon which people then are dunned for tax - to it appearing in political party manifestos and a further decade to come to fruition. It really is only now that the original target is being reached after that 15 years.

Or, to be more party political and something that we as a group were not involved in although one of us was directly, it took Ukip 25 years to move from a - small - rabble of malcontents to forcing a referendum and it’ll be nearly 30 in total by the time the deal is fully done.

We don’t say that you have to agree with both or even either of those political ideas and or changes even as we’d obviously hope that there’s no one left in favour of chattel slavery. But only a decade to achieve that sort of political change, the end of slavery? That’s an astonishing speed. Believe us, we know about these things.

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Tim Worstall
Tim Worstall is a British-born writer and Senior Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute. Worstall is a regular contributor to Forbes and the Register. He has also written for the Guardian, the New York Times, PandoDaily, the Daily Telegraph blogs, the Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2010 his blog was listed as one of the top 100 UK political blogs by Total Politics.

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