The Atlantic slave trade peaked in the late 18th century when the largest number of people were bought or captured from West Africa and taken to the Americas.

Faced with a rapidly evolving situation, we devise a plan of action from country to country, person to person.

A BBC documentary, Empire of the Seas: How the Navy Forged the Modern World, no doubt made to justify our naval heritage, draws out, with detailed precision, right down to the last frame, the tenure at the heart of our imperial might. With pinpoint clarity, we learn how we came to rule another’s turf, how profits from slavery fuelled the Agricultural and Industrial Revolution and set the stage for financial institutions and the body of commerce, as served up throughout the contemporary world.

With Britannia’s ferocious appetite established, the tale ends as it began, at sea. As it has been for centuries, our sovereign isle is guarded and locked behind a vault of naval supremacy — a pivotal part of one of the most prolific defence systems in the modern world.

Art, science, and literature working together draw light across a shape. The shadow play reveals us as ready to go and on form.

History is ours. A new chief is at the table, and key strategies are in place. With sleight of hand, someone else’s home becomes ours. What we believe in the end justifies the means. Having stamped our claim with the dagger, swing blade, cannon and gun, we British indeed rebuked, maimed, sanctioned, and killed the inhabitants for the tenure and spoils of their respective lands.

These unholy truths smacked down far away, began where they ended in hearth and home.

Knowledge qualifies a place at the main table, while money buys and loses it.

In the seat of power, working all God’s hours to remain on top, is the key person — with a heart like thee, a brain open to heaven and hell — a person who sees themselves as headed enough to preside over the regime; self-serving, influential, affluent, and in control. A leader locked in, mutually dependent on minions carrying the weight far below. In the house on the hill, Quill and ink are at hand. With discretion, at their choosing, they tap out the terms, a little extra given for that special occasion, a generous throw, a fair bonus for putting in the legwork over the winter break. All bodes well… until the key goes missing, and the trooper denies the claim.

When good intentions backfire, humiliation and destruction drive those at the peak, in the basement, and those places in between, back to a toxic wasteland of loss and fear, where the only weapon left is bittersweet revenge, driven by an enforced rage. A total mistrust for the other.

Nurtured in our backyards, endemic in our homes, the loss and protection of undoubted bounty dictate the need to beat off friends, neighbours, and every other person in the street, including family, if they pose a threat.

Our intentions sound. With thoughts of God on our side, we’ll call this intangible struggle a just war.

We shape the law to suit a fair and democratic society, all for our benefit, then pity those who fall victim to our judicious constraints, never once considering that we might be complicit in their fall.

Our lifestyles may have changed, but as minions growing up to the rousing beat of a partisan drum, are we not tied to the same set of principles that enticed our forefathers to beat the track to the front line?

Keep them ignorant… they’ll fall in line.

Introduced by way of the 1944 Education Act, an examination was put in place to determine which type of school the child would attend after primary school. The Eleven Plus, named as such because of the child’s age, came through the Tripartite System, a two-tier system with grammar schools for the academically gifted and secondary-modern schools for the others.

With echoes of a world at war in clear earshot of an Empire setting on the next generation to come, Britain demanded a committed workforce. Sloggers who could rebuild the country’s infrastructure and pay off the national debt. Mounting costs from the Napoleonic Wars through to the Second World War saw our beloved country’s debt increase tenfold. Post-war Britain of the 1950s needed to be labour intensive, zapped in tight, for the monumental task ahead. And what better way to sort this economic struggle than through a system dividing children between those who think and those who are good with their hands? Brains and brawn. As it was from the beginning, a masterclass in deliverance eliminates us or brings us to heel like a well-trained dog.

Failing the Eleven Plus saw most children going to secondary modern schools. They were touted as good with their hands, slow learners, labour-intensive — the factory floor, farming the land, shipbuilding, steelworks, street-cleaning, mining coal, and so on — an occupation needed to keep the dying embers of our imperial state stoked and ready to rise again.

At the psychologist’s behest, painting by numbers, our formal education led millions and millions of us to believe we were genetically inept, second-class citizens, good with our hands and born to oblige. Politicians of the day, moneymen, professors of education and other academic experts, mainly from Cambridge and Oxford universities, did what they set out to do and did it very well.

The tripartite system – of grammar, technical and secondary modern schools – was introduced on April 1, 1945, five months before WWII officially ended and three months before Attlee came to power. It was effectively the continuation of nineteenth-century England’s class-based system of education, which the reports of Spens (1938) and Norwood (1943) had seen as befitting on the grounds of ‘innate intelligence’. It was a system awash with eugenic principles. …newly cloaked in spurious educational thinking about children’s minds, backed by supposedly scientific methods of measuring intelligence which would make all the necessary decisions about selecting children for different types of school… (Caroline Benn and Chitty 1996).

In post-war Britain, secondary-modern schools deliberately steered away from providing GCE O Levels and gave no access to GCE A Levels; there was never any thought that you might enlist at a university. Divide and rule, a tactic used to establish sovereign control, is strategically placed at the heart of the education system here. There were token options. Picked out as being ‘bright,’ yet still categorised within that corporal bracket, perhaps they upped a rung, proud to take to the beat in the police force, join a typing pool, enlist in the armed forces, or manage an apprenticeship in one of the building trades.

Serving your country and collecting a pocket-watch bonus at the end of days from a company you stood by through thick and thin was the undisputed purpose of life. Mum and Dad made sure their offspring got the message loud and clear. Daily beatings underlined a constant barking of You’ve never had it so good… get out of the house, in line and get a job! Encouraging and supporting this avid message, our school policies deliberately dictating the taxonomies of the day dished out further penalties and thrashings, ensuring the juniors were well and truly in their place.

From five years of age to a school leaving age of sixteen, that’s eleven years – some 15,400 hours (a conservative estimate). Along with nursery school, after-school, further education and parental intervention, what the elders want/need them to believe is a lot of time to be banged up and brainwashed by a stone-cold, innate truth!

Drowned out by the rising tide of chauvinism at the heart of an elite domain, in turmoil, contemplating a dark and terrible fear.

The curve of a curriculum assumes we inherit intelligence that is fixed and unchangeable.

I enjoy carpentry. I am passionate about working wood, but if I settle with the idea that working wood is all I’m suitable for, I’m buying the belief that there is a race of people claiming to be pre-eminent. I’m selling not just humans but life itself short.

A human doing takes precedence over the human being.

Schooled, public, private, passed, failed, evolved, unevolved, marked up, marked down, a system so crudely acknowledged by yesteryear’s corporal punishment uses the same principle of separating the wheat from the chaff today.

Lucky, if you stumble upon an enlightened teacher, or your mum and dad are wise enough to pull you to heart, otherwise there seems to be nothing else but get ahead or die.

The continuum of a dog eats dog philosophy, drilled into the back boiler of our psyche during those formative years, becomes as fluid as the blood that runs in our veins in the adult years. Racing toward the exit, handing the baton on so the next in line can toe the line.

And on it goes…

A human being, overwhelmed by human doings, moves apace. At home, away, left, or right, junior, or senior, this prize, that car, those clothes, that house, my phone, I phone, this image, our culture, my way or the highway. Lobbied, swayed, by political ideals and religious beliefs, to the letter, the cake, the news, a concept, this badge, or the other, we’ve been summed up, sold a set of principles — through school, a regime, the corporation, an institution, the media — a country that goes way back and out of its way to keep us hooked, manipulated, separated, categorised and ready to fill the shoes of the following body of pawns in a game!

Our irrefutable cerebral power, time and again, brings us to the brink. Whether we’ll get away with it for much longer remains to be seen.

No matter how big our arsenal, the unleashed deceit, racism, bigotry, war, genocide, civil unrest, a climate that’s in crisis, not to mention invisible viruses that turn our supremacy to dust, streaming like lemmings toward the cliff edge, nothing impedes our drive.

The World Wide Web, like another empire, is ruled and presided over by those who know how. They say riches beyond our wildest dreams can be found there.

Incited from the day we’re born, encouraged, punished, terrified of not making the grade in school, tested, divided, streamed, according to worth — a constant need to hit the bullseye in a career. Senses overwhelmed by the left hemisphere, our own petard blows out the crown of stars and its throne of clay, leaving us straddled to a material horse desperately treading water. Past and present actions drive an imperious culture that remains resolute. A declaration that pinpoints an insoluble problem. Unless we wake up, like the prisoner who turns time to advantage, step out of the shadows into the light and begin the work.