"I think that it's difficult for decent Chinese men and women in Hong Kong to speak openly with great public enthusiasm for Britain's contribution and role in Hong Kong," he said in an interview with The Independent which was notably free of flag-waving.
"Candidly, being colonised causes difficult moral, historical issues and it would be narrow-minded and ungenerous of us, the colonial power, not to recognise that."
Mr Patten's harshest words were reserved for those who were once bastions of the colonial regime and are now cheerleaders for the new order.
"I wonder what value system they're most attached to. You very often hear them say you've got to be realistic, people in Hong Kong are very realistic. What they actually mean by that has nothing to do with the people of Hong Kong but everything to do with themselves. It doesn't seem to be so much to do with realism as a lack of commitment, sustained commitment, to the values which have shaped this community."
Mr Patten dismissed the idea that he might drop back into a prominent role in British politics when he returns to the UK. "I find the suggestions, sometimes made, that you can drop in and out of Westminster politics as though the House of Commons was the RAC Club, both politically naive and extremely presumptuous. I don't know whether I want to set my hat at trying to resume a career in party politics and even if I do, I recognise all the problems."
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