Friday, 23 December 2011

Our right to the Falklands is about democracy over nationalism

'Sorry, Mr Falkland Islander, YOU don't get a say'
If you're unfortunate to know any lefties you'll know that hypocrisy and a lack of consistency are things that seem to follow them around. Take the Falklands, for example.

As supposedly good democrats, it ought to be self-evident that the lefty mind would support the islanders' right to self-determination and to live under a system of government of their choosing.

As supposedly opponents of the kind of nationalism which led Europe into two of the most destructive wars the world has ever seen, too, it should seem obvious to any fool that those on the left would be the first to condemn the attitude of successive Argentine governments towards the islands.

You'd think so. But you'd be wrong.

It is a symptom of the irrational mind that emotion takes precedent over logic and, unfortunately, most lefties you will speak to go completely against their supposed political ideals when it comes to the status of the Falklands for three reasons.

Firstly, the presence of some 22,000 British-descended islanders (some 70% of the population) are a residual reminder of this nation's imperial past and, as imperialism is bad, so therefore must be the continued British presence there.

Secondly, the islands were successfully defended against a quasi-fascist military junta 30 years ago by Margaret Thatcher. Despite the obvious antifascist angle to this, Margaret Thatcher is Satan's bride, so therefore her enemy must be pure of heart and therefore supported.

Thirdly is that age-old leftist malady - which even George Orwell looked down on among England's intelligentsia - that of self-hatred projected into hatred of country.

(Just to remind you of that quote, from 'The Lion & the Unicorn', he wrote: "It is a strange fact, but it is unquestionably true, that almost any English intellectual would be more ashamed of being caught standing to attention during God Save the King than of stealing from a poor box.")

Spearheading this leftist insanity is, of course, Barack Obama who - when not making ludicrous statements about the importance of his presidency - has consistently taken the Argentinian side of the argument against his country's oldest and most loyal ally.

Some have speculated that Mr Obama's coolness to Britain stems from the experiences of his grandfather in colonial Kenya and a resulting hatred of the British Empire and the UK generally. Well, this is exactly the kind of irrational thought I'm talking about. No rational person could support Argentina's claim to the Falklands - let alone the leader of the free world.

Let's consider the facts. The Falklands have been under British sovereignty since 1833. Prior to that date, they were disputed by Britain, France, Spain and the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata (a precursor to the modern Argentine state). They were also uninhabited.

That was 179 years ago. It's rather like Britain maintaining its claims to the throne of France (which was an embarrassment, quickly dispensed with, even in George III's day). Indeed, this country easily has greater claim to sovereignty over the United States than Argentina does over the Falklands.

The fact is the people on those islands are British citizens. They identify themselves as British and want to stay British, under a British government. That is why David Cameron has declared he will never surrender sovereignty. Unlike the Argentines - who still pine, with an ugly nationalist fervour, over a set of rocks they had scant claim to 200 years ago - we know this is about democracy. Not nationalism.

In disregarding this, and siding with the tyrants of South America, Barack Obama has shown himself to be not only against the very founding principles of his country but of a threat to the peace of the world as well. November can't come soon enough.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Is Lord Oakenshott a racist?

Lord Oakenshott: seems to think racial slurs against eastern European are just fine
There's a nasty strain of racial superiority in this country when it comes to the subject of our eastern European neighbours. To many people it seems as though our brothers are a kind of subhuman race of vodka-swilling, Jew-baiting fascists, incapable of any sort of humane or rational form of government.

It's become all too easy to make this sort of comment in Britain without any consequences and, from most people, à la Borat it can be easily shrugged off. Not that it makes it any better, but it's usually meant in jest. But for a man like Lord Oakenshott to make such a slur, in all seriousness, on Sunday morning television is truly disgusting.

On the Politics Show this morning, the Liberal Democrat peer said the Conservatives had lost influence in Europe by leaving the European People's Party and joining with 'the headbangers in eastern Europe' - adding he would have much preferred us to be discussing with 'our friends and allies in western Europe'.

For one thing, this is hardly a very 'European' attitude to take - that somehow easterners are barbarians outside of western European civilisation and ought not to be around the big table.

While it can be said there exists a certain severity to eastern culture not seen here in the west, this is largely because it is a region which has witnessed the most brutal and bloody repression under successive mad tsars, kaisers, führers and commissars.

However, one consequence of this - and in direct contradiction to the racist view of eastern Europeans - is a strong sense of discipline east of the Oder which we in the west trail far behind.

It is the reason for that region's spectacular economic growth and, it is worth pointing out, for the popularity of easterners amongst our country's employers and home improvers. Yes, they may demand less pay than British workers, but they work bloody hard for it.

And, as I have pointed out before, these 'headbangers' in the European Conservatives & Reformists Lord Oakenshott so offensively refers to are major parties in their respective countries. Law & Justice is currently the second largest party in Poland, as is Civic Democracy in the Czech Republic.

Both have spent a great deal of time leading their countries. Even the smaller Latvian For Fatherland & Freedom party - an easy target if ever there was one for idiots like Oakenshott - are members of that country's government (and, in any case, since a recent merger it is called National Alliance).

Secondly, it does seems as though this kind of prejudice is all too easy to get away with because its recipients happen to be white. I can hardly see such a slur getting away without any comment were the 'headbangers' Lord Oakenshott referred to of a different colour. Could one ever get away with saying 'the headbangers of Sub-Saharan Africa', for example?

And the tired old argument - used by Oakenshott and presenter Jon Sopel - that Cameron withdrew the Conservatives from a place of influence in the EPP is absolute balderdash. This country has never had any influence in Europe.

In so much as it did is down exclusively to Margaret Thatcher's handbagging and stubborn refusal to compromise this country's interests. Britain's relationship with the EU has always been that of a leech and its host and this was no different under europhilic prime ministers like Blair.

What appears to confound these people, too, is that the decision to withdraw from the EPP was one of principle. It is a federalist party. The Conservative party is not. It believes in the 'social market economy'. Conservatives believe in the free market. What is astonishing is not so much that the Conservatives left but that they had remained members for so long.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Rome and Athens have exposed the weakness of parliaments

Try as they might, these two men are constitutionally unable to outrun their electors
One of the more frequent fallacies you hear from monarchists to justify such a bizarre institution is that it helps maintain stability and constitutional government by placing the head of state above politics and above the reach of the people.

The strict non-intervention of British royals in political matters does give the illusion of ensuring this but it is important to remember that this convention has absolutely no legal standing and there is little, if anything, to stand in the way of its suspension and the ability of the monarch to use her enormous political power - including choosing her government.

So it has always baffled me why so many republics in Europe (there are 24 of them) chose constitutions which are essentially based on where ours found itself at some point in the nineteenth century. 

Like us, they have popularly-elected legislative assemblies from which the head of government and cabinet are drawn and which, in the absence of a monarch, also elects a politically impotent head of state.

But the serious weaknesses in this sort of constitutional arrangement (which is favoured by Republic) was exposed last month with the toppling of democratic governments in Rome and Athens and their replacement with unelected 'technocrats'.

Like ours, there is nothing in the Italian constitution which stipulates that ministers must be elected members of parliament or even members of parliament at all. And, while the Greek constitution stipulates that the prime minister must be a member of parliament, in the event of a prime minister's resignation (Article 38), its use of language is unclear about his successor.

These glaring democratic holes were thoroughly exploited by eurocrats as a means of installing undemocratic governments favourable to their cause and it comes as no surprise that Mario Monti was once an EU commissioner while Lucas Papademos was vice president of the European Central Bank and governor of the Bank of Greece during that country's transition to the euro.

Contrast this with the constitutional arrangements in France and the United States. These two revolutionary republics have heads of states that are elected by the people rather than parliament - an arrangement which stems from a muscular belief in those countries of the sovereignty of the people.

Now, I'm no fan of Nicolas Sarkozy or Barack Obama - they both represent the kind of corporatist capitalism I loathe - but you cannot dispute they are the people's choice and, because this is mandated in  clearly written constitutions, they cannot be removed nor replaced by any other authority. There can, in essence, be no surer guarantee of popular and national sovereignty over foreign tyranny.

In a nutshell, this makes what has happened in Athens and Rome impossible in Washington and Paris. It is, however, entirely possible in the UK - even more so, in fact, given that our want of a written constitution means it is pretty much whatever the House of Commons says it is.

Do keep this in mind if you ever have to suffer the pontifications of a constitutional monarchist or, by the same token, if you ever feel the desire to support Republic.