Saturday, 28 March 2009

Brown backs self-determination

Gordon Brown quote:

"The essential principle has always been that the islanders should determine the issue of sovereignty for themselves and, let us be clear, our first priority will always be the needs and wishes of the islanders."

He was, of course, referring to the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands.

A noble principle that though, allowing people to determine the issue of sovereignty for themselves.

I wonder if when he has passed on that principle to the LOLITSP. No, I don't think so either.


Anonymous,  28 March 2009 at 11:25  

The position of overseas territories and possession is clear. It is not remotely similar to the position on integral parts of a country.

Malc 28 March 2009 at 12:09  

It's clear? How so?

And surely if we're talking in "essential principles" then they hold true no matter what the circumstances are.

Holyrood Patter 28 March 2009 at 13:31  

never understood the falklands, its a very difficult situation
for me, its a petty throwback to colonialism, why should we "own" any other country.
and yet, the islanders don't want to be part of argentina

DG 28 March 2009 at 14:35  

Well, there are various conventions on the rights of colonial peoples, and it was decided post-war that decolonialisation would take place in all but those territories which cannot or will not leave.

That says nothing about states themselves. After all, there are massive differences between how the UK is governed and how the overseas territories are: most importantly that the territories don't have representation in the UK Parliament.

Malc 28 March 2009 at 15:35  

For the avoidance of doubt, I'm not suggesting there are not differences between the constituent parts of the UK and overseas terrotories.

What I am suggesting is that if you say that something is an "essential principle", that people "should determine the issue of sovereignty for themselves" then that doesn't just hold for one instance. If, it is indeed, an "essential principle."

Sam 28 March 2009 at 16:21  

There is lots of commentary in international law on decolonisation & state's duties to its people.

The Charter of the UN says that universal peace depends on the self-determination of peoples. It is one of the fundamental purposes of that body, "to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples".

UN General Assembly Resolution 1514 (XV), passed on 14 December 1960, states that all colonial ties should be ended & that, "all peoples have the right to self-determination [& to] freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development".

On that basis, neither Argentina or the UK can choose its political status without the consent of the people living there. Simple.

In the case of Scotland however, as a part of the UK, the Resolution also states that, "any attempt aimed at the partial or total disruption of the national unity and the territorial integrity of a country is incompatible with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations".

Ok this was probably inserted by countries worried about nationalist insurgencies, like Russia, Spain, and, um, the UK. But still it makes it a domestic political affair, and that makes it Westminster's prerogative.

Malc is right that it is an essential principle. Unfortunately that comes up against the realpolitik of international relations, and loses.

Malc 28 March 2009 at 16:52  

Thanks for the anorak-y stuff Sam.

I'm not really disputing it. All I'm suggesting is that it might be a daft thing for a PM to say one thing about self-determination abroad and sell a different line on it at home. Some might even say hypocritical.

Sam 28 March 2009 at 17:03  

No problem! I actually included some points of law for your poster who thought there weren't any.

I agree completely, the UK (Westminster) position on the Falklands & Gibraltar is hypocritical stuff indeed.

Though as you know, there isn't a clear majority in favour of independence for Scotland. If there was the SNP would be in a far stronger position.

Malc 28 March 2009 at 17:27  

Agreed, but that's not really the point.

Still think that polls only tell some of the story. We won't really know what Scottish people think until there is a plebicite on the issue. And that (and Mr Brown has neatly said) is the "essential principle" of self-determination...

macangusagain 29 March 2009 at 16:44  

The integral parts of the country,you say ,anonymous. What I say is that listening to the same people espousing the rights of the Jews of Europe to reclaim what was theirs (and a bit more I believe) and then denying the Highlanders the same rightful possession and inherent ownership of that which was stolen from them, without their lawfully expressed consent or remuneration , is hypocrisy of the highest order. If the one is entitled to a reversal of injustice ( and I agree fully that they are ) then so is the other. It's late but give the land back to those it was stolen from. My family were never paid a Scottish pound for the lands they were cleared from and that were outrightly stolen from them !! Pay for it or get the hell off it and return it to it's rightful owners !!! It was an integral part of my family and all the other Highlanders , and should be again !!!!

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