Sunday, April 14, 2002

Off her trolley

The gossip of the past few days about Guardian columnist Julie Burchill's tryst with right wing comic Jim Davidson sounded ridiculous.
Then I read this column:

The fact is that believing we have the right to "give away" people who want to stay British is as reactionary, rightwing and imperialist as forcing people to be British when they don't want to be.

She's saying that the British governing classes have no right to give away the left over colonies because these people "want to be British".

Now I'm not imperialist but I'll yield to no man (or Julie) in my reactionary and right wing credentials. And giving away colonies is perfectly reactionary and right wing.

If 2000 transplanted Welsh sheep farmers in the South Atlantic or 20 000 Andalucian dock workers on the Spanish coast want to be British, why should the home population, all 60 million of us, have to suffer lower security because of it?

The continued Britishness of these colonies should be dependent on their utility to the mother country and nothing else. While I accept that Gibraltar may still provide some rationale by helping to protect the sea lanes leading to us, the Falklands stopped being useful in that respect when the Panama canal was opened in 1914. Do we really need wool and squid enough to keep a long distance task force in battle condition?

We were right to fight for the Islands in 1982, because to do otherwise would have shown a weakness that would have invited yet more problems. It was not a matter of honour, but of practicality.

Thatcher was right to fight in 1982, yet she was also right to try and give the islands away a year earlier.

So, yes, Julie, it may be right wing to put the interests of the metropolitan power ahead of outlying islands half way round the world. It is also right.

That stuff about Jim Davidson and Julie Burchill was not actually true, I just put it in to baffle the American readers and to confuse those of you who don't bother to read to the end.


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