Tuesday, 8 January 2013
Colonialism is good!
With all the Argy-bargy about the falklands / Malvinas going on. I thought it might be time to reflect upon the role of Britain in the world as a colonial power.
According to the President of Argentina, we are very, very naughty because the U.N. has decided that colonies are a bad thing. To this, I basically say "Balderdash"
Over the years I have been to many former British colonies in the Far East, the West Indies and the Pacific. I have yet to visit one where the country as a whole did not benefit from our intervention. Hong Kong is a good example.
Furthermore, I have been to several where the infrastructure fell apart once they had kicked us out. St Lucia is a good example. On independence day, they kicked out the British engineers and within a week the telephone and electricity systems were falling apart and the Brits had to be recalled to fix them.
For another, rather extreme, example take a look at Rhodesia / Zimbabwe. Enough said.
And there are places where life could simply not happen without good old British colonialism. Back in 2011, I visited Pitcairn Island. The population is tiny and were it not for the support of the British government, the place would now be uninhabited. Now you might say that that would be a good thing because it makes no sense to live there, but that denies the history of the place, the undeniable sense of community, and the diversity that we proclaim makes the British what they are. You can't get more diverse than living on a speck of rock in the middle of nowhere.
This brings us back to the Falklands. The Falklands are British. The British were there before the Argentines. The only reason that that the Argies want these islands 'back' is because they want access to the oil reserves. You might say that this is also why we fought in Iraq but not in Syria. Or that Mugabe would be deposed rather quickly if there was oil in Zimbabwe, and you would have a point. But it's not the only reason we defend the Falklands so vigorously.
Indigenous populations have a right to self determination. This is one reason why I attack immigration to Britain - because the indigenous population is being overrun. You could argue that we were guilty of ignoring this when we founded our Empire, and you would be correct. You could therefore argue that they were right to throw us out. Again you would be correct.
But there was no indigenous population in the Falklands and the residents have a right to decide for themselves which country governs them. They will decide this in a referendum. Should they decide to join with Argentina, we should respect this decision.
Equally, if they decide to remain part of Britain, Argentina should respect this. Cameron was right this weekend when he said he would resist another invasion, and recently I find that I don't agree with him very often...