Chagossians Have No Right of Self-Determination 300

“We do not agree the right of self-determination applies to the Chagossians”, says Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan, who later clarifies that they are not “a people”. If you can stand it, you can watch the urgent question in the Commons today which forced the government to defend the decision they had sneaked out via a written answer.

The debate starts at 10.34 – if you put the cursor to the bottom of the picture a slider appears. It is excruciating to watch. In an unusually full House of Commons (not a high bar) there is indignation and real anger on all sides, with even Tories describing the decision to continue the eviction of the Chagos islanders as “dishonourable”.

The government argues that the Chagossians are not “a people” distinct from the Mauritians, therefore they do not have a right of self-determination. This piece of sophistry is designed to answer the obvious question of why the Chagossians have less rights than the Falkland Islanders or Gibraltarians. The actual answer – that the Chagossians are not white – is not one the government wishes to give. It also begs the question, if the Chagossians are Mauritians, why are the islands not a part of Mauritius?

The government produced a paper on prospective resettlement, imposing arbitrary conditions on where and how the Chagossians could live designed to make life as difficult as possible. Those conditions included that there could be no civilian use of the airstrip – which I am glad to see Alex Salmond challenged in the Commons. Chagossians could work at the US airbase, but only on condition their partners and children would not be permitted to be with them. Fishing – their traditional activity – will be banned by the UK government’s marine reserve.

Given these conditions, Duncan kept reiterating, only 223 Chagossians actually wanted to return. And that was not a viable population (which will be news to many inhabited islands).

Support for the government was very thin. The most notable contribution was from the Rt Hon Sir Desmond Swayne MP, who oozing contempt for dusky foreigners intervened solely to state that it would be impossible to return the islanders because the government would be put to the expense of building a prison for them. (He really did say this, I am not making it up, you can see it on the link.)

It takes New Labour however to win the lying through your teeth prize, which the unctuous Chris Bryant duly did. He deplored the deportation of the islanders, ignoring the fact that he had served as a minister in the 13 year Blair/Brown governments which did nothing to right the wrong and indeed fought against the islanders as hard as the Tories. But Bryant wished it to be known that the Labour government’s introduction of the marine reserve had no connection at all to denying the islanders the right of return, as was frequently wrongly claimed. Having said that the lying little bastard sat down.

The most amusing moment was when Kate Hoey stated that she knew Alan Duncan personally and he was a decent chap whose heart was secretly not in this despicable decision. Duncan felt the need to deny this vehemently, knowing that being less than totally heartless, particularly in matters relating to Imperial treatment of foreigners, was career death in the May government. I must say, from Duncan’s demeanour I saw no sign he has ever been troubled by humanitarianism.

I was proud that no less than five SNP MPs intervened and many more bothered to turn up, while another Scottish MP. Alistair Carmichael made a very good and principled point on the absolute right of the islanders to live on their islands. It was the SNP who made the most obvious point of all, that it made no sense for the government to claim that a population which had sustained itself on the islands in the 1960’s quite happily could not do so again. Indeed modern technology will make it rather easier.

Signed First Editions of Sikunder Burnes are now available direct from this blog! You can leave a message naming the dedication you want. Sold at cover price of £25 including p&p for UK delivery or £29 for overseas delivery. Ideal Christmas presents!!

Signing Instructions

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

300 thoughts on “Chagossians Have No Right of Self-Determination

1 2 3

    The treatment of the Chagosians by successive UK governments is a crying shame. I don’t absolve the US from guilt either. Without the impetus of the US to lease the islands and build a base they Chagos islanders would have been left in peace.

    I was shocked to learn that it was Harold Wilson’s Labour Government that evicted the islanders.

  • Tom Welsh

    “Chagossians Have No Right of Self-Determination”.

    Just like Crimeans and Novorossians. What do those people have in common, I wonder?

    • craig Post author

      I agree 100% on the Crimea. The majority of the population were deported only a couple of decades before the Chagossians were. It should very definitely be given back to the Tartars.

      • Martinned

        By that logic, why let all those millions of import Scots decide on Scottish independence? Surely only people who can trace their lineage back to Scotland before 1707 should be allowed to vote in IndyRef2?

      • Tom Welsh

        “The majority of the population were deported only a couple of decades before the Chagossians were. It should very definitely be given back to the Tartars”.

        Shome mishtake here, shurely?

        “A total of more than 230,000 people were deported, mostly to the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic. This included the entire ethnic Crimean Tatar population, at the time about a fifth of the total population of the Crimean Peninsula…”

      • Tom Welsh

        If anyone honestly wants to understand the deportation of the “Crimean Tartars” (actually Turks) by Stalin, they should read this:

        No, you would be very hard pressed to find anything like such an account in the Western media. But then the orders have come down from On High that nothing must ever be published that reflects other than badly on Russia.

        (N.B. For anyone who doesn’t realize, Stalin was a Georgian).

      • Tom Welsh

        “The ethnic composition [of Crimea] is as follows: Russians: 1.49 million (65.3%), Ukrainians: 0.35 million (15.1%), Crimean Tatars: 0.28 million (12.0%)”.

        So in 1944 230,000 Tatars were deported from Crimea – presumably all of them that the authorities could find (and the Soviet authorities were quite thorough in such matters, although not quite as thorough as the Nazis who had IBM equipment to help them).

        Yet in 2014 there were 280,000 Tatars in Crimea.

        How odd.

        • Habbabkuk

          “So in 1944 230,000 Tatars were deported from Crimea – presumably all of them that the authorities could find…..

          Yet in 2014 there were 280,000 Tatars in Crimea.

          How odd.”

          That is certainly very odd.

          As odd, indeed, as the fact that there are now more Israeli Arabs in Israel (pre-1967 borders) than there were in 1948, despite the much alleged “ongoing Israeli genocide”.

          • Herbie

            Perhaps now Israel will follow the Russian example and allow those 5 million Palestinian refugees return to their homeland.

          • Macky

            “As odd, indeed, as the fact that there are now more Israeli Arabs in Israel (pre-1967 borders) than there were in 1948, despite the“ongoing Israeli genocide.

            There, I’ve corrected your statement, hope all now makes sense.

          • Tom Welsh

            Golly! So where did the Palestinians living in exile outside the borders Israel (1967) come from? It looks as if intelligent and hardy people, when viciously repressed, resort to out-breeding their oppressors.

            Logical, I call it.

        • Herbie


          They were let back in the 90s. Their parents and grandparents kept alive in their children the dream of return, from such godforsaken places as Uzbekistan.

        • Herbie


          It’s a long time since those heady days of Maidan, and freedom for the Ukrainians.

          Some of us pointed up the problems with that.

          And so it’s come to pass.

          And so much else we said then.

          Sadly so.

          On a brighter note, looks like the world is turning from the globalist path, and facing the realities we pointed to back then.

          No need to gloat.

          • Tom Welsh

            I agree with all your points except “No need to gloat”. I don’t recommend gloating as such, but the clearly distinct activity of clearly and loudly stating the falsehoods that were proclaimed, in what respects they were false, and what the truth turns out to be.

            Otherwise those who lie and deceive will accomplish at least part of what they set out to do; and those who were unaware of the lies and deception may go on believing them.

      • Trowbridge H. Ford

        Comparing the Tartar case with the Chagos one is most unjustified.

        The Tartars certainly helped the Nazis during the darkest days of the Great War, and they were lucky they weren’t treated more harshly.

        And the Tartars only constituted one/fifth of the Crimean population.

        • Tom Welsh

          Precisely my view. But I was arguing “a fortiori” – if the Chagos islanders, all the more so the Crimeans. Craig seems to disagree; now we have set him straight about 20% being less than “most of”, I wonder if he will change his mind?

        • Neil Anderson

          The Nazis had no part in the “Great War”. The “Great War” was, of course, the First World War (not sure why I’m using all these capital letters). So, I suppose I’m wrong; some Nazis may have taken part in the Great War but they couldn’t have been Nazis at the time.

          • Mick McNulty

            I think Stalin referred to World War Two as The Great Victory, with reference to how many Russians died – twenty seven million with more than half of them, fourteen million, civilians – and the fact the Nazis were formidable.

  • one way street

    You ask Craig why the Chagos Islands are not part of Mauritius. As I posted on the previous thread it was down to a deal the Wilson government did with Mauritius. The opening chapter of John Pilger’s book Freedom Next Time tells the story of Diego Garcia. UK Colonial Secretary Anthony Greenwood bribed Mauritius in 1965 with a payment of £3 million pounds whereby the Chagos Islands would remain a British possession when Mauritius became independent. Then the UK could do a deal with the US.

    On the subject of the marine park and how ecological concerns have affected the rights of the Diego Garcians. Pilger tells of how the US military in 1961 had initially chosen the nearby Aldabra Islands for their airbase. However the Royal Society got wind of the plan. The Aldabra Islands were home to Giant Land Tortoises and rare species of birds. With the help of the Smithsonian Institute the Royal Society managed to get the Aldabra airbase plan binned. The US military then turned to their second choice which was Diego Garcia.

    • craig Post author

      Yes. I should clarify that it is the UK government which says the Chagossians are Mauritian, not me. Whether the islands are part of Mauritius or the Chagossians desire to be independent should be up to the Chagossians. Mauritius is very far away.

      • one way street

        Probably Theresa May is thinking that if her government said that Mauritius had no claim over the Chagos because of distance then the Argentinians would immediately sit up.

      • Old Mark

        Mauritius is very far away.

        Be that as it may Craig, Mauritius still claims sovereignty over the archipelago, and in 2010 the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in favour of Mauritius in declaring that David Miliband’s marine protected area infringed on the undertakings given to the Mauritians at Lancaster House in 1965, in discussions leading to Mauritian independence.

        As to whether the Chagossians are a ‘people’ well clearly that can be argued in a jesuitical manner either way, as the oleaginous Alan Duncan has just demonstrated. Apparently the expelled residents of Diego Garcia are very largely descended from slaves shipped there from Mauritius in the mid 1790s. That means that prior to their expulsion, they had inhabited Diego Garcia for almost exactly the same time period as the Pitcairn Islanders inhabited Pitcairn- and they are clearly a distinct Anglo-Polynesian ‘people’ but their numbers are insufficient to allow them ‘self determination’. Presumably it is on the latter point that Duncan & co base their ‘not entitled to self determination’ argument – and of course Craig, you have also used this line of argument in the past re the Falkland Islanders, while HMG has argued the opposite!

        • Tom Welsh

          “…in 2010 the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in favour of Mauritius…”

          That’s very heartening. But, having learned about the ways of this wicked world, I am prepared to bet that the US Navy trumps the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration. The other day the UN ruled that Julian Assange was being unjustly and illegally detained and threatened; the relevant governments didn’t like that, so they simply ignored it.

          “How many divisions has the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration?”

  • Sharp Ears

    Duncan doled out Anelay’s statement yesterday to the Commons

    Nothing like saying something twice. What a bunch in King Charles St now.


    and FCO management under PUS McDonald who – ‘Sir Simon joined the British Diplomatic Service in 1982 and has served in Berlin, Jeddah, Riyadh, Bonn, Washington and Tel Aviv, and in a wide range of jobs in London.

    Before taking up the role of PUS, Sir Simon served as the British Ambassador to Berlin from 2010 to 2015, the Prime Minister’s Foreign Policy Adviser and Head of Foreign and Defence Policy in the Cabinet Office from 2007 to 2010. From 2003 to 2006 he was British Ambassador to Is***l.’

    Ellwood and Sharma are both members of the CFoI. Duncan was too way back but more recently has made visits to the entity courtesy of Medical Aid for Palestinians. His TWFY entry is interesting reading!

    Plus ça change etc etc

    • Habbabkuk

      I do agree with Sharp Ears on the signficance of the fact that Sir Simon once served as HM’ Ambassador to Israel and that Ellwood and Sharma are both Conservative Friends of Israel. Also that Alan Duncan was once a Conservative Friend of Israel.

  • Martinned

    Other issues aside, it seems reasonable to say that the Chagossians are not a people for right to self determination purposes. (And, for the avoidance of doubt, arguably the same goes for Falklanders, St. Helenans and inhabitants of the Isle of Wight.)

    Whether the Chagossians are a people is in any event an entirely separate question from the question who has sovereignty over BIOT.

  • one way street

    The Chagossians are not a people and don’t have the right to self-determination. So reckons the May government. And of course that’s what they’d also like to say about the Scots.

    • Tom Welsh

      An engagingly circular argument of which Sir Humphrey would be rightly proud. Until they gain self-determination, they CANNOT be “a people” if self-government is a defining characteristic of “a people”.

      Of course, this brings us face to face with one of the archaic and indefensible features of such arguments: the whole concept of “a people”. (If we consider the German word, “ein Volk”, my point becomes more self-evident). If a people is not defined as a group with a common government, then how is it to be defined? Genetic origins – in other words, “blood”? I don’t think so.

      For extra credit, is there such a thing as “the British people”? “The German people”? “The people of the USA”? Think on and weep.

      • Habbabkuk

        Speaking of peoples, I wonder if commenters would agree with the proposition that the Kurds are a people and as such are entitled, if they so wish, to gain independence from the current states in which they find themselves (mainly Turkey – Iraq – and of course Syria) ?

        • bevin

          This was certainly the view of the Comintern which recognised Kurds as a people with a right to self government. I believe that Lenin was quite eloquent on the subject. I seem to recall that EH Carr dealt with the matter.

          • Habbabkuk

            I was unaware that Lenin is a commenter on here, Bevs.

            My question was addressed to commenters on here but will, I suspect be ignored by them as their answers might reveal some embarrassing contradictions revelatory of double standards.

            But, commenters, please prove me mistaken! 🙂

          • Tom Welsh

            “…one would be hard pressed to find any country on earth where there is not discrimination (officially sanctioned or popular) of some kind of other against segments of the population”.

            Yes, but ALL minority segments of the population?

            And come to think of it, how about Russia? I can’t think of anyone in particular who is heavily discriminated against (except terrorists, crooked Russian government officials and crooked foreign government officials).

          • Republicofscotland


            Thank you for that answer, no matter that it was rather vague and sphinx like. I’m sure someone like you, who constantly praises how egalitarian Israeli society has become, would be more than forthright on the schisms that plague Israeli society, over the unjust treatment of the Ethiopian J**s.

            However it is a real possibility that even you are at a loss, as what to propose in such matters, and therefore you have decide to post a conciliatory comment.

            As for the Kurdish question, I see no insurmountable reason why, a small section of Southern Turkey, Northern Iraq, and Northern Syria, could not be set aside to create a Kurdish nation.

        • Tom Welsh

          I am inclined to say that a bunch of humans are a “people” if they say they are. On that basis, yes.

          But then the “right of self-determination” is obviously a blunt instrument designed (quite carefully) for use only by “the right people”.

          Thus, when wealthy Americans sought independence from Britain, the better to price-gouge, exploit slaves, and exterminate the Native Americans, self-determination was right and proper.

          But when the Confederate States sought to apply the noble principles of the Declaration of Independence, they discovered the rarely-publicized rider: “…if you can win the ensuing war”. Which they couldn’t.

          The Palestinians don’t have the right of self-determination because they are immensely outgunned, not only by Israel, but by the USA (Israel’s bitch).

          The Kosovans did have the right of self-determination because they were supported by the USA and NATO, which vastly outgunned Serbia.

          The Kurds (probably) do not have the right of self-determination, but it all depends on what the amateur Napoleons in Washington see as their best path to profit. If the Americans want to upset the Turks, the Kurds are probably all set. Otherwise not so much.

          The Americans thought that the Crimeans and Novorossians did not have the right to self-determination because they, and the Russians, were vastly outgunned by the USA and NATO. Er no, that can’t be quite right. Because they and the Russians could be bluffed by the USA and NATO… no, that still doesn’t quite jell, does it? Oh dear.

          • Martinned

            The Americans thought that the Crimeans and Novorossians did not have the right to self-determination because they, and the Russians, were vastly outgunned by the USA and NATO.

            I’m not sure what Novorussians are, but I’m confident that no one would deny that Crimeans are “a people”. But that doesn’t give them the right to their own country, and it certainly doesn’t give the Russians the right to rig a referendum to justify a blatant land-grab.

          • Macky

            ” the right to rig a referendum to justify a blatant land-grab.”

            Please provide the rationale as to why you think it was both a rigged referendum, and also a “blatant land-grab”.

          • Martinned

            I’m not sure how I could be any clearer. Russia saw a piece of territory that belonged to another country, decided they wanted it, marched the army in, and then retroactively justifyed that by organising a referendum full of stuffed ballot-boxes, rigged voter lists, etc.

          • Tom Welsh

            Martinned, continuing in my sceptical/cynical mood, I would venture to say that the precise number of “a bunch” depends a great deal on how heavily armed they are. Probably half a dozen people armed with thermonuclear weapons would constitute more of a bunch than a billion without. (Just saying).

          • Macky

            @Martinned, your cartoon re-writing of what actually occurred is laughable, but lucky for you I’m due to have guests presently; if nobody else has pointed out why this is so to you, I will do so, but later.

          • Martinned

            @Tom: My general approach to this stuff (still) follows the Supreme Court of Canada’s judgement In Re: Secession of Quebec.


            They basically said that, if Quebec voted for independence, the Federal Government of Canada and the other provinces had a legal obligation to negotiate in good faith towards making that happen. But what Quebec did not have is a legal right to unilateral secession.

            The reason for this is that Canada is a democracy, meaning that the people of Quebec already have a degree of self determination through their representation in the Canadian parliament, etc. They are not in the same boat as colonial people. I think the same goes for Scotland, Catalunya, etc.

            Of course, that doesn’t answer the question of how many people are a people, and I think you’re right that to a first approximation any group of people who consider themselves a nation are a nation. But, as you say, there is a degree of pragmatism here. Whether a group of people should be considered a nation depends on whether they have the ability – as a matter of fact – to make that claim stick, and it depends on whether they are already governed democratically.

            I don’t know nearly enough about how the Chagossians live in Mauritius to be able to say anything about their peoplehood, but it seems reasonable to say that one could plausibly argue that they are not a people. (= There is a reasonable case either way.) Which is what I said in my first comment…

          • Martinned

            @Macky: It will never cease to amaze me how the commenters on this blog can be so paranoid and so credulous at the same time. Vast conspiracy theories around Julian Assange, yet a 96% referendum result is perferctly fine!

          • Tom Welsh

            Martinned, see It is a convenient term used by Russians and Novorossians to denote, roughly speaking, the parts of Ukraine that have chosen to separate themselves from the illegal regime in Kiev and its violent servants who have been trying (very unsuccessfully) to exterminate them. Lugansk and Donetsk, plus other nearby oblasts that have not (yet) separated from Ukraine.

          • Tom Welsh

            “But what Quebec did not have is a legal right to unilateral secession”.

            You mean the right that is claimed in the USA’s Declaration of Independence?

          • Martinned

            You mean the right that is claimed in the USA’s Declaration of Independence?

            Yes, although we can have a conversation about whether the colonists were adequately represented in the Parliament in Westminster.

          • Tom Welsh

            “Vast conspiracy theories around Julian Assange, yet a 96% referendum result is perferctly fine!”

            I haven’t heard of any vast conspiracy theories around Julian Assange. What are they? The facts as I know them are:

            1. Julian Assange and Wikileaks published a large number of confidential US government documents, some of which were embarrassing and a few of which revealed actual illegality and lies.

            2. About two weeks later, Assange was accused – out of the blue – of rape by two Swedish women, both of whom had quite openly gone to some lengths to sleep with him. Both of them promptly withdrew their statements, and the prosecutor dropped the matter. Assange asked if he could leave the country, and was told he could. So he did.

            3. As soon as Assange got to the UK, a new Swedish prosecutor was appointed on the say-so of a controlversial politician. She claimed that Assange had committed rape, and was now a fugitive from justice.

            4. Soon US senators and congresspeople were publicly demanding that Assange be murdered or indicted for treason. (Ridiculous, as you can only commit treason against your own country – in Assange’s case Australia, although judging by the Australian government’s attitude to him he should be looking for a new country). To no one’s surprise, Hillary Clinton asked “can’t we just drone this guy?” Coming from the woman who crowed with glee at her success in getting Muamar Qadafi sodomized with a bayonet, that might have seemed a trifle worrying.

          • Tom Welsh

            Oh please, Martinned. Crimea became part of Russia in 1783 – before the USA was formally a nation. Crimea remained part of Russia until 1991, when it was lost because Khrushchev had given it to Ukraine – never imagining that Ukraine would ever cease to be part of the USSR. In 1954 there was not, and never had been, such a nation as Ukraine. It first appeared in 1991, as an inheritor of the Ukrainian SSR. Incidentally, at that time the Crimeans were not consulted as to whether they wished to be part of the brand new nation of “Ukraine”, or preferred to rmeain part of Russia as they had been – counting the USSR as a superset of Russia – for 208 years. In 2014 over 90% of them voted to become part of Russia again. If the Isle of Wight were somehow to be declared part of France, and its citizens were allowed a refernedum, I am sure that over 90% of them would vote to become part of the UK again. That wouldn’t mean the vote was rigged; just that the feeling was nearly unanimous. (And after all, who in their right mind would want to remain part of Ukraine?)

            As to the rest of your comment: the Russian soldiers were already in Crimea, as permitted under the agreement. They didn’t invade or threaten or do anything except stand around and keep order. You might as well accuse the Metropolitan Police of “invading” London.

            Everything in your post is conjecture, based purely on your bad opinion of Russia. You are entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts.

          • Macky

            @ Martinned, Well I see that Tom as responded to your counter-factual comments on the Crimean Referendum, and I similarly wish to also highlight the various misrepresentations that you make, like that Russia “marched the army in”, that it was Russia that “organized “the Referendum, that the Referendum was “rigged”;

            Firstly as stated by Tom, the Russian soldiers in the Crimea were already there & legally so, further if the West is seriously arguing on this point, then all Afghan elections since 2001 and all Iraqi elections since 2003 will have to be likewise invalidated ! Secondly, it was not Russia that organized the Referendum, but the Crimean population, the citizens of the autonomous republic, which has an ethnic majority Russian population, that refused to recognise the new coup-government in Kiev, that came to power on February 21, 2014, viewing it as illegitimate, and threatening to their rights & interests, even their right to speak Russian ! Thirdly, yes isolated reports of ballot-box irregularities have been made, as they seem to be made for most Referendums, and Elections that take place these days, but the facts are that both the OSCE and UN were invited to monitor the Referendum, but both made the political decision to boycott instead; Over 100 foreign observers did decide to go to monitor, and these were mostly groups of MEPs & MPs from mostly European countries, ( French team was actually headed by a Minister by the name of Thierry Mariani), all reported no violations.

            Leaving aside these counter-factual misrepresentations you make, there is also the irrational reasoning that betrays the fraud of these misrepresentations, such as, being that everybody agrees & agreed at the time, that the result of the Referendum was never in doubt (simple because of majority Russian population), why on earth would Russia or anybody else even bother to rig the result ?!! You express sarcasm at the high percentage that voted for the reunification of Crimea with Russia, but as Tom pointed out that hardly surprising in view of what was going-on, what was at stake for the people there, and that 77% of Crimea’s and 94% of Sevastopol’s population are native Russian speakers; and just to repeat myself, since everybody agrees that the majority was always going to vote this way, quibbling about how high the Vote was is both bizarre & very redundant.

            I’m forced to conclude as Tom does, that your comments are not based on facts or rational reasoning, but rather irrational prejudice, the same sort of prejudice that causes Craig to exaggerate a 20% Tatar population into being “the majority of the population”.

        • Macky

          Seeing as the Treaty of Sevres which promised the Kurds an independent nation (upon a given Referendum), was rejected by the new Turkish Republic, and a new treaty (of Lausanne ), had to be drawn to accommodate Attaturk, it seems only just that it should be mostly from Turkey that the territory of a future Kurdistan should be comprised from; especially as most of historic homeland that the Kurds claim are in Turkey anyway.

          • Habbabkuk

            So not from Irak or Syria as well, Macky?

            You know that the Kurds say that the Kurdish people/nation straddles those three countries in particular?

          • Macky

            “So not from Irak or Syria as well, Macky?”

            I didn’t say that, which is why I used the word “mostly”; comprehension or eyesight problem ?

          • Habbabkuk

            Thank you, Macky.

            Just to be clear then : you would extend the right to self-determination/independence (independence in the sense of the creation of a new country, for instance) to the Kurds of Irak and Syria as well?

            Looking forward to your clarification.

          • Macky

            In the areas in which they dominate, if self-governing autonomous regional solutions are not possible, then yes they have the right to seek self-determination; the situation iro Turkey is different, both because most of the historic Kurdish homeland is in there, and also because of the ruthless campaign the Turkish State has waged against its own Kurdish citizens, which is why if they are to have their own State, it should mostly be in present day Turkey; the advantage of having a State will also mean that Syrian and Iraqi Kurds can opt to settle there if they have that preference.

          • Habbabkuk

            No, Macky, you are woffling. Let’s try and cut through the woffle.

            My question is : would you approve of the creation of a new country – which could be called Kurdistan (or whatever) made up of those parts of current Turkey, Irak and Syria which are populated in the main by Kurds?

            You will note that such a new state would have contiguous borders (unlike – for instance – Pakistan before the creation of Bangla Desh).

            Straight answer, please.

          • Macky

            “you are woffling”

            No my comments are clear & unambiguous; if you think I’m “woffling”, that’s a problem at your end.

          • Habbabkuk

            Whatever you say, Macks.

            So what’s your answer – self determination/independence within a new, unitary state for the Kurds of Turkey, Irak and Syria or just for the Kurds of Turkey?

            PM – RoS managed to answer (in the end) so I’m sure you’ll wish to as well.

        • fwl

          Being a people does not necessarily mean that one should have a state – or does it? I don’t know.. What is meant by a people and what is meant by a state? The concept of state may now seem obvious. Most peoples probably but not all probably had states or some degree of self determining autonomy although on closer examination many entities may have been only quasi independent. Kurds yes but how about: Roma, Yenuche, Aromanians, Lipoviens, Bretons, Gallicians, the Basque, Catalonians, Occitanian Romantics, the Friuli, the Swiss Romansh, the Arpitan of Savoy and Aosta, the Wallonians, the Frisians, the Kashubian Baltic Slavs, the Sorbs, the Sapmi sgepheds, the Gagauzian Christians if Turkey, the Gallo-Italic of Lombardy, the Czech Moravians and further east Ladakh and Zanskar and many many more.

          If people are functioning as a unit then they take on some shared characteristics to communicate and manage affairs and are likely to end up sharing DNA even if they were not all related to start with. Whether they gain such autonomy as to attain statehood is not automatic, but dependent upon will power, imagination, intelligence, alliances, force, charm and luck. Some grow whilst others fade.

          That was in response to Habba.

          But on the Chagos Islanders I can only say they were cheated and we abused our power and position.

          • Tom Welsh

            In his lecture “ Politics as a Vocation ” (1918), the German sociologist Max Weber defined the state as a “human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory.”

            That is a definition with a great deal of intuitive appeal. Although – notice how cleverly Weber smuggled in the notion of “legitimate” violence. No worries, though, that simply means “violence which the state alleges to be legitimate” – and now the definition is agreeably circular and wholly proof against dispute.

            Circular argument seems to be popular today, doesn’t it? But seriously, I do think that you won’t go far wrong if, whenever you see the notion of “state”, you picture the monopoly of “legitimate violence”.

            For extra credit: so why isn’t ISIS a state? (My best guess: because people who allege that they have a local monopoly of legitimate violence say that it’s not).

          • Martinned

            Actually, no, that’s not what legitimate use of force means. As Weber set out in Wirtschaft & Gesellschaft, legitimacy is perceived legitimacy, i.e. the belief among the governed that the government is legitimate. So it’s not “violence which the state alleges to be legitimate”, but “violence which the people accept as legitimate”.

            (He then goes on to discuss why the people might consider government legitimate, which broadly falls in the categories of tradition, charisma, and ratio.)

          • Martinned

            @Tom: P.S. ISIS is absolutely a state, under the traditional (Montevideo) criteria. It’s just not recognised as a state by other states (which is not dispositive), because that would create all sorts of problems with art. 2(4) UN Charter, the rest of the ius ad bellum, etc.

          • Tom Welsh

            Is it a possibility that the inclination of the governed to perceive the government as legitimate might be somewhat influenced by the government’s (actual, not claimed) monopoly of violence?

            If I choose not to pay the taxes that the UK government demands of me, it will try to garnish my bank account. If I have withdrawn all my money an stored it in my house, they will send police to seize it. If I defend myself, they will outnumber and overpower me. If I arm myself to offset their advantage of numbers, they will kill me (if they feel like it) or disable me.

            Whether I consider their monopoly of violence legitimate or illegitimate doesn’t matter at all. They will still employ it. See “The Melian Dialogue” (which I will refrain from quoting, assuming that by now everyone remembers it).

          • Martinned

            @Tom: In that scenario, surely you would end up considering the government as less legitimate, rather than more. (And so would everyone who was sympathetic to you.)

            That was the whole logic of the RAF’s terrorism campaign: convince the people of the fundamental illegatimacy of the post-fascist state by luring the state into acting ever more violently.

          • Tom Welsh

            My point was that its legitimacy or otherwise would be very far from my mind, and at best would be wholly academic. If someone demands money backed by the threat of death, I don’t argue about whether their use of violence is “legitimate”; I give them the money and hope they won’t kill me anyway.

            Personally I feel most of them are illegitimate. Bastards!

  • Tom Welsh

    The USA entered WW1 and WW2 three years, and two years respectively after they began. In consequence, its military strength quickly changed the balance in each case. But why did the US government heasitate for so long to enter what have since been depicted as black-and-white moral struggles? A case can be made it was motivated mainly by the pursuit of money and power. In WW1, by 1916 there appeared to be some danger of the Central Powers winning, when all the money loaned to Britain and France would be lost. Hence the decision to join them and make sure Germany was defeated. The Versailles settlement imposed crushing, deliberately unpayable reparations on Germany, and at the same time the USA demanded payment in full of Britain’s and France’s debts. This in turn led to Britain being almost bankrupt throughout the 1930s, and falling dangerous behind in defence spending.

    Thus when WW2 began – and the USA once again decided to sit out the fighting – Britain was virtually bankrupt by the time the Blitz began in 1941. Churchill had to go begging hat in hand to Washington, and the generous FDR kindly agreed to go on supplying everything from food to weapons and ammunition “on tick”. But additionally, FDR – who knew a business opportunity when he saw one – demanded the handing over of a large proportion of Britain’s overseas bases, and the transfer – complete and in return for absolutely no compensation – of crucial technology including (but not limited to) radar, the jet engine, and ideas for the design of atomic bombs.

    Now we know that the debts from WW2 were finally repaid in 2006. And we know that the ex-British bases formed the nucleus of the vast network of overseas bases the USA operates today. (Diego Garcia was added later). Is it possible that Washington was able to exert pressure on Wilson to insist on the transaction? Perhaps repayment in full might have demanded right away. Who knows?

    If anyone hasn’t yet read “Empire of the Clouds”, they ought to if they are interested in British politics, influence abroad, military power or industrial health. It relates how, ever since WW2, successive British governments of both main parties continually started ambitious aircraft projects and then abruptly cancelled them (usually pleading lack of funds). In some particularly revolting cases, such as that of the Miles M.52, the project was cancelled when a working model had already been built and success was within sight. By government decree, all the tools and equipment were destroyed and all the plans and information were handed over to the Americans, free of charge. Read the following articles and see what you think.

    Is there a pattern here?

    • bevin

      You could, realitically, include the Atomic bomb among those projects, Tom, too.
      The problem, to which I referred in the last thread, is that the UK chose to ‘keep faith’ with the creditors and, in doing so sacrificed not only the immediate economic interests of the ‘debtors’ (aka the British people) but the long term interests of humanity.
      In specific terms: the Cold War was imposed on Europe by the US, using its economic power, in order to further the interests of its corporate elites and pursue the pipe dream of global hegemony. The UK and Europe generally would have resisted the order to confront an exhausted and bleeding Soviet Union had they not been taken over-often through inner party coups- by Atlanticist right wing factions within the Socialist parties.
      And for all but the very oldest among us ‘that is where we came in.’

      • Tom Welsh

        “You could, realitically, include the Atomic bomb among those projects, Tom, too”.

        If you look closely at my (regrettably ill-spelled) comment, you will see that I did.

        “…crucial technology including (but not limited to) radar, the jet engine, and ideas for the design of atomic bombs”.

        At the time there was no such thing as a working atomic bomb – that was accomplished by the Manhattan Project. And Britain probably could not have afforded the resources to do it alone. But some very important ideas came from Britain, as well as one or two that were absolutely critical (no pun intended).

        • bevin

          So sorry. I did, indeed miss your clear reference to the bomb. This is a punishment for my having criticised Martinedd yesterday for the same sort of thing.

      • Tom Welsh

        “The problem, to which I referred in the last thread, is that the UK chose to ‘keep faith’ with the creditors and, in doing so sacrificed not only the immediate economic interests of the ‘debtors’ (aka the British people) but the long term interests of humanity”.

        As it happens, I have just started reading David Graeber’s superb and eye-opening “Debt: The First 5,000 Years”, which I strongly recommend to everyone. (Indeed, I think it ought to be required reading in all secondary schools). The first couple of chapters make the connection plain, although the whole book deals with the vexed and immensely important question of whether (and when) debts should be cancelled.

        • bevin

          You are right about Graeber’s book which I too enjoyed. The idea of an ‘equitable adjustment’ is Cobbett’s and before him Swift’s.

          • Tom Welsh

            Graeber seems to claim that it goes back 5,500 years to the Sumerians – who seem to have invented a whole lot of things that are commonly thought to be distinctively “modern”.

          • bevin

            Of course you are right. I was referring not to debt but to the specific National Debt system, what Disraeli called the Dutch system of Finance. What Paine referred to as the English system.
            After the Napoleonic/anti-Jacobin wars the matter of the Debt was a central issue: Ricardo wanted to confiscate landed property, as I recall, to satisfy the creditors…

  • Habbabkuk

    “Fishing – their traditional activity – will be banned by the UK government’s marine reserve.”

    Could someone – preferably Craig and certainly someone familiar with its details – please confirm that this particular Marine Reserve Order forbids all fisheries activities and does not make an exception for small-scale, coastal waters fishery activity (in French: la pêche artisanale) , which of course is the only sort of fishery the Chagossians would in any event be capable of exercising) ?

    • Tom Welsh

      With the exception, of course, of the mass killing of fish and other marine wildlife by the use of bombs, depth charges, appallingly loud sonar devices, etc. etc. Which are fine, as is everything Uncle Sam chooses to do.

      • Habbabkuk


        Thank you for trying to be helpful but I have no intention of wading through 200 pages of legal judgement to find an answer to my question.

        Be it noted in passing that a quick skim of a couple of pages seems to indicate that one of Mauritius’s complaints is that it (ie Mauritius) would not be allowed to fish within the Chagos Islands’ EEZ (I see not mention of the rights of the Chagossians themselves).

        The answer to my question is presumably to be found in the text of the Marine Preservation Order. I also presume that Craig, who has waxed eloquent on this aspect of the issue, is fully conversant with that text. Hence I suggest that Craig should be kind enough to provide an answer to my question.

        Or anyone else who has – as Craig presumably has – the Order in question.

          • Habbabkuk

            If I knew the answer, Martinned, I should not have asked the question.

            I was hoping that someone who brought forward the argument in the first place might be better qualified to answer.

          • Habbabkuk

            A quick skim of your sources throws up the following (FCO consultation doc):

            “from consultations with scientific/environmental and fishery experts, there appear to
            us to be 3 broad options for a possible framework:
            (i) Declare a full no-take marine reserve for the whole of the territorial waters and
            Environmental Preservation and Protection Zone (EPPZ)/Fisheries
            Conservation and Management Zone (FCMZ);
            (ii) Declare a no-take marine reserve for the whole of the territorial waters and EPPZ/FCMZ with exceptions for certain forms of pelagic fishery (eg., tuna) in certain zones at certain times of the year.

            (iii)Declare a no-take marine reserve for the vulnerable reef systems only. ”

            Hence my question – the answer to which can probably only be found in the final Order itself.

          • Martinned

            Sometimes you have to do a bit of research yourself. In case you haven’t noticed, people on the internet (and on this blog in particular) typically prefer vague recollections of second hand news they saw on their Facebook feeds over actual research and facts.

          • Habbabkuk

            I was not indulging in vague recollections of second hand news, Martinned, but asking a very precise question.

            Namely: does the Order prevent all fishing, even what I called “la pêche artisanale”.

            The answer is important because Craig so far seems to imply that all fishing is forbidden with the objective of maling it impossible for returning Chagossians to create a viable economy.

            I thought you believed in fact-based arguments?

          • Habbabkuk

            When I asked for the information, Martinned, I didn’t in fact have you in mind. It is rather for those who adduced the Marine Preservation Order as evidence of UK govt perfidy to answer the question.

            Hence your observation about me asking you to act as my pro bono research assistant is at best otiose and at worst just plain silly.

  • Republicofscotland

    I suppose the Great Satan (consecutive US governments) had a part to play in denying the Chagossian’s, the right to return, by heavily influencing the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Baroness Anelay’s decision.

    Of course the British government of the day used similar tactics to remove the chagossians, (albeit less fatal one’s), as they did in the South African, “scorched earth policy” of the second Boer war, well according to this they did.

    “Among the methods British and US authorities used to drive the Chagossians off their island was killing their pets en masse with exhaust fumes and threatening to shoot, bomb or starve the natives themselves.”

    “Among the key objections cited in Baroness Anelay’s statement was the difficulty of resettling the Chagossian population on low-lying islands, though the decision appears to fly in the face of the presence of thousands of UK and US service personnel on the island of Diego Garcia, who apparently live there with no problem.”

    The Chagossian’s are classed as British citizens, it just that in the eyes of the British government, they’re not the right kind of British citizen.

    • Tom Welsh

      “Among the methods British and US authorities used to drive the Chagossians off their island was killing their pets en masse with exhaust fumes…”

      Charming. And so soon after the Final Solution, too. No doubt the strong implication was, “And if you don’t leave NOW…”

      • Republicofscotland

        Yes Tom, I’d imagine the tone became increasingly menacing. However the British and American governments, have form when it comes to removing people from their lands.

        Even today after one of the most horrific removals of indigenous native North American’s, the authorities are still trying to run pipeline lines over Indian lands in America, by using the white man’s laws, and the old favourite intimidation.

        Former British governments, are no slouches either, here the claim is the Brits, wiped out the entire population of Van Diemen’s Land, now called Tasmania.

      • one way street

        One of the earlier main ways the Diego Garcians were removed from the island was completely underhand. Whenever Diego Garcians travelled to Mauritius for medical treatment they and the relatives who had accompanied them found that the shipping companies had been given orders not to take them back home. The UK – US lease deal was still secret. The House of Commons hadn’t even been told. The Diego Garcians had travelled to Mauritius unaware that they would not be allowed back.

        Nothing like the British sense of fair play.

    • Republicofscotland

      “meaningless within the terms of this discussion.”



      One does wonder though, why even bother classing the Chagossian people as “British” citizens, (which I imagine comes with a whole host of rights presumably ) when the intention was and still is to ride roughshod all over their human rights.

      Of course the “British” citizen tag, and it is a tag, is, in my opinion, the British governments way of pissing on a lamp post, so too speak, and declaring the territory British, without having to be too accommodating to the Chagossian people.

      PS, re the the answer to a previous poser I asked you, I can’t seem to find the reply, I know my vision isn’t 20/20, but if you did reply, could you be a good chap and indicate at when you did.

      Thank you.

      • Habbabkuk

        “One does wonder though, why even bother classing the Chagossian people as “British” citizens, (which I imagine comes with a whole host of rights presumably )..”

        Let me help “one” (assuming that you are “one” and not severak 🙂 )

        You imagine wrongly once again. Most of the UK citizen categories in fact carry rather few rights and most notably do not confer the automatic right of residence in the UK.

  • Habbabkuk


    Further to my question to commenters (16h12, above), I wonder if you – as a Historian, Former Ambassador and Human Rights Activist – might consider doing a thought piece on whether the Kurds are a people and a people whose demands for self-determination within, or independence from, those countries in which they constitute an often-persecuted minority – Turkey, Iraq and of course Syria) are justified (in your opinion).

    Thank you for giving this request consideration.

    • fwl

      These questions can be answered into ways: 1) from an idealist detached position based on human rights, or some nuanced belief; or 2) based on an initial view of the special interests and global aims of world powers. If answering on the basis of 2) then whether there should be a Kurdistan will depend on where in the world one stands and with whom one is in alliance. Generally but not always answers on the basis of 1) are naive or window dressing for type 2) answers.

  • Republicofscotland

    Of course the brutal expulsion of the Chagossian people from their lands, which can be viewed here in Pilger’s, Stealing a Nation.

    Is indicative, of how the British handle people they see as inferior.

    Pilger indicates that both the US and Britain in its abysmal handling of the forced evictions, could fall under the remit of the ICC, and crimes against humanity category.

    • Habbabkuk

      It is not irrelevant at all. But if it is, then why is Craig using it as an argument to show the perfidy of the UK govt?

      Please keep up.

      • bevin

        ‘Irrelevant’ might not be the word. Perhaps trivial would serve instead. The reality is that the option of returning to Diego Garcia and re-inventing a subsistence economy has been closed off by the actions of the imperialist government.
        The perfidy of the UK government in this matter is not, surely, in question. Is it?
        The history of the islands and of Mauritius furnishes so much evidence of bad faith, greed and inhumanity on the part of the British government that, were these the only territories the country had ever acquired, it would be enough to convict.
        Craig’s mention of David Miliband’s world historical hypocrisy and deceitfulness simply caps the evidence: anyone who doubted that the imperialists could do anything worse-after slavery, followed by the alternate Evangelical slavery of indentured servitude and coolie plantations, followed by the handing over (at a price) of the archipelago to the bosses in Washington, another transaction in slavery, followed by…the history Craig has outlined in two posts- will have been amazed by the effrontery with which the Blairite Crown Prince, surrounded by corrupt and naive Green NGOs claimed that they were thinking of the fish all along.
        But back to the question Habba: do you defend the British government in this matter?

        • Habbabkuk

          Neither trivial, Bevs.

          Craig used two examples as evidence of UK govt perfidy (= making economic viability impossible for returning Chagossians:

          – no civilian use of the airfield

          – the Marine Preservation Order.

    • Tom Welsh

      “The question about whether fishing of a non commercial nature is allowed in the Chagos Islands is highly irrelevant”.

      Yes, that was my reaction too. The entire population of some islands has been forcibly deported (with no very veiled threats of death) and their islands are being used for what may be the world’s largest military base, stocked with warships, submarines, military aircraft including B-52s, missiles and (no doubt) thermonuclear weapons – all aimed at being able to kill people in Asia more quickly and conveniently than would otherwise be possible.

      But the House of Commons chooses to discuss fishing rights.

      Ironically, a subject they would never dream of mentioning in connection with the EU.

      • Sharp Ears

        Thanks Bevin and Tom Welsh. In using the word ‘irrelevant’, I meant the question of fishing is ‘hypothetical’ as there are no islanders there any more with or without boats, nets or rods.


        Ref the slimy Bryant, he is of course a cleric manqué and even a member of LFoI

        What would Nye Bevan say? There’s a crowd of u/s Liebour MPs in Wales including Owen Smith and the Kinnocks past and present.

        • Habbabkuk

          Sharp Ears

          1/, Perhaps you should decide on the correct word before you post

          2/ If the point is hypothetical, then Craig was using a hypothetical point to back up his opinion. You should therefore have addressed your reply to him.

        • Sharp Ears

          Ref Bryant. He was on QT from Stirling last night. His shallowness was easily detectable. A true Blairite. He squirmed when challenged on the his own and the PLP’s sabotage of Jeremy Corbyn.

          Rhondda MP Chris Bryant quits Labour shadow cabinet
          26 June 2016

          Oh yes but he’s right behind Jeremy now.

          He puffs himself on his Twitter by retweeting compliments on his performance,

          In addition to his membership of LFoI, he is also a member of Labour Friends of Palestine. Also a signatory to the Henry Jackson Society principles. And he worked for Common Purpose after leaving the priesthood. One mixed up individual.

          • Habbabkuk

            “In addition to his membership of LFoI, he is also a member of Labour Friends of Palestine….. One mixed up individual.”


            Mixed up?

            Less negative “commenters” might see it as a welcome sign of even-handedness.

            There’s really no satisfying some people.

    • Tom Welsh

      Oh, thank Heavens! For a dreadful moment I thought you wrote “Alastair Cambell” and “principled”… I was worried that the universe might melt.

  • fwl

    I don’t expect any military strategic territory in the pacific is going to be relinquished.

    The following may have a superficial panglossian naivity. In C20 US has obviously sought to divide China and Russia. Sometimes easily done without effort as they have their own contentions. Simply put US tends to prefer one over the other and that has been China over Russia. Although China says it views Trump with detached interest on an assumption that he will be so inept he will deliver up world no 1 economic status to China quicker than might otherwise have been expected there is a res possibility that what Trump’s election is all about is reversing US position vis a vis Russia and China ie kiss and make up with Russia and the opposite with China. That could take many forms from trade and currency disputes to debt default, to sparking regional conflict all with strategic end game of slowing China’s growth. But hopefully I am wrong and Trump is just a product of multiple factors and cock ups. Who knows?

  • Republicofscotland

    In the midst of the Cold War, the United States decided it wanted a military base in the Indian Ocean to keep the USSR and China from threatening the Arabian Gulf.

    Suddenly the Chagos archipelago was more than just an insignificant speck on the map. The USA’s first choice location for a new base was the uninhabited Aldabra Atoll, but Harold Wilson, the then British Prime Minister, feared antagonism from ecologists, as Aldabra is home to a rare breed of turtle.

    So he offered Diego Garcia instead, even though it was inhabited.

    I’m thinking, and I hope you are too, that, that wasn’t the first time the British government, offered up lands belonging to one set of people, to another group of people. Without the consent of the indigenous folk.

  • Robert Hopkins

    It seems that some politicians are still living in the 18th century. Why can’t they just let the Chagossians live in peace on the island?
    It just proves that racism is still rife at Westminster, especially the Tories.

    • Macky

      Just watched QT on Iplayer; Chris Bryant is a Tony Blair clone !; not only does he look like him, he talks the same way, & has all the other similar mannerism ! It’s quite spooky, and no wonder he’s a Blairite !

  • michael norton

    John Lamont, the Scottish Conservative chief whip, said: “The evidence here suggests that one SNP politician has been milking the public purse in order to pass on cash to a fellow SNP colleague. At the very least, we need an urgent investigation by the authorities, and full disclosure from the SNP.

    “For the party to fail to respond to questions on this is appalling. As always with the SNP, they complain the loudest about imagined grievances, but then shut up shop when it comes to themselves.”

    An SNP spokesperson said: “All MSPs require staffing to support their work for constituents, including undertaking casework and administrative duties. Both Chic Brodie and Corri Wilson have acted entirely in line with parliamentary rules.”

    • michael norton

      My point is:
      can you just imagine if there is a second-third-fourth once in a lifetime referendum and Scotland finally breaks free from the British yoke to gain unfettered independence?

      Imagine the fleecing of the Scottish State by the SNP politicians.

    • michael norton


      that is because, they do not want
      they think they know best, which is the opposite of what the people who voted for BREXIT want.
      They are diverters of democracy, they are also stupid.

    • Alcyone

      I wouldn’t say that about Craig and Suhayl, but Jon Snow I think has lost the plot. He should’ve instead of wasting money flying to the US, stayed at home. Which he should do now. Gurumurthy too is not prepared to see the paradigm-shift. Even Murdoch’s Fox has done way better! This would be the right time tactically for him to up the game at the New York Post.

      • Anon1

        The whole of C4 News is a fucking disgrace, full of shit-stirring lefties trying to promote every possible division in society. Snow is a paticularly wretched example of the genre. Gurumurthy is an arrogant cock.

        • Alcyone

          Arrogant, without basis unlike his fat arse! And completely devoid of humour. Further doubtful lefty aesthetics, just look at his haircut, with a cheap hair gel.

  • Anon1

    Craig has obviously been on a long quest to find the ultimate criticism of the British government to which there is no answer (except perhaps that no tribe/nation/empire has ever acted any differently).

    And to give him his due I think he has probably found it. The Chagossians.

    It is high time the Scots rejected the Empire they played such a large part in building, which today consists of just a few islands. This will be the clincher for independence.

  • ron

    The British people have no right of self-determination
    This and previous governments – now so far removed from every day life – cannot see what is happening. I am heartily sick of the establishment view and behaviour on just about everything and this just proves, once again, they ‘don’t give a damn’ – the time for talking is over people – get on to facebook and start a bloody petition just like your forefathers ….. FFS …. don’t forget today they all agreed that spying on us 24/7 was agreeable and lawful without even the recourse to a judge ….. we are all prisoners now

  • Adam Burton

    I thought Peter Grant’s comment was good:

    “I’m sure the minister knows his history and knows that couple of hundreds years ago his predecessor would’ve stood in a similar place and assured parliament that this colony called America could not possibly have delivered does he not accept that the distinction between talking about whether it is in the interest of islanders to return if that decision is taken here rather than giving them the right to decide that is a return to the days of colonial Britain … that should have been consigned to the dustbin of history hundreds of years ago”

    Peter Grant MP
    Scottish National Party

    Thanks for posting this Craig. It was unbearable.

    • Adam Burton

      Apologies, missed a bit:

      “I’m sure the minister knows his history and knows that couple of hundreds years ago his predecessor would’ve stood in a
      similar place and assured parliament that this colony called America could not possibly have delivered a decent standard
      of life to its people. Does he not accept that the distinction between talking about whether it is in the interest of
      islanders to return if that decision is taken here, rather than giving them the right to decide, that is a return to the
      days of colonial Britain … that should have been consigned to the dustbin of history hundreds of years ago”

      I could not make out the word between ‘Britain’ and ‘that’.

  • Andrew Nichols

    Again – Toatally ignored in our media in Aus. The Chagossians in Pinter speak “never happened…never existed…

    The plight of these wretched people is why we are ALL ultimately doomed to extinction.

  • michael norton

    I started watching Question time, it is in Stirling, I was in Stirling a few weeks ago.
    The SNP started spouting bollocks, I had to leave the room or I would have punched my own tv out.

    • michael norton

      Two years after she took over from Alex Salmond, the penny finally appears to be dropping that the nationalist party is responsible for much of the mismanagement going on north of the border.

      The Change.Org petition states:
      Sturgeon must be reprimanded for deceitful interpretation of the remain votes in Scotland from the UK’s Brexit result.

      Sturgeon shows an unhealthy obsession with Scottish independence, against the will of the people of Scotland.
      She must stand down for misrepresenting the people of Scotland.

      Critics claim that Scottish public services are in meltdown due to disastrous management by the SNP, with the NHS crumbling under its policies.

      And the SNP has also been hit by a series of lurid scandals in recent months which have seriously dented Ms Sturgeon’s popularity.

  • bevin

    “Craig used two examples as evidence of UK govt perfidy (= making economic viability impossible for returning Chagossians:
    – no civilian use of the airfield
    – the Marine Preservation Order…”

    What nonsense, Habbabkuk!
    The evidence of HMG perfidy is not being challenged. The two occasions to which you refer-the airfield and the fishing- are merely indications of pettiness and moral dishonesty of an Establishment which resorts to tricks designed to fool nobody except those who, having long since lost interest in the truth, want the ‘party line’ laid out for them to spout.
    You avoid the question but it is clear that you do indeed take the government’s side (and that of the US) in this dispute.
    It would seem that, once a man has signed on to the proposition that the brutal colonisation of Palestine is justifiable, there is no crime which he will not defend.

    • Habbabkuk


      Before “taking sides” in a discussion it is always good to be in possession of as many of the facts as possible.

      Craig used the no-fisheries point to back up his opinion that the UK govt was doing its best to ensure that the Chagossians would not have a viable economy to return to.

      I want to know if that point is valid.

      Hence my question about whether the Marine Preservation Order rules out the possibility of what I called “la pêche artisanale”, which is the only sort of fishing the Chagossians would be able to undertake in the event).

      Craig’s silence on this and the bluster from commenters such as yourself makes me somewhat suspicious.

  • Mike

    Beginning in 1968, consecutive British governments have denied the truth of this gross violation of human rights; consecutive British governments have abandoned their own citizens and watched their desperate situation grow worse by the year; consecutive British governments have conspired to misinform the UK public and deny the right of the people of Diego Garcia to ever return home.

    The Chagosians were once described by a Foreign Office official in a secret file: ‘unfortunately along with birds go some few Tarzans or man Fridays whose origins are obscure’. The deceit continued decade after decade. In 1990 Margaret Thatcher deliberately lied when she told the House of Commons that:

    Those concerned worked on the former copra plantations in the Chagos archipelago. After the plantations closed between 1971 and 1973 they and their families were resettled in Mauritius and given considerable financial assistance. Their future now lies in Mauritius.

1 2 3