Saturday, March 8, 2014

The history of British-Irish relations has often been unpleasant and controversial. Irish independence was a struggle, the establishment of the Republic of Ireland was controversial. The partition of Ireland outraged not a few and out of that grew “The Troubles” that both sides had to deal with. However, in time, the governments and people of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland came to accept the situation and the problems became localized to Northern Ireland between republican terrorists and loyalist militias (whose tactics often matched terror for terror). The Irish Republic, for all their brave talk, was just as glad to have Northern Ireland be London’s problem rather than their own and as much as they might claim to want a united Ireland, they have never wanted it bad enough to actually put up an honest fight for it. Things might then have settled down to a relative routine of simply keeping republican terrorists in Ulster under control were it not for the schemes, sell-outs and no less than treason on the part of numerous British politicians. Northern Ireland went from being the six counties everyone wanted to that bit of Ireland which London seems desperate to get rid of but which Dublin refuses to take. So, even while Northern Ireland remains a part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, with Queen Elizabeth II as Sovereign, it has continually been pushed aside to the point of being a semi-independent micro-state of its own. British troops left, a local government was established (even including republican terrorists) and lately even the Union Jack was hauled down as if in surrender. Certainly, in regards to this small corner of her realm, the Queen has been ill-served by many of her ministers and in the current scandal, it should come as no surprise, the culprit is once again that former ‘boy wonder of the Labour Party’ little Tony Blair.

Here is what happened: As most know, “The Troubles” were brought to an end by a peace agreement known as the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. Under the terms of that agreement, all of the republican terrorists held by Great Britain were given an early release from prison but this did not apply to suspected terrorists or those who had previously escaped from prison but were still wanted men by Her Majesty’s government. These came to be known as the “on the runs”. Sinn Fein, the political arm of the Irish Republican Army, wanted the British government to allow these escaped terrorists and suspected terrorists to be able to return to the United Kingdom without fear of arrest, in other words, to wipe the slate clean with a complete and total amnesty for all of their beloved republican terrorists. Naturally, the British government balked because the public would stand for no such thing, especially as, when these demands started to be made, the IRA had still not disarmed. All of that changed with the coming to power of the despicable, smiling Tony Blair. It turns out that in 2000 Prime Minister Blair wrote to Sinn Fein president (and former republican terrorist) Gerry Adams saying that if the republicans would share information about these wanted terrorists, something could be worked out on a case by case basis.

In 2003 a proposal to make this agreement law was made public and was to be tied to the disarmament of the IRA. British loyalists were outraged and Sinn Fein rejected the proposal as well (and why accept a deal when the other side seems always prepared to give more) but the traitor Tony Blair was determined to press on. He wanted all loose ends tied up so he could be hailed as the man who brought “peace” to Northern Ireland after all. So, in 2007 a secret operation was put into effect to find and evaluate the “on the runs” by the Police Service of Northern Ireland. None of the public knew anything about this until recently when the deal was brought before a judge at the Old Bailey. It was then that we learned from Gerry Kelly of Sinn Fein that some 187 of these republican terrorists had received letters from the British government assuring them that they were in no danger of arrest or prosecution for the crimes they committed as part of the IRA. One of the particular cases to emerge was that of John Downey who was suspected of murdering four soldiers in the 1982 Hyde Park bombing by the IRA. The judge ruled that he could not be prosecuted because of the letter he produced, from the proud traitors in Her Majesty’s government, promising him immunity.

The current government is now left to deal with this messy and embarrassing situation with Prime Minister “Call Me Dave” Cameron going before the House of Commons to call the letter that was sent to Downey a “dreadful mistake”. A mistake? A mistake he calls it?! What about all the rest? According to the Attorney General’s office of Northern Ireland, 149 of the letters were sent out by the previous Labour governments of Little Tony Blair and Gordon (is alive!) Brown but 38 have been sent out by the current coalition government of little Davy Cameron and his nagging wife Nick Clegg since 2010 with the last being sent in 2012. And if that were not outrageous enough, consider that no loyalists were given such amnesty for attacks on republicans nor have any of the British troops who participated in the events of “Bloody Sunday” been allowed to go free. Right now there are calls for a special investigation by Northern Ireland which London seems to have placated with a sort of half-way measure but from where I sit the damage has been done and it all started with that one-man wrecking ball of the United Kingdom: Tony Blair. As the judge in the Downey case said, regardless of the circumstances and what may happen from this point on, these letters being sent out have spoiled the game as far as any sort of justice goes and it would be impossible to bring any of these terrorists to trial in the future since they can argue that they had either been given an official amnesty or, if not, were misled by the British government to think they had been so that in any event a prosecution would be impossible.

Perhaps it should not be that surprising, given how, aside from these “on the runs” the British government seemed positively giddy to let all republican terrorists go free anyway. Nonetheless, it is positively outrageous that any of Her Majesty’s officials should have endorsed such a plan when dealing with people who were the open and avowed enemies of the Crown and who wished to do any and all harm possible to Her Majesty’s government and any and all of Her Majesty’s loyal subjects. Yet, starting with the actions of Tony Blair (he must have been doing this in his free time when he was not undermining the monarchy and destroying the House of Lords) this represents just one more step in the slow surrender of the United Kingdom to the republican terrorists in Ulster. It would be nice and easy if the Republic of Ireland could somehow be blamed in all this but, shamefully, this is an entirely British affair. It is not as though they are bowing to pressure from the Irish Republic, it is not as though this is a struggle between two powers for a disputed territory. No, this is a surrender to one faction of treasonous republicans who lost their war against the Crown and yet who continue, even to this day it seems, to reap the spoils of victory.

I say that if these republican terrorists can no longer be brought to justice then satisfaction must be had by bringing the crypto-republican terrorists inside the British government, past and present, to justice for making this possible. As long-time readers will know, I am perfectly capable of angering both sides of the Northern Ireland issue. I am not without compassion for the plight of the Irish Catholics who were subjected to British rule for centuries and who endured horrible sufferings on numerous occasions. I am well aware that a united Ireland under the British Crown was almost achieved only to be thwarted by the Protestant Unionists in the north and I am well aware that the partition created an artificial majority in Ulster to keep those six counties within the United Kingdom. I know all of that but I would hope that any fair-minded person could see the despicable nature of these tawdry, back-room deals. After all, Irish republicans should ask themselves how they would feel if the shoe were on the other foot and the loyalist militias who used IRA-style tactics against Irish Catholics were suddenly set free in their neighborhoods with promises to never be called to account for their actions? What about the suggestion to grant the same treatment to the British troops who participated in the tragic events of “Bloody Sunday”? How does the prospect of that make you feel?

This is positively outrageous and I think it is no exaggeration to say that those responsible are guilty not only of a “dreadful mistake” as “Call Me Dave” Cameron said but of nothing less than treason to their Queen and country because like it or not (and many certainly do not) the six counties are part of the United Kingdom and Her Majesty the Queen is the lawful sovereign over them and any who undertake the death or overthrow of the Queen or the Queen’s legitimate governments are by definition traitors. Given what these people were involved in and given the behavior of the government in endeavoring to set them free, I fail to see how it can be considered as anything else.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Capstone of Government

Some time ago, I read an article by a prominent British politician (Tory Party) lamenting the diminishment of certain personal freedoms in the English-speaking countries outside of the United States. He singled out for particular illustration the diminishment of freedom of speech, due mostly to the modern-day champions of political correctness and the recent idea that no one should ever have to suffer the horror of being offended by something someone else says. He noted that this was not a problem or at least much less of one in the United States in comparison to Great Britain because of the Bill of Rights. Correctly, he pointed out that, though many are unaware of it, Britain has a similar document, predating the American version of course, and restated the argument this man has made many times in the past that the founders of the United States were simply carrying on the tradition of their Anglo forefathers who had turned out King James II and welcomed in King William III in the “Glorious Revolution” of 1688 when the current model of the British constitutional monarchy was established. Lamenting that the 1689 Bill of Rights has been forgotten in the modern United Kingdom, he suggested that Britain would do well to emulate America on this front, perhaps with a written constitution rather than depending on the sovereignty of Parliament to keep Britain a ‘nation of laws rather than men’. Reading through this, I could not help but notice the glaring absence of a defense of the British monarchy because that is really the essential factor.

True, this person did point out that, because the Prime Minister exercises the royal powers, he has considerable political power, pointing out how easily Tony Blair was able to totally destroy (what was left of) the traditional House of Lords. Yet, the monarchy itself remains something few politicians of any stripe wish to address directly and those who do are invariably on the side of diminishing or abolishing the institution which is at the heart of all law and government in the United Kingdom and all Commonwealth Realms. Having no window to his soul, I could not state for a fact whether this is due to a lack of support for the monarchy as a vital part of British life, culture and government or because of fear of the political consequences of defending the monarchy in such a context. However, it is an essential point. The first thing that must be said is that, regardless of how comparatively better things may be or seem to be in the United States compared to other English-speaking countries when it comes to individual freedoms, the fact is that the Constitution is not a cure-all and never has been. It is one of the flaws of the American system that every politician must swear an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States and yet, by that very document, it is perfectly legal to change it. An American politician can take an oath to uphold the Constitution and still have it altered or taken to the Supreme Court to be reinterpreted to say something it never said before. It is, after all, only a piece of paper. It cannot speak for itself, it does not toil or spin. It has meaning only insofar as the Supreme Court interprets it and it has authority only insofar as it is enforced as it is.

The British case, on the other hand, is quite different and yet here again the very document being lauded, the 1689 Bill of Rights, is at least somewhat self-defeating. The only problem with the unwritten British constitution is that the one entity which is supposed to defend it and which, allegedly, has the obligation to defend it has been completely robbed of the ability to do so in part because of those very events of 1688 and the changes which came after (of course there have been plenty of others, and more drastic ones since). At the coronation of every British monarch they must swear to uphold the law and administer justice and yet, because of the perpetual power-grabbing by Parliament, today the monarch is effectively incapable of doing this and, in fact, most legal experts in Britain today would consider it “unconstitutional” and illegal if the Queen attempted to actually uphold the very oath she took at her coronation. Yet, this is only one modern absurdity among many we can see today. Another would be politicians being required to swear allegiance to the Crown yet also being allowed by law to campaign for the abolition of the Crown. We see it as well in the law which makes Parliament supreme while Parliament votes away its powers to the European Union.

It seems strange to me to hear a British politician, even one of comparatively better sense than most, argue that a new bill of rights is needed while admitting that the old one is simply ignored. Why not simply stop ignoring the old one? Perhaps because modern Britain is planted so thick with laws, local, national and European, that they often contradict each other. To enforce one law would mean to violate another. Of course, one could appeal, but go far enough and one will find that the ultimate authority has been effectively deprived of the power to act. Furthermore, any reassurance that this would be an occasion to do so and follow the letter of the law exactly would take some persuasion given the decades stretched to centuries that monarchs have been browbeaten into believing that the one thing they must never, ever do is exercise the power that is technically, legally, their own. I must also point out that in this same article, the author laments the evolution of the modern, permanent political class; those who have made politics a profession rather than a part-time obligation. However, the system that exists came to be as it is now by these very people and to serve the interests of that same political class. That is why there is no recourse. The final authority is supposed to be the monarch but the monarch is not allowed to exercise any royal powers so everything just circles back around to those same professional politicians in Parliament.

The United States, lest anyone think things are better in the “Great Republic” has come to the same thing, and in much less time. Contrary to what various presidents have said, “the buck stops” nowhere these days. The President does something that is illegal (something that violates the Constitution) and yet, the Constitution can do nothing to stop him. The opposition party may ask the Justice Department to investigate but, of course, the Attorney General is a presidential appointee and unlikely to find his boss guilty of any wrongdoing. The Congress is supposed to be able to do something but as any American should know, a thing is only illegal if someone in the *other* party does it. Unless the party opposed to the President controls large majorities in both houses, there is nothing they can do about a President who breaks the law. Most would think that the Supreme Court could do something, and it is probably true that most Americans consider them to now be the ultimate authority in the country (oddly, the institution to which one is appointed and serves for life, making it the least democratic) but, even if someone brought such a case to them and even if they deigned to hear it their ruling must be enforced by the President as they have no power other than to render opinion. As most familiar with American history know, presidents have refused to enforce Supreme Court rulings in the past and, in the right circumstances, there is no reason it couldn’t happen again.

Every country, no matter how modern and “enlightened” it may be, has to have something that the political structure is based on. There has to be something or someone which, when all else fails, has the final say and is above question. A republic, fundamentally, does not. America has made a good effort with its Constitution but, again, that is only a document which does little good when those who must uphold it and interpret it (and I do so love that word, as if it was written in some obscure, ancient language) are the very ones it is supposed to restrain. For Britain and the Commonwealth Realms this is supposed to be the monarch and it could be and has been. However, over time, minor incidents were so exaggerated that the British public, it seems, came to view the monarch as being the advisor to the Parliament rather than the reverse and invested so much power in politicians for fear of being tyrannized by a monarch that today the monarch has no power to restrain the politicians from tyrannizing the people. As can easily be seen in America, if a President oversteps his authority, it is difficult to impossible to call him to account. Yet, in a monarchy, if a King or Queen in most European countries tried to exercise their authority (much less overstep it) there is no doubt that they would be brought down immediately. Meanwhile, those in power can overstep their authority with no one to call them to account because the only one entitled to do so is not permitted.

One can debate whether or not another bill of rights would do the United Kingdom any good. Perhaps it would help for a while, perhaps it would not or perhaps it would be twisted to actually do even more harm. What is certain, and it is certain because the current bill of rights has failed in “its” duty, is that it would not be a perfect solution. Nor is their likely to be one so long as the public is limited in its thinking to trusting for the answer to their problems in more politicians (such as in the new House of So-Called Lords) or in more documents to be upheld and interpreted by politicians when the politicians are the very problem. When the monarch has been reduced to ceremonial status and the House of Peers destroyed in all but name, is it any surprise that the professional politicians of the Commons have been able to run wild? The public must awaken sufficiently to stop trusting those who advance themselves by playing on the public vanity. It must awaken to the fact that sometimes the popular majority can get it wrong and that any constitution or code of justice is only as good as those who are charged with upholding it. They must also realize that, even if they cannot consider allowing a monarch to rule or even have a share in governing, it is still a good idea to allow a monarch to say “no” and have that be the end of it. The public wanted that power and they have it. Most now realize something is wrong but they do not want to admit that maybe, just maybe, they are part of the reason why. Looking at the situation today, a monarch would not be unjustified to say to anyone asking for help, in the words of the last German Kaiser, “You’ve cooked this broth, and now you’re going to drink it”.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Arguing with Canadian Republicans

In June 2013, I wrote an article entitled “Arguing with Australian Republicans” and with only two words of alteration, the same opening lines can be used for this article. Republicans are quite a nonsensical bunch no matter where in the world you find them and those infecting the great country of Canada are certainly no different. Their arguments are so full of holes and lack any credibility to such a great extent that they have so far been unsuccessful in their treasonous efforts in spite of having virtually the entire mainstream media, political establishment and university system all helping them push their agenda. Of course, the traitor crowd in Canada has not even managed to get as far as their fellow traitors in Australia but, because of all the powerful institutions mentioned, they continue to get far more attention than they deserve and so their ridiculous carping is a near constant irritant. Now, I am sure some may dispute me that all of these elite bodies are pushing republicanism but they are, they are just not always overt about it.

For example, not all professors in Canadian universities are actively trying to convert their students into being good, little republicans but they are certainly not teaching them about the Canadian constitutional monarchy or instilling in them a proper understanding of and loyalty to the Canadian Crown. As for the media, despite the fact that none of the major Canadian political parties embrace the cause of republicanism, despite the fact that no poll has ever shown a majority of Canadians to favor republicanism and in spite of the fact that sufficient public support for a republic has never been gained to even hold a referendum on the subject, the CBC continues to give air-time to Canadian republicans virtually every time a royal event is covered. And this bias reaches across the political spectrum. For example, one of the most famous (or infamous) “right-wing” Canadian media personalities, Ezra Levant, on October 29, 2013, told an American guest that one of the things he most admired about the United States was that Americans are “revolutionary in spirit”. This was on a segment discussing merging the USA and Canada into one country and never once did Levant say that Canada was a constitutional monarchy and that was preferable to being a republic with America. The CBC to Levant basically covers the left/right divide in the Canadian media. As for the political establishment, the instances of outspoken loyalty to the Crown have been relatively few.

Yet, Canadian republicans are, thankfully, a rather inept bunch and were it not for the woefully inadequate public education concerning the monarchy, they would almost certainly have no support at all. Their own arguments frequently contradict each other. They claim, for example, that none of the royal safeguards, royal titles, royal treaties or anything at all would be changed if Canada became a monarchy because Canada is a republic already in all but name yet, they still say it is vital that Canada become a republic in name as well. So they are at the same time arguing that the Canadian monarchy has absolutely nothing to do with Canada these days but that it is somehow still damaging enough to need to be abolished. Have they never stopped to ask themselves how an institution can be doing a disservice to Canada when they are the ones claiming it does not serve at all? A close look at their arguments shows almost nothing but a long list of everything that would NOT change if Canada became a republic and yet they still try to persuade that changing Canada into a republic is absolutely vital. It is truly astonishing that absolutely anyone with their faculties in order could ever be taken in by such a cause. However, again, as with republicans everywhere, when common sense fails they do not hesitate to resort to outright lies.

To demonstrate this, I shall respond to some of the posted “Frequently Asked Questions” on the website of the most prominent Canadian republican organization. Their very first “question” is a lie itself. “If Canada ends its constitutional connection to the British monarchy, doesn’t that mean we’d become a republic?” Their answer is “yes” but that this would only accomplish in name what already exists in fact, so, again, one would be tempted to ask, “then what’s the point?” right out of the gate -and this is only the first question mind you. However, the lie is in the question itself as technically (and they do like to get technical, so I will as well) Canada already ended its constitutional connection to the British monarchy. There is now a Canadian monarchy that is legally a totally separate entity from the British monarchy. First question, first lie.

Second question, “Wouldn’t we end up being a republic like the United States?” to which the Canadian republicans reply “no”, basically saying that they would probably be a parliamentary republic rather than a presidential republic like the United States. However, if Canada became a republic it would be a republic “like the United States” in that both would be republics. In fact, Canada would be more like the USA than any other republic because both Canada and the United States started out the same way, only becoming separate countries because the American revolutionary forces were defeated during the American War for Independence when they invaded Canada. The American “Founding Fathers” originally intended their new country to include all of the British Empire in North America, Canada included, but Canada resisted and when peace was secured the current division between Canada and the United States was first drawn. The fundamental difference between the USA and Canada is the monarchy. Other than that, most Americans and Canadians wear the same clothes, eat the same foods, speak the same language, listen to the same music, watch the same TV shows and movies, drive the same cars, have many of the same political arguments from environmental protection to abortion. Both countries sprang from the same root and both now have an equally diverse population representing various ethnicities and religions and so on. The only reason Canada and the USA are not the same country already is because colonial America rebelled against the King while colonial Canada remained loyal.

The third question asks, “Is it true that if we end the monarchy we’d have to rename the Mounties and lose all our other royal patronages?” to which the republicans answer, “Absolutely not. The criteria for the title “Royal” includes no reference to removing it if a country transitions from monarchy to republic. Ireland has been a republic for over sixty years and has many institutions with royal patronages.” Which is true, but this is not a case of republican honesty so much as an illustration of how republicans want to turn the whole of Canada into a lie. It is true, they would not have to rename the “Royal Canadian Mounted Police” if Canada became a republic just as it is true that they could choose to rename them the “Imperial Canadian Mounted Police” even though there is no “Emperor of Canada” which would make about as much sense as calling them “Royal” when Canada has no Royal Family. Do you see how absurd these people are? Are you starting to see a pattern here? The very next question & answer assures people that Canada would not have to leave the Commonwealth if they became a republic. That is true, though I wish it were not, but do you see the common theme here? So they want Canada to be a republic but not a republic like the United States, they want to keep their royal titles and royal patronages and they want to stay in the Commonwealth of which HM the Queen is the “head”. Do they have any idea how ridiculous they sound?

Another question asks about the monarchy providing stability. These oh-so “honest” republicans respond by pointing to revolts, plots and revolutions Britain has had over the centuries, the Irish problem and the upcoming vote on “independence” for Scotland. They also point out that Canada almost broke up as a monarchy, referring, I assume, to the secession vote in Quebec. Well, yes, congratulations republicans, no country is immune from treason and internal conflict as your very presence demonstrates that every barrel has some bad apples. However, perhaps a little perspective might be in order. Monarchies may not be free from internal conflict, but history has proven that republics are better at setting people to killing each other by far. The American Civil War remains the bloodiest war ever fought in the western hemisphere of the world -and that was in the republic that has worked better and survived longer than most any other in history. Russia had internal strife as an empire but nothing so bloody and brutal as the civil war following the downfall of the monarchy. France had civil wars as a kingdom but nothing close to the Reign of Terror that followed the Revolution, to say nothing of the massacres that followed it in royalist parts of the country.

There are a number of questions trying to explain away the lack of public outcry over the monarchy but it is the answer to the last question, basically, “why bother?” that displays yet another republican contradiction. They say, “Admittedly, for as long as there’s been monarchy, there have been those who oppose it for its inegalitarian and undemocratic nature. But now, Canadians are increasingly realizing that a country that has rejected titles and aristocracy many decades ago, and which triumphs merit over bloodline, deserves to have the same values mirrored in the highest office of the land.” Yet, in their own second question about becoming “like the United States” they themselves say about a Canadian President that, “Contrary to popular belief, the position need not be political or popularly elected.” So it seems they cannot even make up their own mind whether a democratically elected head of state is a good thing or not. They do not want an unelected monarch as head of state because they value democracy but at the same time they do want an unelected president as head of state because democracy makes things political.

Aside from all of that though, when you hear these traitors being interviewed or debated, they invariably fall back on the old whine that the monarchy is a hold-over from the colonial past, from the days of the British Empire and it prevents Canada from being viewed as a “real” country. As if the foundational institution of a country should be determined based on what the neighbors will think. Frankly, the only thing I see detrimental to Canada being considered a “real” country is dimwits like these republicans and the influence they have already had on the Canadian public. Even as it stands now, the Canadian monarchy is one of the few things that makes it clear Canada is a different country from the United States. However, when I am tempted to take Canadian nationhood less than seriously it is because of things like scrapping the national flag, the Canadian Red Ensign, in favor of a new, more “inclusive” model. Real countries are proud of their history, heritage and symbols and do not discard them for being ‘behind the times’. I am tempted to take Canada less than seriously when celebrated journalists like Diane Francis write books about why Canada should merge with the United States. Real countries do not want to become another country. I am tempted to take Canada less seriously when a Canadian says what they are most proud of about Canada is their respect for human rights and multiculturalism, in other words, the value of having no values. Ask an American, even when the party they oppose is in power, what they are most proud of about their country, and they will usually say “our form of government” which they think is the best in the world. If Canadians would say the same it would do more for their “image” than becoming just another republic.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Flag Controversy in Australia

The debate over the Australian national flag is one of those annoying little issues that can be extremely frustrating. Those who advocate scrapping the Australian flag for a new design have never come anywhere close to gaining the support of a majority of the people and yet, partly thanks to an often treasonous mainstream media, the issue never seems to go away. It continues to be brought up and discussed over and over again in spite of the fact that no poll has ever shown more than 32% in favor of changing the flag and recent polls have shown even less support than that. Those who favor changing the flag invariably wrap themselves in the most popular, “warm and fuzzy” catch-phrases of modern political-speech like “uniqueness” and “multiculturalism”, yet, when you boil it down, it seems what they are most upset about is that Australia never had a really bloody, horrific revolutionary war in order to become an independent country. The Australian national flag came about in much the same way that the independent Commonwealth of Australia itself did, moderately, peacefully and over a period of time. That would seem to be the ideal way for a country to gain independence, yet it seems these people wish things could have been different and rather than be proud of how mature and reasonable Australia behaved in the past, they wish there had been a murderous tantrum instead. Does that sound mad? Give it some thought.

The primary complaint against the anti-Australian flag crowd is the presence of the Union Jack in the canton. They dislike this because the Union Jack is also the flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and because it is a reminder of the colonial history of Australia as the flag is basically a modified British Blue Ensign. This is entirely understandable because Australia began as a collection of British colonies, as part of the British Empire and so the flag of the British Empire was not the flag of a foreign country, but the flag of Australia and every other part of the British Empire. As Australia came together as one country and gained independence the British Blue Ensign was modified to become the uniquely Australian flag we know today. This was not the case in, for example, the United States of America which started out with a defaced British Red Ensign but dropped the Union Jack (as it was then) also called the “King’s Colours” when independence was declared during the Revolutionary War. It would have been rather absurd for rebel colonists in America to continue flying the flag of a country they were at war with, whose soldiers they were trying to kill as best they could. Yet, none of that happened with Australia. Britain was never an enemy of Australia, they have never fought a war against each other and so the British flag was not the flag of an enemy but the flag of the “mother country” and the British Empire which was the seed bed that the Commonwealth of Australia grew in.

There was no radical change in flag design because there was no radical break with Great Britain. Australian independence came about step by step, legally and peacefully with no bitterness or animosity. It seems some wish it had not been so. These are the sort of people who are, make no mistake about it, traitors in their heart and soul who I am sure wince in physical pain when reading the words of the great Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies who called himself, “British to the bootstraps” and who said that, “…the common devotion to the throne is part of the very cement of the whole national structure.” There should be no doubt that everyone agitating for changing the Australian national flag is also a republican (which makes them a traitor) and some will proudly admit it. Some will smugly proclaim that they oppose the Australian national flag because it features the Union Jack and the Union Jack symbolizes the British monarchy (which is also the Australian monarchy but good luck getting any of them to say that). So, again, it seems that they cannot enjoy being an independent country because that independence came with no hateful, violent break with the past.

Of course, the anti-flag crowd would never admit to such a thing. Instead, they complain that the Australian flag is too similar to other flags and that it does not represent the modern, multi-cultural Australia because all the symbolism on the flag is British (which is not entirely true but that is the argument). The idea that it is a problem that the flag looks too similar to some others is certainly an absurd one. The only other sovereign state with a flag similar to that of Australia is New Zealand, so it is not as though there is a great deal of confusion gripping the peoples of the world. One other flag is similar and that is all. There would be more grounds for confusion for confusion over the United States flag which is similar to at least two other countries; Liberia and Malaysia. Yet, no one complains. You will certainly never hear anyone in Texas complain that the beloved Lone Star must be tossed aside because some might confuse it with the flag of Chile. How about Turkey and Tunisia or Slovakia, Slovenia and Russia? What about Indonesia and Monaco? What about Mexico, Italy and Ireland? Chad and Andorra? It is, frankly, ridiculous and more than that, it contradicts their very own, paramount, argument concerning multi-culturalism.

There is, after all, a reason why the flags of New Zealand and Australia are similar just as there is a reason why the flags of Canada, India and South Africa used to be similar; all were a part of the British Empire. Obviously, those wishing to change the flag despise that fact and hate their own history but if they value multiculturalism so highly, surely there was never a more multicultural entity than the British Empire. The British Empire included the Anglo-Saxon and Celtic peoples (all of them outside the United States), French-Canadians in Quebec, Dutch Boers, Africans of various tribes, the Hindu states of India, the Buddhists of Burma, the Chinese of Hong Kong and the largest population of Muslims in the world. What on earth could be more multicultural than that? And how is it that the Union Jack (which is really the only part of the flag most of these people object to) cannot be considered a symbol of multicultural Australia when it is still the symbol of a very multicultural Great Britain which has sizeable minorities of peoples from countries as far flung as Jamaica, Poland and Pakistan? Of course, they will counter that with an even more absurd argument which is that it is just not “proper” for an independent country to have the flag of another country as part of its own. This, frankly, displays an astounding level of stupidity.

For one thing, it is not just “another country” but the country that, whether these people like it or not, founded and brought up what became the modern Commonwealth of Australia. These people cannot seem to get beyond their own prejudices and accept the fact that there would be no Australia if it had not been for the British Empire and those first British ships and British colonists who came and built the country from the ground up. However, the argument that it is “improper” for an independent country to feature, as part of its flag, the flag of another country, while being grossly insulting to other countries and states and provinces around the world that do the same, is so astoundingly absurd, I can really only think of one way to best respond to it and that is with a question. I would really like to pose this to one of the advocates of changing the Australian flag: “Why are you speaking English then?” After all, you’re a totally different and multicultural country now, so why do you still speak the language of your former “colonial masters”? Isn’t it “improper” for one independent country to speak the exact same language as another country? I know, I know, that sounds extremely silly but that is the whole point. Australians speak English because they were founded by English-speaking peoples just like how the Australian flag features the Union Jack because they were founded by people for whom the Union Jack was “their” flag and proudly so.

The Australian flag, the flag that has accompanied Australians to battle in both world wars and every conflict since, represents the entirety of Australian history whereas these people seem to what a flag that represents only the Australia of today which might not even be the Australia of tomorrow. It is absurd. However, it is part of a larger and more insidious effort to divorce Australia entirely from the traditions and values that made the country. Part of that, all here should take notice, is the monarchy. There is scarcely any argument made for changing the flag that could not, and for the most part has been, used to argue for abolishing the monarchy as well. For many people across the entire English-speaking world those three crosses of St George, St Andrew and St Patrick that make up the Union Jack represent monarchy like no other symbol. The enemies of monarchy are always trying to hide it, change it and remove it from view and all monarchists in the world should stand together in opposition to this. All monarchists everywhere and most certainly all those in the English-speaking world should give all of our support to our loyal brethren ‘Down Under’ in defending and maintaining the Australian flag.

God Save the Queen! God bless Australia and keep it flying!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Falkland Islands Dispute

Most people are probably aware that the south Atlantic islands known in Britain as The Falkland Islands are at the center of a long-standing dispute between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Argentina (which calls the islands Las Malvinas). In 1982 this dispute sparked a brief war between the UK and Argentina when the Argentine regime of General Leopoldo Galtieri (acting president of the military junta then ruling Argentina) invaded and occupied the islands before being soundly beaten in a British counter-attack ordered by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher that removed the Argentine military presence and inflicted a defeat on Argentina that brought down the military regime. Fewer people, however, may be aware of why these islands, seemingly insignificant, continue to cause tensions and how the dispute over their sovereignty came to be. First of all, it is important to remember that this is a sovereignty dispute, which means that both Britain and Argentina claim to hold sovereignty over them. It is not, for example, the same thing as the tensions between the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Spain over Gibraltar. The status of Gibraltar is not really in dispute; Gibraltar is British and the Spanish are not happy about it. With the Falklands, it is not a case of Argentina simply being disgruntled or upset that the islands, for some reason, should have been given to them and have not. They claim that they have always belonged to them and rightly still do. This makes sovereignty disputes particularly troublesome because, at any time and for any reason, a conflict like that seen in 1982 could break out.

Captain John Byron
The claim by Argentina that the Falklands belong to them is, it should be made clear at the outset, obviously ridiculous given that ownership of the islands pre-dates the founding of the country of Argentina by centuries. The first people to land on the islands were British sailors in 1690 when Captain John Strong sailed through the area and named the islands for the First Lord of the Admiralty, the Viscount of Falkland. The British planned to settle the islands but were beaten to the punch by the Kingdom of France (yes, France is involved in this too) when Louis Antoine de Bougainville planted a small French colony in East Falkland in 1764. Then, in 1765, the British returned when Captain John Byron landed on another nearby island, Saunders Island, and claimed the whole island group for Great Britain. The French settlement in East Falkland was not even noticed. The British did not find out about the French presence until the next year in 1766 which was also the year that France sold their claim on the islands to Spain with the understanding that the Spanish would keep the British out of the neighborhood. Spain claimed the islands based, rather shakily, on the Treaty of Tordesillas which was a refinement of a papal bull issued by Pope Alexander VI which divided the world between Spain and Portugal (Spain got the Americas and Portugal got Africa and Asia). Because of this treaty the Spanish, or at least some of them, claimed that the Falklands should belong to them. However, the islands were not mentioned in the treaty nor did Britain or France (or any other powers) recognize the authority of the Pope to divide up the unexplored lands of the earth (hence all the non-Spanish and non-Portuguese colonies all over the Americas, Africa, India and East Asia).

In 1766 another British expedition landed and established a British fort on Saunders Island named Port Egmont. The Spanish never knew of this outpost until 1770 at which time they found out and the Spanish authorities in Buenos Aires sent a military expedition to Port Egmont which forced the British to withdraw though they still maintained their claim on the islands. They had arrived first and none of the treaties invoked by Spain (the Treaty of Tordesillas or the Treaty of Utrecht) to back up their claim applied to the Falkland Islands. Nonetheless, for the time being, Spain was in control of them. When the Spanish empire in the Americas began to fall apart, British entrepreneurs endeavored to settle the islands again in the 1820’s. By this time, the British presence was protested by the revolutionary government of the “United Provinces of the River Plate” or the “United Provinces of South America” which was the rebel government that had broken from Spain and taken control of what had formerly been the Spanish Viceroyalty of the River Plate (Rio de la Plata) and which presided over territory that would eventually become the northernmost reaches of the Republic of Argentina.

Luis Vernet
In 1833 the British returned, forced out the meager Spanish/Argentine military presence on the islands and established British control over the islands once again. Today, some in Argentina trace their claim back to Luis Vernet. He tried twice to colonize the islands, failing each time, before establishing a minor presence. However, he reported to the British consul at every step and though the government in Buenos Aires declared him to be governor on their behalf, the political situation on the South American mainland was far from settled and Vernet himself even requested permission to make his colony a British protectorate if the British were to resume their colonization of the islands. The British reestablished control of the islands and protected the existing settlement though most eventually left, despite British efforts to persuade them to stay. The islands, aside from that brief period in 1982, have remained in British hands and occupied by British settlers ever since that time. Argentina, however, usually asserts their claim based on the actions of an American mercenary sea captain sailing in the employ of the United Provinces of the River Plate named Colonel David Jewett who, in 1820, raised the United Provinces flag over the islands. The problem, or at least one of them, is that the very status of the United Provinces was unclear at the time as is the connection it holds to the country of Argentina today.

The United Provinces were formed, usurping authority from the Spanish Viceroy, in 1810 and were not recognized by any major foreign powers. Moreover, they did not actually declare independence from Spain until 1816. Britain, for example, did not recognize Argentine independence until 1823, a year after the Jewett episode. The Kingdom of Spain did not recognize Argentine independence until 1857! Furthermore, though modern Argentina claims descent from the United Provinces, it was certainly not the same political entity that exists today. Bolivia and Paraguay broke away and the United Provinces were succeeded by the Argentine Confederation of 1831-1861 which was itself succeeded by the rival Republic of Argentina and State of Buenos Aires. Obviously, the claim of the modern country of Argentina to the real or imagined territories of past revolutionary governments that were always in a state of transition, is extremely tenuous at best. What makes the modern-day claim of Argentina to sovereignty over the Falklands really rich is that it is based on someone planting a flag on them and occupying them, all the while claiming that when the British did the same thing that this should be considered illegal and should not count as a way of determining sovereignty. Because a government which they claim as a predecessor of their own held possession of the islands, very briefly, Argentina asserts that this negates the British holding possession of the islands for centuries.

God Save the Queen!
The bottom line is this: it is a matter of historical fact that the British were the first to set foot on the Falkland Islands. Their claim predates all others and that is a fact. The Spanish based their claim on the islands on the Treaty of Utrecht which stated that all territories formerly held by Spain, prior to the War of the Spanish Succession, should be returned to them. However, the Falkland Islands were not named in the treaty nor did Spain hold the islands prior to the War of Spanish Succession as stipulated in the treaty. The earliest claims by any government with any connection to modern Argentina were made by a government that neither Britain nor Spain recognized and which was basing its very existence on the usurpation by force of Spanish territory (it being a revolutionary war for independence). A successful revolution can seize power from a legitimate monarch and can even obtain the recognition of that monarch of their authority over a given territory. However, they cannot claim what they did not have, what “their” government had never held and which they failed to take. The British right to sovereignty over the Falkland Islands is as legally sound as can be possible and the fact of the matter is, even if the British were to renounce their sovereignty over the Falklands, they would rightly belong to the Kingdom of Spain and not the Republic of Argentina.