Monday 22 May 2023

In Tutela Nostra Limuria

Amidst the heeby-jeebies about a possible Chinese base on the Chagos Islands, welcome to the century by the end of which there will be a Chinese base on the Moon, and notice that the British Government is dealing only with Mauritius, where Chagossians have not always been well-treated, rather than with the Islanders themselves.

China's only overseas base is in Djibouti, the not quite one million people of which manage to share their not quite nine thousand square miles with that, with Japan's only overseas base, with a base of their old French imperial overlord, and with a base of their newer American imperial overlord. So there is no reason to assume that a Chinese base somewhere on the Chagos archipelago would displace the American one on Diego Garcia.

If the American base were indeed to be retained, a situation that would be far from ideal, then Britain should name its price, with the monies to go to the Chagossian people. Tony Benn and Tam Dalyell are dead, while Alex Salmond and George Galloway are out of Parliament, so by far the staunchest remaining parliamentary supporter of the Chagossian cause is Jeremy Corbyn. On its own, justice for the Chagos Islanders would make worthwhile his 40 years and counting in the House of Commons, both in itself and against the records of Labour Rightists from Denis Healey to David Miliband.

What does the Labour frontbench even say about the live issue of the British Indian Ocean Territory? Apparently, nothing whatever. But when I tell you that there is going to be a hung Parliament, then you can take that to the bank. I spent the 2005 Parliament saying that it was psephologically impossible for the Heir to Blair's Conservative Party to win an overall majority. I predicted a hung Parliament on the day that the 2017 General Election was called, and I stuck to that, entirely alone, all the way up to the publication of the exit poll eight long weeks later. And on the day that Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister, I predicted that a General Election between him and Keir Starmer would result in a hung Parliament.

To strengthen families and communities by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty, we need to hold the balance of power. Owing nothing to either main party, we must be open to the better offer. There does, however, need to be a better offer. Not a lesser evil, which in any case the Labour Party is not.