Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Maybe there's justice sometimes?

I'm very pleased at the court judgement in favour of the Gurkhas who want a right to settle here, particularly for the robust arguments used by Mr Justice Blake in supporting them. Whether Jacqui Smith quite gets the message I'm not so sure.

It's difficult to believe that the Chagos Islanders will enjoy quite the same success when their demand for a right to return home reaches its conclusion with the Law Lords judgement due next month, but I hope they do.


Political Umpire said...

The two cases are distinguishable, if on a morally tawdry basis. The Gurkhas are about the most respected fighting unit in any army in the world; they have given magnificent service to Britain in every single conflict in which they have been involved. Whichever demented idiot thought they ought to be excluded from living in the country for which they have fought with such distinction ought to be taken out the back and physically re-engineered with a Kukri knife. This is, after all, the country which can't bring itself to deport admitted terrorists. I despair.

The Chagos Islanders are innocent people who got turfed out of their homes because our very much bigger brother the Americans decided they wanted the land for defensive (and often offensive) purposes. As we are in thrall to our bigger brother, we complied. Much as there was no arguing with China when they wanted Hong Kong, irrespective of what anyone actually living there might have wanted.

So we can write off the unfortunate plight of the Chagos Islanders to realpolitik, but there isn't the beginning of an excuse - bad or otherwise - for the prior exclusion of the Gurkhas.

Stephen said...

I can only endorse all you say about the Gurkhas; it is hard to see how any reasonable person could do otherwise.

Realpolitik or not, the manner of the Chagos Islanders forced removal, and the squalid lies and deceptions of the UK Government (the subject of widespread international condemnation at the time) deserve a degree of retribution.

Originally, the US didn't want Diego Garcia at all, preferring the (uninhabited) island of Aldabra. That though was a breeding ground for giant tortoises, and they thought that would raise an even bigger outcry. Tortoises or Chagos Islanders? It's a tough call, isn't it?

Political Umpire said...

Excuse the language, but according to this morning's paper, some shit for brains at the home office argued that having a Victoria Cross didn't necessarily imply a strong connection with this country (and no, I didn't make that up).