Friday, 31 March 2017

Europe's Grand Opportunity

So article 50 has finally been triggered , what it will mean for the future of Britain, Europe and regional integration at large?. It never really occurred to me until now that the Europhiles are in truth wasting a grand opportunity and I’ll tell you why. After seeing the arguments for and against BREXIT, I have held that Britain leaving the European Union might just be the best thing for Britain however of late I have also been thinking that Britain leaving the EU actually is actually what is best for the rest of Europe as well. I know, I sound absolutely crazy to even think of such a thing but hear me out, and then take a good look at the evidence to decide for yourself.

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 The European Integration process didn’t occur overnight, instead it was decades in the making and started all the way back to the European Coal and Steel Commission with 6 states in 1951, over the years this has grown and evolved to the European Economic Community and later to the European Union we know today, the question is where does Britain fall in all this?. For all the strides it has made, European integration is not yet completed, it started out based on functional cooperation but then evolved into a regime and later still started operated on a neo-functional principle. According to political scientist Ernst B. Haas in his 1958 work The uniting of Europe: political, social, and economic forces. The rise of functional cooperation between states will lead to cooperation in other areas thus deepening integration between countries in a particular region, this he called the “spill over effect”, according to him, for any union of states to truly work then states must be willing to partially surrender their sovereignty to a pooled body in order to serve the greater good of the region. This is currently where the EU is at today, as the evolution from a single commission to a supranational entity makes it the most advanced experiment in regional integration to date.


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That being said, the EU isn’t satisfied with being governed by functional or neo-functional ideal but wishes to move one step further into full blown federalism, already the wheels of this have been set in motion with the European Parliament, the EU Commission, the European Council, the ECJ and a plethora of accompanying institutions, they now have a common currency, central bank and trade policy but the dream of a federal Europe is not complete as yet, there more left to be done in order for the Europhiles to achieve their ultimate ambition which is a United States of Europe.
Ironically enough, the term United States of Europe was first coined by revered British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill who was a firm supporter of the idea of a United Europe, as he believed that this would be the best way to avert war on the continent when he made the quote “It is to re-create the European Family, or as much of it as we can, and provide it with a structure under which it can dwell in peace, in safety and in freedom We must build a kind of United States of Europe.”  Those who would use this quote to justify why Britain should remain in the EU however are those who focus on this line while failing to  recall the rest of the 1946 speech which also had the following to say “In all this urgent work, France and Germany must take the lead together. Great Britain, the British Commonwealth of Nations, mighty America, and I trust Soviet Russia - for then indeed all would be well - must be the friends and sponsors of the new Europe and must champion its right to live and shine.” This then goes to show a clear evidence that while Churchill did advocate for a USE, even back then he knew that if it was going to succeed then it must needs exclude Britain as it is clear that Britain’s future lies elsewhere.


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And was he wrong to assume this? Not at all, history has shown that every attempt to bring Europe together whether by coercion, sheer force of will or voluntary democratic means has always been foiled by Great Britain,  stretching as far back as the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 whereas the rest of European potentates were one by one signing on to this ground-breaking document pledging non aggression and respect each other’s sovereignty, neither England, Scotland nor Ireland (then 3 separate kingdoms under a single monarch) were present even while their continental neighbours were. Later on at the rise of the Holy Alliance, while the great powers of Austria, Russia and Prussia were steadily increasing their cooperation to signify the rise of a new order in Europe due to fall of both the Holy Roman Empire and Napoleon’s continental system, Britain stood outside of the fray and steadily refused to join any such agreement even while the rest of Europe were declaring their acquiescence to its principles.  And while it is true that Britain did cooperate in the 1815 congress of Vienna that created the concert of Europe it did not gain as much as the great powers on the continent itself because its interest lied closer with its imperial holdings elsewhere than with Europe itself. Eventually as the European Coal and Steel Commission was being upgraded to the European Economic Community, while many other states joined with little internal fuss, it was not the same with Britain which spent a long time debating whether or not they should even sign on in the first place and even afterward, the mood in the UK itself was still one of half-heartedness where the UK was never truly committed to a united Europe like say a France or Germany.
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Nothing more explicitly showed this fact than in 2002 when the European Union decided to unveil its new currency the Euro. While one by one, European countries abandoned their national currency to join the Eurozone, the United Kingdom steadfastly refused to let go of its pound sterling. It must be noted that Britain isn’t the only EU outside of the Eurozone but it is the only country qualified to join to Eurozone (pre BREXIT) that has not done so, the other non-Eurozone countries are kept out of the Eurozone because they do not meet the economic convergence criteria set by the European Central Bank, Britain however CHOOSE to keep its monetary sovereignty, thus again showing their traditional lack of commitment to fully immersing itself in the EU.


Another thing that depicts Britain’s unwillingness to join a United States of Europe is the way they view themselves in the world, In addition to Europe, Britain’s foreign policy has always heavily featured its Atlantic Connection and its relationship with the Commonwealth. Britain wasn’t the only European power to build a colonial empire, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal and even the Belgians did exactly the same thing. But none of these former colonial rulers kept the link with former vassals like Britain did, sure the French has la Francophonie while Spain and Portugal tried the Latin Union but neither of them reached the same level of influence of the Anglosphere and even while Britain had one foot in the European Union, the Commonwealth continued to grow and thrive. Its special relationship with the United States is nothing to be taken lightly either, beginning with F.D. Roosevelt and Sir Winston Churchill, relations on both sides of the Atlantic have been for the mostly excellent, with a few ups and downs of course but the United States isn’t likely to forget that Great Britain alone supported their decision to go into Iraq while the rest of Europe decried it as criminal (whether these allegations have any merit isn't the  point here, this is not a discourse in international, law), the point is that the notion of CANZUK and its connection with the rest of the Anglosphere remains strong. And while some overeager enthusiasts have been banding the notion of Empire 2.0 about, I wouldn’t hold my breath for it happening anytime soon, but the very fact that this notion does exist is testament to the fact of how Britain views themselves as being separate from Europe.

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What exactly is the point I’m trying to make by all of this? It is quite simple, for the proposed United States of Europe to be transferred from idea to reality, it must (I repeat must) exclude Great Britain, centuries of precedent have shown time and time again that every attempt to unite the states of Europe under a single flag (whether by force as Napoleon tried or by choice as the EU is doing now) has always been thwarted by the Brits and its interest. It is clear time and time again, that Britain’s interest lay outside the continent, anybody ever wondered why prior to World War I, while the UK had the world’s largest navy and biggest empire, Germany and Austria-Hungary  still had more influence in Europe than they did?  Its not because they couldn’t project power in Europe, its simply because they didn’t want to. France and Germany should take Churchill’s advice, forget about trying to bring Britain into the fold and use their influence to work to integrate the rest of Europe even further. Europhiles shouldn’t weep over BREXIT, rather they should rejoice as now a great obstacle to European statehood has finally been removed as it would have never worked with Britain in the mix, not in the sense that the federalist dreamed of. If the federalist really want to seize their grand opportunity then now is not the time for Europe to be talking about losses but instead use this as the perfect opportunity capitalise and take the dream of a United Europe forward into the future.



Sunday, 19 February 2017

Don't Blame the Reformation



A conversation I had the other day makes me always wondered why it is some Catholic royalists blame Protestants for the rise of republicanism, even an article in The Economist not long ago seems to agree. Irrespective of the infamous Game of Thrones quote which claims that "The faith and the crown are the two pillars that hold up this world. One collapses, so does the other," which I must admit is true to an extent but when I examine the facts I’m forced to question some elements of this assumption made by some of my fellow traditionalists and I’ll explain why?

 1. The principle of the “divine right of kings” which Catholics claim to have a monopoly on states that Kings are answerable to God alone, yet the Papacy has deemed that all kings of the earth must answer to them and claimed the right to set up and depose kings, although Daniel 2:21 clearly points out that only God himself has the exclusive right, a right that the Bishop clearly tried to usurp for himself, one example being when Pope Pope Gregory VII composed the Dictus Papae asserting the authority to overthrow whichever King he chose (in this case Henry IV of Germany). It was in fact the Protestant reformation that promoted true essence the divine right since it removed the imposition of the papacy as an intermediary and made rulers answerable only to the Grace of Heaven, not the will of Rome.

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2. The writings of the protestant reformers shown in no uncertain terms that they were most certainly not republican in orientation. For example Martin Luther in his 1525 book “Against the Murderous, Thieving Hordes of Peasants”, stated and I quote “anyone who is killed fighting on the side of the rulers may be a true martyr in the eyes of God…. if anyone thinks this too harsh, let him remember that rebellion is intolerable and that the destruction of the world is to be expected every hour”, he also the urged the rulers of the time to crush the revolutionaries like mad dogs and that civil powers must drive the common people, that they may learn to fear the powers that be.- does that sound like a republican or revolutionary to you?, note this is the poster man of the reformation speaking here

3. Some of the greatest moments in the history of the reformation happened with the blessing and sanction of monarchs, e.g. the Authorised Bible Version of 1611 was published with the  vehement opposition of the Catholic Church yet happened under the sanction of James VI; There was also the Act of Supremacy (1534) which made the monarchy, not the papacy, head of the Church of England. Similarly in other protestant kingdoms their rulers were given similar status, something that could not happen for Catholic monarchs who (according to the papacy) were vassals of the Pope 

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4. In relation to point number 1, the main driving vehicle of the counterreformation was the Jesuit order established in order to put an end to the reformation,  the oath taken by the Jesuit order includes the phrase  “I do now renounce and disown any allegiance as due to any heretical king or prince named Protestants, or obedience to any of the laws, magistrates or officers thereof”…traditional monarchist? I hardly think so, in fact this is a downright rebellion against the concept of monarchy (that does that pledge allegiance to the pope).

3. The Jesuits are not the only ones guilty of this either for example Cardinal Robert Bellarmine claimed that the institute of monarchy did not have any divine sanction (clearly contradicting 2 Peter 2:17) and even declared it lawful for Catholic subjects to overthrow a monarch they didn’t approve of (Such as Jacobites in the British Isles constantly whining about the legitimacy of the House of Windsor and calling for its overthrow) similarly Father Juan de Mariana a noted Catholic Scholar and clergyman promoted the idea of social contract (made famous by John Locke) and even advocated for regicide (which they dubbed as tyrannicide) which he claimed justified the murder of protestant kings in the name of the Catholic Church.

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6. The reformation strengthened the institution of absolute monarchy not weaken it, Martin Luther in his “To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation”  decried the institutions of feudalism and called for a more centralized monarchy where persons will not have a divided allegiance to the Pope, their King and their local lord but rather just as how no pope should stand between the people and their allegiance to their heavenly sovereign, in the same way the people’s earthly loyalty should be directly to their king not indirectly via manorial lords. This idea laid the foundation for strong centralized monarchies taking the place of weaker feudal kingdoms,  is it any wonder that the golden age of absolute monarchy happened in the wake of reformation?; something both Catholic and Protestant monarchies benefited from. 

    7.  Noted Christian Author Ellen White in her book “The Great Controversy” when speaking of the factors that led to the French Revolution saw it as a divine judgement against France for its rejection of the reformation movement whereas countries like Great Britain and the Scandinavian countries which accepted the reformation were spared from the horrors of republicanism. Not that the attempted reformation by the Huguenots was republican or monarchists in character, in fact there were members of the French royal family on both sides of the divide. What she did assert however is that because the French had refused to accept the reformation teachings and so brutally persecuted the reformers even more than other European powers (case in point being the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre of 1572), then God left them to their fate when the revolution finally broke out and utterly destroyed the power of both the catholic church and the monarchy in France. Naturally,a great many Catholics would take offence to this idea and the nature of the claim itself can be argue all day long  but  as far the writer was concerned, had the French reformation taken been a success,  there would have been no French revolution.

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8.The final evidence that goes against the idea of blaming Protestantism for republicanism is the numbers. For example in Latin America, the region of the world that has the largest population of Roman Catholics per capita in the world does not have a single monarchy among its ranks. Similarly in Europe today the number of Catholic and Protestant hereditary monarchies are evenly match at 5 to 5, with Britain, Netherlands, and the three Scandinavian Countries representing Protestantism while Monaco, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Spain and Belgium are the only remaining Catholic monarchies in Europe. Outside of Europe there remains only one native protestant monarchy (Tonga) and one Catholic monarchy (Lesotho), so again the question is to be asked, what happened to all these other Catholic majority countries where the reformation never took root?, how comes they didn’t retain or restore their monarchies given that Protestantism was “the main culprit” behind it all? And while on the topic of abolition, Let's not forget how Irish Catholics played a key role in supporting the IRA in their overthrow of the British Crown and the breaking up of the union; If Catholicism automatically made one a loyal monarchist, the Catholic dominated IRA clearly never got that memo. 




Is this in any way an attempt to link monarchism or republicanism with a religion?, not at all, the religious reviews of monarchist and anti-monarchist are as diverse as their views on political matters, I know of  Catholics aplenty who support monarchy wholeheartedly e.g. the Carlists movement of Spain and the Miguelist of Portugal, yet there are also a great many Catholic clerics who oppose monarchy e.g Father Miguel Hidalgo of Mexico or Camilo Torres Restrpo of Columbia, one of the earliest advocates of liberation theology. In the same breath there are also those who would link Protestantism with monarchy such as the United Empire Loyalist of North America and there are those republicans who try to use protestant ideas to justify their stance like so many modern American ministers do today. Given everything I have seen and discussed, this is why I  have and will forever continue to reject the notion purported that republicanism is the inevitable fruit of Protestantism, the evidence just does not support that assumption. 

Friday, 17 February 2017

Kings House Expense


I must write on an issue that has been making headlines lately and it has to do with the 40 million dollar allocation that has been given to the Office of the Governor-General for the purpose of installing a new elevator in the building and also for the purchase of a new vehicle and the backlash it has received particularly on social media.

Let me start out by point out that I do support some of the comments made regarding the nature of the expense, $40 million is an exorbitant sum and quite frankly  I must question whether or not there was a better way this money could have been allocated, for example the state of hospitals can be described as deplorable, several educational institutions are in dire need of an upgrade and not to mention the far way such a sum could go in dealing with any of these, or at the very least in part. And given the public outcry I do believe that the government should reconsider this proposal, after all its not as if government expenditure hasn’t been adjustment in years before now, so yes they can revisit that one or try to find a way to cut cost in order to make it more economical.

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That said, while I do agree with those who are not in favour of the expense. There are some only too quick the use the opportunity to promote a republican agenda, therefore the air must be cleared as to some of the misinformation out there. First of all is the notion that the getting rid of the Governor-General would get rid of that expense in the budget is totally and utterly false. In fact if the Governor-General were to be gotten rid of tomorrow then a President would immediately take his place as head of state and the expense would remain either the same or it would be increased. There is statistical data that shows this, for example the President of Trinidad earns US $ 114, 224 per annum, whereas in Jamaica, the Governor-General cost per annum is US $ 58,159. Another example can be drawn between the cases of Haiti and Barbados, whereas in Haiti, the poorest country in the hemisphere their president has a salary of US$60,000 per annum, the Governor general of the much wealthier Barbados earns US$ 49,214.50 per annum. What exactly is the point I’m trying to drill here, contrary to popular belief there is actually no evidence to point to the supposition that a presidency would be cheaper, in fact what the researchable data does show is that the governor general costs far less to maintain than it would be under a president.

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Another area of misinformation that must be addressed is the matter of the official residence. It has been assumed by some that if the Crown were gotten rid of, the King’s House would either be demolished or the property could be developed into a real estate area or factory, museum or whatever else one can dream of. This supposition is based on wishful thinking however not reality, in fact the most likely outcome would be the name of the building would be changed to reflect the new status quo and the property itself would continue to serve as the seat of highest office in the land. Again there is a precedent to support this claim. For example in India, Rashtrapati Bhavan which used to serve as the residence of the Viceroy of British India has since 1950 been the residence of the President of modern India.  Similarly Áras an Uachtaráin which now serves as the palace of the President of the Irish Republic used to be the Viceregal Lodge of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland under British rule. And these are not isolated cases either instead this has been tradition in many Commonwealth countries where the palace of the former royal representative has been converted to a presidential palace and in most of these cases, their functions and operations continue almost exactly as they did before, especially in cases where the former governor general was himself appointed as the new President. This then serves as overwhelming evidence to prove that any notion that becoming a republic would cause King’s House to scale down its cost and operations is actually a fallacy, rooted in supposition and not fact.


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And while on the matter of the presidential residence lets discuss the nature of the presidency itself where there it is commonly thought that becoming a republic would cause us to move to a US styled presidential model, where the Prime Minister himself would assume the presidency thus absorbing the cost. While this has been done in some Commonwealth states, there again is no evidence to prove that it will happen here. Truthfully every proposal that is made on this constitutional change is based on the Westminster system where the head of state and head of government remain as separate offices. In other words then, there is no real suggestion to have an executive presidency but rather a ceremonial one, that has been the position taken by most republican proponents who really don’t have an issue with a parliamentary form of government only with the Queen’s name being on it, in short they wish to have all the benefits of a constitutional monarchy without having an actual monarchy.

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Speaking of monarchy, it grieves me to see the level of ignorance of what the constitution actually says. Nowhere in our laws does it state that governor general is appointed by the British government, which would be a gross violation of the constitution and the Jamaica Independence Act. The Governor General of Jamaica is not and has never been an agent of the United Kingdom, the law makes it perfectly plain that only the Government of Jamaica can advise a Queen on the appointment of a Governor General and only they can advise her to dismiss one. Nor can Her Majesty take it upon herself to appoint a representative in a unilateral manner since to do would be a violation of her own coronation oath to govern according to established laws and customs. The reason for this misconception is of course a lack of understanding on the concept of the Commonwealth Realms, where more than one sovereign state agree to share the same monarch and adopt common succession rules. This shared monarchy is not and should be confused with colonial subjugation since any of states can opt out of the arrangement and any changes to the arrangement has to mutually agreed upon by all member states as was seen in 2011 Perth Agreement where the rules on succession could not be changed unless all the countries approved the proposed changes. There is no legal or constitutional arrangement for the governor general to answer to the British authorities, I would have thought the fact that he was a born and bred citizen of Jamaica would have made this fact painfully obvious to all.

To conclude, I’ll reiterate my own opposition to the planned spending increases at King’s House and I still stand in support of those who propose that the funds be diverted to more salient causes. However unlike some I would rather vent my displeasure that those who proposed this spending in the first place rather (i.e. the finance ministry and its technocrats), rather than confuse the issue by ranting about how we “need a president now”. Quite frankly given what I see happening in the world’s most famous presidential office now, the idea that Jamaica could develop into such a system scares me to no end, and I would therefore urge that any discussion on this going forward are grounded in empirical facts and not in mere emotional tirades .













Saturday, 4 July 2015

Celebrating July 4.....With a Coronation

On Saturday, July 4, 2015, the Tongan people had much reason to get into patriotic spirits. It was just over three years ago that Tonga and the rest the world woke up to the tragic news of the passing of His Majesty Siaosi Tāufaʻāhau Manumataongo Tukuʻaho Tupou (more commonly known as King George Tupou V). Tradition and the constitution  demands  that the throne passed to the man next in line, given the lack of any sons of the late King who would have by right been the heir apparent, the Crown passed to his younger brother and heir presumptive, Prince ʻAhoʻeitu ʻUnuakiʻotonga Tukuʻaho Tupou who then ascended the throne as Tuʻi Kanokupolu, rightful King of the Tongan people, taking the regnal style Tupou VI.

                        

Although it has been three years since his ascension, His Majesty has found it fit to delay his coronation until now, this of course is hardly a new idea, in fact most Tongan monarchs have followed this tradition of waiting for long periods before going through with the ceremony, this is for two main reasons, 1. It would have been entirely inappropriate to hold coronation celebrations while the nation was still in mourning for the previous sovereign, a coronation while a sacred and solemn occasion is also an extremely joyous one as it is a celebration not only for the King but indeed for the entire nation as is displayed by the balls and festivities held in every island of the kingdom as such it would hardly do to celebrate the new king while at the same time mourning the loss of the old one, hence the wait. 2. The coronation ceremonies are extremely elaborate and well planned out, with events that incorporate both European styled and Polynesian styled rituals, such activities cannot possibly take place on the spur of a whim but instead takes proper timing and planning to execute properly so normally the Tuʻi Kanokupolu, waits two or three years in his reign before going ahead with the ceremony.



The last time the Jamaican Tory wrote anything regarding coronation ceremonies, it was to bemoan the fact that many modern monarchies have chosen to eschew this sacred tradition in favour of a simple inauguration ceremony, It was my belief then and still is now that inaugurations should have no place in any sort of monarchy,  such observances should be left to elected politicians (e.g. the US President) and while royalty should instead honour the hallowed rituals that truly signify the monarch’s divine right to rule. Yet over the last three years every single  new monarch from the Kings of Spain and Belgium to the very Pope himself opted for the inauguration instead, I was beginning to fear that the older tradition would die out completely but the Tongan royals have renewed my hopes and for that the Jamaican Tory is grateful


As mentioned above the Tongan coronation incorporates both European and Polynesian elements. Although the highlight is the church service, the coronation itself is more than just one day but in truth last a week or more.  It is around this time that Nuku'alofa, capital of the realm begins taking on a special flavour as visitors from the other islands as well as international well wishers begin arriving in time for celebrations, many of these visitors often come from countries that Tonga has close relations with such as Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, the Solomon Islands and Samoa. Not to mention the special guests representing the royal families of Japan, Thailand and the Commonwealth Realms.  The partying lasts for days but the final day is normally the most important. Coronation day normally begins with the morning service, this service is held in the Saione, Kolomotu'a ( often known as the Westminster Abbey of Tonga). This practice began with the arrival of Christianity in that Polynesian kingdom by Methodist missionaries which saw the King and the royal family converting and becoming the official patrons of what would later become the Free Wesleyan Church. The ceremony itself is very European and in many ways mimics the coronation of the British monarchs, this is where the coronation oath is taken, where the King is anointed and where the crowns are placed upon the heads of the sovereign and his consort before the assembled company of Tongan nobles and foreign guest. One very peculiar tradition adopted by the Tongan monarchy is that this ceremony is always performed by a foreigner, most likely a Methodist minister from Australia or New Zealand.  This is not for lack of clergy in Tonga itself but rather because it is forbidden for a Tongan subject to touch the person of His Majesty hence this is indeed a necessity


                
After this comes the more traditional elements this where the royal family hosts an open feast on the palace grounds, this part of the ceremony is open to any and everyone who wishes to partake and indeed the palace is awash with a huge crowds coming to assure the king of their love and allegiance while at the same time partaking in the royal feast. This is also where the Kava ritual takes place, this is the most important of all the rites and is unique to the Tongan model, this is where the new King is required to drink the slightly narcotic Kava drink before receiving oaths of fealty from the nobility of all the realm in the sight of all present, this part is the most salient of all, described by several courtiers as the “true coronation”






With the Samoans operating as a de facto republic since 2007 and the Fijians abolishing the office of Tui Viti in 2012 , Tonga is often described as the last Polynesian kingdom and the only one that still has a monarchy to call it’s own and although it’s political system has seen many changes in the last decade with much power moving from the hereditary nobility to the democratically elected officials it is still safe to say that the Tongan monarchy is extremely secure as today’s ceremonies proved more emphatically than ever, as Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva so ably puts it "We love our king we will continue to maintain our monarchy from now on until the future”.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Race for Westminster: 2015

It would be entirely remiss of the Jamaican Tory not do a feature on the what’s going on in the United Kingdom in light of the general elections in the 2015 race for Westminster. This election has turned out to be a pivotal one, with several competing issues of interest that will affect the future of Great Britain for years to come. These include immigration policy, the NHS, defence spending, employment levels, regional devolution and foreign policy  etc. all have in one way or another found their way on the agenda, some  deemed more salient than others depending on which party you support. And while on the matter of parties this particular election is being contested by several parties including, the ruling coalition of the Centre Right Conservative Party and Centrist Liberal Democrats while the challengers comprise of the Centre Left Labour Party, the Right Wing United Kingdom Independence Party  and three fully leftist parties, Plaid Cmyru, the Scottish National Party and the Greens each of then jostling to see who can dominate Westminster, although it can be safe to say that it’s unlikely to happen with any of the three leftist parties since none of them will be contesting all the seats in the House of Commons.


         

One thing all the experts seem to agree on is that there will be another hung parliament just like in the 2010 elections and what makes this even worse is that the Prime Minister no longer has the power to advise the Sovereign to dissolve parliament for early elections, all thanks to a bill slipped into the last parliament by the Liberal Democrats which states that Parliament’s five year term is now a mandatory one. Being a lover of tradition and a staunch advocate for the Westminster model of democracy I cannot help but frown on the decision to have this bill passed in the Commons, in effect it would create a very untenable situation if it is that a Prime Minister suddenly lost the confidence of the house in the middle of his term but is forced to stay on due to his inability to call an early election for a fresh mandate. On the other hand one could argue that the Lib Dems were merely looking out for their own interest, what if the in the middle of the last term (2010-2015), Cameron’s Tories  had decided to get an early divorce from Clegg and his ilk and kick them to the curb?, there would have been very little legal barrier to prevent this, the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 was pretty much Clegg’s insurance policy to ensure that there was no double cross. With another hung parliament almost a guarantee it is very much a possibility that smaller parties will be looking to cash in on this investment in fact this has put both Cameron and Miliband at the short end of the stick if it is that neither of them can martial enough votes to gain unilateral control of the Commons, this no doubt would be what parties such as the SNP, UKIP and the Greens are counting on since it would them give them a chance to enter into the halls of government in Westminster.



After taking a look at the parties and their positions on varying issues, it is quite apparent that not all these political groups have the United Kingdom’s best interest at heart. Take for example the SNP, a group of political rabble-rousers that openly decry the union every chance it gets, this is the same party that time and again has called for the withdrawal of Scotland, which would utterly destroy the union but they simply just don’t care, so long as they get what they want. They along with the Greens have on several occasions called for the destruction of the Nuclear Trident missile defence mechanism which would of course leave the Island unable to defend itself against foreign aggression but again that’s not in their interest to concern themselves with maintain British Sovereignty. What is it to them if the pound loses its value on the market if it’s stability can no longer be assured by the central government in London?, what is to them if the Realm is suddenly unable to defend itself as it no longer has the men or equipment that it once had due to severe military cuts?, why exactly should they care if the United Kingdom is no longer able to meet its commitments to NATO or the United Nations Secuity council due to its weakened status? The answer is simple, they don’t care, and they never have.


 
And as if all of that is not enough the Greens have wasted no effort in making it clear where they stand on issues affecting the country. Take for example defence where they  support the SNP’s plan to destroy the Kingdom’s greatest defence mechanism, what about their stance on terrorism?, who can forget Natalie Bennett’s ghastly statement saying ISIS was simply misunderstood and even went as far to berate the government for it’s role in the fight against terrorism. This is also the same party that wants to dramatically increase the spending on benefits, widening the poverty threshold instead of creating opportunities for those who wish to make it themselves instead of using the state as a surrogate parent. One doesn't have to be a master of economics to know in order for public spending to increase then so will taxes and with no prospects for growth under a Green led government, one can make the assumption that it is the few who will be paying to sustain the many. Is the “equal society” that all the left wingers love to wail about? I hardly think so.


After taking a good look at the debates and more importantly at the polls, The Jamaican Tory is willing to go out on a limb here that say that British people have really become disillusioned with the political process and frankly who can blame them, anyone who has taken a good look at politics in Britain today can immediately see why, it’s pretty much a choice between dumb and dumber. To be fair though not all parties are like that, take for example UKIP, which at every single turn has been the standard bearer of everything that is traditional British, their policies include, a Britain that defends the sovereignty of the Crown rather than sovereignty of distant foreign bureaucrats in the EU, a strong foreign policy that emphasises Great Britain retaking it’s rightful place amongst the most powerful nations of the world and restoring it’s long ignored ties to the Commonwealth, an economic policy that would put the British economy back to work by revamping industry and increasing employment by ending mass immigration of unskilled workers from the EU simply out of political expediency. Sadly this is also the same party that has been most vilified and maligned particularly by the leftist and their collaborators in the media that has falsely painted Farage as racist and bigoted when any serious look at UKIP’s policy would  easily tell that this is certainly not the case, no wonder they were upset after he openly called out the leftist sympathizers to thier faces.
              

With ultra-leftist cannons like SNP and the Greens on the loose promising the shake the very foundations of the Westminster-Whitehall system the people of the United Kingdom have a pivotal decision  on the future of that great nation come May 7, personally speaking my own preference (though sadly I don’t have a vote) would be for the UKIP to win a overwhelming majority, but pragmatism tells that this isn't likely to happen so I’ll be willing to settle for a Tory-UKIP coalition to form the next government, anything else is unacceptable and any deal that places either the SNP or the Greens in government would be a disaster, one where it would be “Anarchy in the UK” as posited in  the 1976 popular but disrespectful hit song by the Sex Pistols . It is therefore my sincerest hope that come Election Day that the British people make a choice that is a solid investment in their future by voting for a party that puts Britain First.



Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Obama's Motive

It’s only a matter of hours now before Air Force One touches down on Norman Manley International Airport and out comes its main occupant, Barack Hussein Obama, President of the United States of America who will for the first time step on Jamaican Soil. There has been much ado about the impending presidential visit ever since it was first announced, and not all the press has been positive either. For example there were talks about the current government using the visit to score political points while the opposition continues to fume about their non-inclusion as well as complaints regarding the amount of money being lavishly spent by the government to host the second US President to ever visit our island (the first being Ronald Regan in 1983) when that same government has been insisting for the longest while that it has no cash to do anything.



This post is not about any of these side stories however, interesting as they are, instead the Jamaican Tory chooses to focus on the elephant in the room (or perhaps that should be donkey in the room, given that Obama is a democrat), why is President Obama really coming here?. Contrary to what some might think, Obama is not coming here to endorse some campaign agenda for one party or the other nor is his arrival a stunt about black solidarity or even about showing any sort of special favour extended to Jamaica. Let’s face it as unpleasant as it might be to say, the US has great significance to Jamaican foreign policy makers but as far as the big boys in the White House and on Capitol Hill are concerned, Jamaica is hardly their highest  priority. Being scholar in the field of diplomacy one thing I learnt long ago was that altruism doesn't work in international politics it’s all about interest and who can exercise the most clout in the international system to maximize their own gain. Anybody who believes that the President is coming here out of any special love for Jamaica will be sadly disappointed. The United States Government isn't that naïve nor are they blind, they feel threatened and quite frankly one cannot blame them. Everything that has been going on from the rise of groups such as ALBA to rival the dominant economic order of the continent under US hegemony to the aggressive stance it has taken on the Venezuelan government and even it’s  talks of normalisation of it’s relations with Cuba are all driven by one thing , fear. Fear of what exactly?, I’ll tell you in two simple words : China and Russia.


         
I know some of my readers must wondering where am I going with this, after all the US is directly north of us while Russia and China are half a world away, so what does that have to do with us? That however is precisely the point, The US has always claimed that the Americas is their sphere of influence and have done much to increase their hegemonic power in this region and the rest of the world. They however have seen that hold over the continent shifting from a US centric one to a sino-centric one.It might come as a shock to many but the US of A is no longer Jamaica’s largest trading partner, China is (see Jamaica Observer August 23, 2013 for confirmation)  and other Caribbean countries are soon to follow. The People's Republic of  China is also the leader of the BRICS countries of newly industrialising countries which is an organisation dedicated to rewriting the rules governing the world international economic order, so that it suits them rather than the traditional powerhouses of North America, Western Europe and Japan . China is currently expanding it’s reach over the entire globe slowly but surely, trying to present itself as an alternative to the US model, according to them whereas the Americans like to impose sanctions and come in to set up shop, merely for exploitation, China comes in as a genuine friend to help develop one’s infrastructure in order to aid one’s economy and would never impose measures interfering with local politics, or at least that is what they have us believe. The reality however is far from cut and dry and in truth being under Chinese economic domination is not so very different from a US one as in the end all states are driven by their own selfish interest as Machiavelli told us a long time ago.


That of course begs the question, where does Russia factor into all this?,  but seriously though, think about it, the Russians have no greater friend than the Chinese and vice versa is it any wonder then that the US is trying to isolate both given it's current tensions with Russia over it's handling of the Crimea issue? And besides Russia has plenty of friends in our region, Cuba (who will soon be open for business), Venezuela and even small island states like St Lucia and St Vincent are on cordial terms with them. If Obama’s recent actions towards Cuba and Venezuela are anything to go by, not to mention his nuclear deal with Iran, it is quite clear that this is a very calculated move one meant to insulate the competition. It’s little wonder that Obama’s visit to Jamaica will include a meeting with all CARICOM heads of government and final preparation for the summit of the Americas to be held in Panama, this is the US’ way of telling it’s rivals to butt out in a manner reminiscent of the Munroe doctrine as it will have no would be hegemon coming to replace it the region that it deems as its “backyard”


 
One thing I learnt about US foreign policy over the years, it is  filled with rhetoric concerning either economy or security or both, having already spoken about economy let’s touch on security. I have not yet forgotten that shocking story by the US military which claims that some Jamaicans were stupid enough to actually join ISIS (or ISIL), a gang of criminals who dared to usurped the mantle of the caliphate (that legitimately belonged to the deposed House of Osman)  as a means of spreading their acts of barbarism, I truly  find that hard to believe. Sure Jamaica has criminals of it’s own but It’s doubtful whether any them are suicidal maniacs dumb enough to die for “Allah”  but if  still the argument must have been convincing enough to warrant a presidential visit then so be it, that only serves to lend greater credence to my argument, the US will never allow any sort of threat real or imagined to operate so close to it’s borders hence Obama’s arrival will serve as means to remind Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean who is boss and who holds all the cards in the deck.



With all this being said, regardless of my constant criticism of the US (it’s nothing personal, just the monarchist in me) I really do wish the President a good journey and that he enjoys that good old Jamaican hospitality that we so love to give our visitors. I however am in no delusion as to what the US endgame here, it’s policy has always been clear, to make sure to continue propagate the notion that the US is the greatest nation on earth (irrespective of blatant evidence to the contrary) and thus Obama’s visit is little more than a sign to the rivals of the "colossus of the north" that Uncle Sam still has a pivotal interest in the region where it is situated.


Thursday, 2 April 2015

President Freundel Stuart? Not Likely

I know it has taken me a while to get to this issue, a week and 3 days to be precise but given the nature of a busy schedule such things are unavoidable. That being said it would be remiss of the Jamaican Tory not to make mention of events going on in our fellow CARICOM state of Barbados.On March 23, news broke to the world that the sitting Prime Minister of Barbados, The Right Honourable Freudel Stuart plans in short order to change Barbados’ constitution and turn Barbados from a monarchy into a republic.


As to why he would make this move? his simple reason was that Barbados would soon be celebrating the 50th anniversary of its independence (next year to be precise) and so it was just the time to move on. If there was ever a lame excuse for anything Stuart laid it out right there. I mean seriously “it’s time?”, is that supposed to be an explanation or some stupid cliché, it’s one thing to openly announce treason like that but to lay is so bare with such a non-excuse is truly uncharacteristic of a Prime Minister. Time for what exactly? To break with over four centuries of Bajan history? To pretend of though the past did not happen? To throw out a perfectly functioning constitution for no good reason? He obviously did not outline his so called “logic” clearly enough, no wonder the people won’t support him. Trying to wash the last half a millennium of Bajan history will do no good whatsoever, unlike most other islands in the Caribbean that constantly changed hands between colonial powers, Barbados has always been an essentially English island, where British culture and traditional ideology is so strong that many even refer to it as Little England and as the most “British place on earth”, much to the envy of several other parts of the Commonwealth who see themselves in the same light.


    
What really irked me however is when he actually dared to invoke the name of Barbados’ first Prime Minister Errol Barrow as justification. As far as I’m concerned to try and identify oneself with the founding father of the Barbadian realm is only adding insult to injury. Like Stuart, Barrow also took an oath to the Crown, like Stuart, Errol also served on the Queen’s Privy Council. The difference between is that Errol Barrow never wavered in his loyalty to his sovereign, unfortunately the same cannot be said for Stuart who is a traitor, an oath breaker and an attempted usurper, Barrow would probably turn in his grave if he could only know what was happening to the stable constitution he and the other founding fathers had worked to hard to give to the people of Barbados. So deep was Barrow’s loyalty to Her Majesty that he even managed to influence other members of his family in like regard, as proven by the appointment of his sister as Dame Nita Barrow, Governor-General of Barbados, the first and only woman to ever be appointed to such an esteemed rank. For Stuart to compare now himself to Barrow is truly sacrilegious and that’s putting it mildly.

              
After years of following monarchist vs republican debates, I cannot help to make a comparison between the arguments made by anti-royals (especially in the Commonwealth) all of which are clichéd which only goes to show their lack of credibility since every argument put forward by these republicans have been discredited, time and again. One thing I can most certainly say is that Stuart’s pronouncement is far too reminiscent of his Jamaican counterpart Portia Simpson Miller who also announced similar plans in 2012 and for the exact reasons that he did, it has been three years and yet there has been no further word on moves to abolish Jamaica’s monarchy. I for one however am most certainly not complaining, as far as I’m concerned, keeping the constitution as it is, is a good thing for Jamaica as it is for Barbados. Becoming a republic simply for the sake of it, just so some politician can get the chance to call himself “Mr. President” will do no good whatsoever.  In fact histories on every single continent is filled with stories of countries than abandon their monarchies only to end up with something far worse, not that I’m predicting the same will certainly happen to Barbados but the chance is very much real thus upsetting the apple cart is ALWAYS an unwise move.

             

There is an old saying that a “drowning man will clutch at a straw”, this is precisely what is happening here. Politicians who pull this kind of stunt normally tends to pull this kind of stunt as part of their main profession, i.e. politics.  How ironic is it that Freundel Stuart made this announcement less than a week after the Island's leading newspaper The Barbados Nation showed that he was well behind in the polls as many persons would gladly vote his rival into office if given half a chance at this very moment. A PM in trouble would clearly need something to make himself more relevant, what better scapegoat to use than the Queen?  Nothing as clearly demonstrates the blatant politics behind it than the manner of the announcement, it must be noted that Stuart did not announce his latest scheme in an address to the people of Barbados but rather to a rally of his own supporters in an effort to drum up a sleazy campaign which was later leaked to the media,  to call it tacky would a gross understatement.

If The Prime Minister was under the impression that such a move would win him support he is dead wrong, in fact all the evidence points to contrary, all the polls indicate that people of Barbados most certainly do not want their beloved realm to be turned into a republic and I don’t blame them, in fact I feel exactly the same when it comes to Jamaica and have made no secret about my allegiance to the Queen who has the sole legitimate right to reign over both Jamaica and Barbados as well as the  rest of the Commonwealth. The people of Barbados are not interested in supporting a usurper which is exactly what Stuart will become if he tries to make himself President, the same also applies to whatever puppet president he will try to use a figurehead to promote is treasonous anti-royalist and most certainly anti-Bajan agenda.


         

Constitutional Monarchy is very much etched in the Barbados psyche, as demonstrated by the fact the Barbados probably has more knights and dames than the rest of the Caribbean put together, (it was also the first country to the Caribbean to establish its own unique order of Knighthood), I wonder how many of these nobles would be willing to give up their titles and status under a new republic, my guess is none. Just one trip to that island would be enough to tell immediately why is known as “Little England”, the idea of Barbados becoming a republic is as ludicrous as the idea of Britain becoming a republic, it simply will not happen (not after that nonsense that happened with Cromwell), nor is it eventually inevitable contrary to the propaganda spread by traitorous republicans, hence the Prime Minister should do himself a favour and actually find useful to talk about and leave well enough alone.