Every few years the preposterous “anti-imperialist” Richard Gott comes out with an article in the Guardian proposing that rights of the Falkland Islanders should be overridden in the name of Argentina’s geographically-based mini-imperialist “claim” to the islands.
The last time he came out with his anti-democratic proposal was on the 25th anniversary of the outbreak of the Falklands war, and he was in no doubt about the justice of Argentina’s claim:
“The Falklands belong to Argentina. They just happen to have been seized, occupied, populated and defended by Britain. Because Argentina’s claim is perfectly valid, its dispute with Britain will never go away,” he wrote in the Guardian of 2 April 2007. And in case anyone was in any doubt about Mr Gott’s attitude towards the Falklanders themselves: “At some stage, sovereignty and lease-back will have to be on the agenda again, regardless of the wishes of the islanders.”
I’m still rather proud of Shiraz‘s response at the time.
Gott’s most recent Falklands foray is rather less forthright, suggesting merely that “Argentina and Britain both have a good claim to the Islands,” and proposing that “the two countries should meet to negotiate a solution.” But the essential disregard for the rights of the inhabitants remains the same. As in 2007, though, at least one Guardian letter-writer nails Gott good and proper:
Richard Gott (Asleep over the Falklands, 23 December) criticises the Foreign Office for failing to address the vexed question of sovereignty. He adds, somewhat contentiously, that Argentina and Britain “both have a good claim to the Islands”. Given the United Nations-sanctioned principle of the self-determination of peoples, the strength of any sovereignty claim must surely rest with the populace of a territory. The British government should thus propose, via the UN, that referendums should be held at specific intervals to determine the wishes of the Falkland Islanders.
These referendums would offer the alternatives of accepting Argentine sovereignty, independence for the islands, remaining under British sovereignty or taking on any other sovereignty (Chilean?) that the islanders might choose. The British government would agree to be bound by whatever result ensued, and would put into effect any change of sovereignty indicated by a referendum as a matter of urgency.