07 November, 2009
Wendy Ledger is writes sense. I don’t know Wendy Ledger. I gather she is a well respected journalist in the
Cayman Islands. Somebody sent me a very perceptive piece she wrote recently on the website of her Cayman News Service. She was commenting on a fallacy common among our colonial intellectuals concerning the United Kingdom-Overseas Territory relationship.
The theory is that the
is somehow ‘out to get us’. They plan to destroy our financial services and tourism sectors through subterfuge and convoluted plots. The plan is said to be to take us over Chagos-style, replacing ungrateful brown-skinned natives with thousands of kith and kin, pale-skinned Brits. UK
Ms Ledger’s contrary view is that all the British Government wants is for the OT’s to be more like Victorian children, seen and not heard. Essentially, we can do whatever we want, so long as we don’t cause the FCO any trouble. Their governance of us is marked more by incompetence and indifference than by interest or by concern. I agree with that view. It is neither new nor radical. It is based solidly on the evidence over the centuries.
The FCO could not care less about our islands or our people. They are not sitting around in an underground bunker plotting the demise of our civilization. All they want is for us not to bring them any trouble or embarrassment. They have got a little paranoid about where trouble might come from. TCI has not helped, nor has the global financial crisis. These pesky territories could give them a whole lot of trouble economically not only in terms of global reputation. There is the little matter of international commitments and contingent liability.
I agree with Ms Ledger that there is nothing they would like more than to see the back of every last territory. The jolly good chaps in
are outdoing each other to show the natives who’s the boss. New governors hang up their suits, change into camouflage and sniff around for any potential trouble that may upset the mandarins back at the Whitehall . Their instructions are to head off any pending trouble at the pass and get their ‘fine chap’ award before they retire. A bloody hardship post, what? Old Admiralty Building
Then there are the few colonials who delude themselves into believing in the
’s ‘motherly’ love for its colonies. The truth is that we are an embarrassment on the international stage and a reminder of the UK British Empire’s brutal and cruel past. Left wing governments in in particular find that constant reminder very uncomfortable. The ‘mother country’ was a myth even in earlier colonial days. Whitehall
The task of the FCO today both in Anguilla as in the Cayman Islands is to retain enough control to be able to clamp down if we look like we are about to cause any trouble, while giving sufficient of an appearance of autonomy to satisfy the UN. What they really want for all the OT’s is for each and every one of us to start plotting out our routes to independence. Either we shut up and behave, or we take down the Union Jack. The only thing holding them back from delivering the final push over the edge is the US State Department which does not want any more risky States in either its backyard or in its soft underbelly right now, thank you.