Chagos Islanders To Lobby 10 Downing Street


A DELEGATION of Chagos Islanders from Crawley will be delivering a letter to the new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown at 10 Downing Street this Friday at 3pm.

Last May 23 the Court of Appeal found against the Blair government’s attempt to use the Royal prerogative to dump an earlier High Court ruling in 2000 that the Chagos Islanders could be allowed to return to 67 islands in the Chagos Island group, in the Indian Ocean, from which they had been ethnically cleansed by the Wilson Government in 1965.

They were driven out of their homes because the British government as a servant of US imperialism intended to lease the islands to the US to establish a huge naval and air base in the Indian Ocean within striking distance of targets in Africa, the Middle East and central Asia.

The matter was never put to the House of Commons. The cleansing was carried out by an order in Council carrying the signature of Queen Elizabeth 11.

In 2000 the then Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, in the name of his ethical foreign policy decided that the British government would not challenge the decision of the High Court.

However, after Cook’s resignation as Foreign Secretary in 2003, following his refusal to support Blair’s imperialist war on Iraq, Blair moved in to use the Royal Prerogative to over-rule the decision of the High Court, and to reinstate the position that the islanders had been banned from the islands for perpetuity, and could never return.

The reason for this was obvious. It was a case of the British ruling class servants looking after its US imperialist master.

This meant that bourgeois and parliamentary democracy was and will be jettisoned when they conflict with the interests of US imperialism.

Last May 23 the Court of Appeal upheld the verdict of the High Court in 2000.

The response of the Blair government to this has been predictable.

It was determined to secure the Diego Garcia air base for the US come what may. So in the dying hours of his government Blair launched an appeal to the House of Lords.

If the Lords finds that the Royal Prerogative is primary over the power and rights of the House of Commons and the Judiciary, then the Brown government will support this position, in the interests of US imperialism.

Tomorrow, a delegation of Chagos Islanders is due to call at 10 Downing Street at 3 pm to hand a letter to Gordon Brown or the appropriate flunky demanding that he withdraw the Blair government’s appeal to the House of Lords, respects the decision of the Court of Appeal, and meets them to discuss the arrangements for their return to the Chagos Islands, and for the closing of the naval and air base on Diego Garcia.

A number of the major trade unions are now supporting the demands of the Chagos islanders.

It is pretty clear that Brown as a long time and convinced imperialist agent will stick with US imperialism and carry on 100 per cent with Blair’s policy including imposing perpetual exile on the Chagos Islanders.

His foreign policy will be no different from his home policy which is to establish a government of national unity, loaded up with bosses, Tories, Liberals and the odd ex-police chief and ex-general from the House of Lords to fight the trade unions to cut wages and jobs for the big bosses and the equity capitalists.

The Chagos Islanders intend to step up their campaign for their right to return to Diego Garcia and to have the US air base closed down.

All the trade unions must support this struggle as part of the struggle for socialism and against imperialist war since Diego Garcia will be used to bomb Iran and central Asia.

The TUC Congress is meeting during the second week in September. It must carry a resolution in support of the struggle of the Chagos Islanders and call a national demonstration to mobilise the entire working class in their support.