On decolonialisation

Simon Jenkins leaves this hostage to fortune in his piece on decolonialisation:

France survives without any longer owning Senegal and Pondicherry,


Overseas departments and regions

Guadeloupe (since 1946)
Martinique (since 1946)
French Guiana (since 1946)
Réunion (since 1946)
Mayotte (since 2011) 1976–2003: sui generis overseas territory; 2001–2003: with the designation departmental community; 2003–2011: Overseas community. In the 2009 Mahoran status referendum, Mahorans voted to become an overseas department in 2011, which occurred on March 31, 2011.

Overseas collectivities
Main article: Overseas collectivity

The category of \”overseas collectivity\” was created by France\’s constitutional reform of 28 March 2003. Each overseas collectivity has its own statutory laws.

French Polynesia (1946–2003: overseas territory, since 2003: overseas collectivity) In 2004 it was given the designation of \”overseas country\” (French: pays d\’outre-mer), but the Constitutional Council of France has clarified that this designation did not create a new political category.
Saint Pierre and Miquelon (1976–85: overseas department, 1985–2003: sui generis overseas territory, since 2003: overseas collectivity). Despite being given the political status of \”overseas collectivity,\” Saint Pierre et Miquelon is called collectivité territoriale de Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, literally \”territorial collectivity.\”
Wallis and Futuna (1961–2003: overseas territory, since 2003: overseas collectivity). It is still commonly referred to as a territoire (Territoire des îles Wallis et Futuna).
Saint Martin: In 2003, the populations of St. Martin and St. Barthélemy voted in favour of secession from Guadeloupe in order to become separate overseas collectivities of France.[3] On February 7, 2007, the French Parliament passed a bill granting COM status to both jurisdictions.[4] The new status took effect on 22 February 2007 when the law was published in the Journal Officiel.[5] They remain part of the European Union, as stated in the Treaty of Lisbon.[6]
Saint Barthélemy (see the comments immediately above).
Special collectivity

New Caledonia was classified as an overseas territory beginning in 1946, but as a result of the 1998 Nouméa Accord, it gained a special status (statut particulier or statut original) in 1999. A New Caledonian citizenship was established, and a gradual transfer of power from the French state to New Caledonia itself was begun, to last from fifteen to twenty years.[7]

It\’s not exactly the best argument ever that Gibraltar should should up and bigger off now, is it?

20 thoughts on “On decolonialisation”

  1. I do see a long term solution to the Gibraltar question. The whole of Malaga province should cede from Spain & come under Gibraltarian administration.

  2. You missed a wonderful Graun-o-Correction:

    “• This article was amended on 14 August 2013. It originally stated that the US department of state had called Gibraltar “a major European centre of money laundering”. In fact, it was referring to Spain. This has now been corrected.”

  3. Well they’re both major European centres of money laundering.

    But my main point is, at which point does it cease to be colonialism? How long does a population have to be established somewhere and self-governing in order to not be conisdered “self-determining” for the purposes of the UN’s silly little list (which I assume arose from some political shenanigans against the UK).

    Should we decolonise the United States, for example?

  4. Spain is economically screwed, senior members of the governing political party are embroiled in a huge corruption scandal and the football season hadn’t yet started (I think it begins on the 17th). Hence the sabre-rattling – eagerly entered into by the UK’s beloved leaders due to our own economic problems.

    Per a 300 year old treaty, Gibraltar cannot be made independent absent Spain’s consent. Spain won’t consent therefore Gibraltar will remain British for the time being. IIRC the last referendum in Gibraltar had 87% turnout and 98% were in favour of remaining British – pretty decisive.

    Spain keeps complaining that the UK won’t resume bilateral negotiations. The UK says it won’t negotiate unless Gibraltar is allowed to participate. Spain won’t recognise Gibraltar’s right to participate. Playground stuff on the world stage.

    The UN doesn’t have an answer but does seem to support trilateral negotiations.

  5. Apart from the Gibraltarans, the people I feel sorry for are the many thousands of local Spanish who work in Gib and have to deal with those several hour queues and the impending threat from their own government of a €50 fee to cross the border.

  6. There’s that Lefty populism again. The people of Gibraltar voted overwhelmingly in a free vote to remain British? Fuck em. ‘We’ know best.

    Let’s give Spain Hampstead instead, and set up border controls – say £100 per person to enter or leave, and a five hour wait to use the tube station.

  7. Pat and UK liberty,

    Strictly we are in breach of the Treaty of Utrecht because the Spanish inserted the following provision into it:

    “Her Britannic Majesty, at the request of the Catholic King, does consent and agree that no leave shall be given, under any pretext whatsoever, either to Jews or Moors to reside or have their dwellings in the said town of Gibraltar.”


    That was ignored from day 1. However, I don’t think there is any specific provision for the consequence of breach.

  8. If France started making noises about the Channel Islands arguing that they are part of Normandy and, hence, France, how long would it be before Guardian columnists chimed in suggesting that it would be a good idea to cut them loose?

    Ditto if Norway started saying that it is entitled to buy back Orkney and Shetland…

  9. self-determination is only morally right when it involves third world countries voting in a Maxist dictator who subsequently won’t step down.

    Didn’t you get the memo?

  10. The really interesting thing is that people keep annoying the Spanish by invoking Ceuta and Meliila. Now, there is a very good reason to do this, because it annoys the Spanish. But it isn’t an exact parallel.

    Amusingly, though, there is an exact parallel between Ceuta / Mellila and the Falklands. Which the Argentinians, currently weighing in on the side of the Spanish, seem to be conveniently ignoring.

  11. There is also an interesting difference between the British and French attitude towards decolonisation. As Tim points out the French continue to rule all sorts of odd places and treat them as part of France. So France have really embraced the whole decolonisation by basically hanging on to all of thier old imperial possession (OK slight exagerations). At least you brits gave people the choice and where that choice was for independence that’s fine. Where that choice was to remain as a british overseas territory then thats fine too.

    The exception (perhaps) was Hong Kong where the Brits handed back Hong Kong to China, where I don’t believe there was a refernedum.

    There are also inherent conflicts in some of the principles of international law. For example the general principle of decolonisation on the one hand with the general principle of the right to self determination on the other. It seems to in the case of Gibraltar Britian has done exactly the right thing in offerreing deconlonisation and allowing the gibraltar people the right to decide for themselves, they chose remaining British.

    Following on from one other point Gibraltar is older than Australia and New Zealand. Should the british offer to hand them back to thier indigenous owners.

    So all in all a storm in a teacup but possibly a bit rough for the gibraltar economy until it all settles down

  12. Oh you can cap Olivenza. There’s Llivia, a Spanish town which manages to be several kilometers inside France. mainly, one gathers, because the Spanish had problems reading their own maps. Doesn’t seem to a problem in Paris or Departément 66
    Anyone who lives here knows, the entire country’s run by badly behaved children. It’s even worse than the UK.

  13. Offshore Observer,

    The exception (perhaps) was Hong Kong where the Brits handed back Hong Kong to China, where I don’t believe there was a refernedum.

    No, but we had agreed to return the New Territories in 1997 (after the 99 years granted by the Second Convention of Peking) and China said it would invade if we didn’t hand back Hong Kong and Kowloon as well. Clearly tens of thousands of Hong Kong’s citizens weren’t overstruck by the transfer of sovereignty, given they decided to emigrate.

    bloke in spain, I didn’t know about Llivia. And to think that Spain cites “territorial integrity” in support of its claim over Gibraltar.

  14. “These relics of empire pay hardly any UK tax – but when the neighbours cut up nasty, they demand the British protect them”

    So, next time that the kids in Tottenham decide to throw some molotov cocktails at the Guardian’s offices, we should leave them to it, right?

  15. Luke>

    The English argument, I believe, was that they did not grant leave to anyone to settle in Gibraltar, but merely acted in the English tradition of asking no man his business without just cause. They didn’t specifically exclude the Jews and Moors from the city, and that was enough: granting leave was considered unnecessary.

  16. So the lefties are saying that we must abandon all the citizens of Gibraltar because we failed to discriminate against Jews? One guess at what they can do.

  17. Let’s give Spain Hampstead instead, and set up border controls – say £100 per person to enter or leave, and a five hour wait to use the tube station.

    I think you mean Pimlico. 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *